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Five things to look out for in Arsenal Women’s 2020/21 season

PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 September 2020

Coral-Jade Haines of Tottenham and Leah Williamson of Arsenal during Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women, Friendly Match Football at Meadow Park on 25th August 2019

Coral-Jade Haines of Tottenham and Leah Williamson of Arsenal during Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women, Friendly Match Football at Meadow Park on 25th August 2019

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

With the start of the new FA Women’s Super League season just days away and with 2020-21 expected to be the most thrilling season yet, Josh Bunting picks out five things to watch at Arsenal Women this season.

Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal during West Ham United Women vs Arsenal Women, Women's FA Cup Football at Rush Green Stadium on 26th January 2020Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal during West Ham United Women vs Arsenal Women, Women's FA Cup Football at Rush Green Stadium on 26th January 2020

Steph Catley:

Arsenal brought in Australian international Steph Catley this summer from Melbourne City.

The 26-year-old defender started her career at Melbourne Victory and has since gone on to play for Portland Thorns FC, Orlando Pride and OL Reign.

She is vice-captain of the Australian national team and has featured 82 times and scored three goals since making her debut at just 18.

Catley is very good in the transition both defensively and she is offensively comfortable, that’s why she is regarded as one if not the best left-back in the world.

Catley is a real leader and a signing that will excite not just Arsenal fans but everybody associated with English women’s football.

She is an extremely good crosser of a ball so Arsenal can expect to score plenty more goals from crosses.

Leah Williamson:

The 23-year-old was voted Arsenal Women’s supporter’s player of the season award last season after an incredible season on an individual basis.

Williamson is very versatile she can play at centre-back or at the right of the back three, she can also play as a centre midfielder if needed.

Her long range passing is a key point to her game she can spread the ball out to the wing or play through the middle.

Williamson also closes the space really well and turns over possesion quickly, she is very comfortable on the ball and never panics with the ball at her feet.

Last season nobody in the WSL made more passes than her as she made (1,212), with a 66 per cent pass completion rate and she also boasted an average of 1.16 interceptions per game, the highest in the squad.

Williamson did not make a single error leading to an opposition shot on goal and 71 per cent of players failed to dribble past the Arsenal number six, with her positional sense on the pitch proving one of the very best in the league.

She is also a leader amongst the squad despite being just 23 she’s very confident in reading the game and that she is key to how Arsenal play offensively and defensively.

The Arsenal academy product is certainly a player to watch in 2020-21.

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Crunch clashes:

Chelsea and Manchester City have both sufficiently strengthend this summer, Chelsea bringing in World Superstar Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg and Manchester City looking set to sign Lionesses duo Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood from Lyon.

Chelsea and Manchester City both have bigger squads than Arsenal that makes the key battles in the title race even bigger.

Arsenal have not dropped a single point against any team outside of the WSL’s big three in over two years but last season Chelsea beat them twice in the league as the Gunners defeated Manchester City at home but lost away.

To win titles these are the key games that you have to take some points from and Arsenal have to get that right this season.

The Gunners have also improved in terms of their squad depth so these battles will certainly be more tactical when they come around in 2020-21.

Rotation:

Squad depth let Arsenal down at the back end of last season but the signings of Steph Catley, Noelle Maritz, Malin Gut and Lydia Williams will undoubtedly improve that area.

Lia Wälti in particular was a big loss for the Gunners alongside Beth Mead when they both got injured last season.

However Gut will act as cover for Wälti and is her understudy in the Swiss International side as well so she can learn from Wälti’s experience during her time in North London.

Arsenal have explosive players and ones who can pick locks in the opposition’s defence, Joe Montemurro will have more options to call upon this incoming season and that could be the difference come the end of the season.

Vivianne Miedema:

Miedema ended 2019-20 as the top goalscorer in both England and Europe.

Miedema netted 16 goals in the Women’s Super League and ten in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

She became the first player in WSL history to contribute to 10 goals in a single game when the Gunners demolished Bristol City 11-1 in that famous victory at Meadow Park.

It was the second consecutive season that Miedema won Golden Boot award and what is remarkable about her goal tally is that none of her 16 strikes came from the penalty spot.

She also ended the season with the most assists in the league with eight, a total of 47 per cent of her shots in the league were on target and her conversion rate was 37 per cent, a quite remarkable feat for Europe’s leading forward who is still only 24.

Miedema also had the most open play passes of any forward in the league with 24.48 passes per game and also plays the most long passes per game with an average 1.47 showing she isn’t just a normal number 9 and can mix up her play.

She is a sensation of a striker and she is certainly another key point to look out for while watching Arsenal in 2020-21.


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