Preview: Arsenal Women v Aston Villa

Match preview

Preview: Arsenal Women v Aston Villa

WSL Preview: Arsenal v Aston Villa. May 27, 2023. Meadow Park

The last game of the Women's Super League is finally upon us and we're back on home soil on Saturday afternoon to host Aston Villa.

Villa have had an exceptionally bright campaign under Carla Ward and it will take a great performance from Jonas Eidevall's side to secure a good result on the final day.

Our Gunners currently sit three points ahead of Manchester City in the table and barring an 11-goal swing, we look set to achieve Champions League football for the third season running. 

Last time around

Our fixture against the Villans will be the third time we've faced them this season. An away trip to Villa Park did see the hosts score first before we turned the game around to win 4-1, as Vivianne Miedema, Katie McCabe and Jordan Nobbs all got on the scoresheet that day. 

We then met again in the Conti Cup quarter-final, achieving a comfortable 3-0 victory in a competition we would then go on to win. The evening was something of a masterclass from Frida Maanum: our Norwegian bagged two impressive goals and assisted Caitlin Foord for our third.  

Villa's best season

Rachel Daly celebrates with her Aston Villa teammates after scoring against Manchester United

With fifth place already sewn up for Aston Villa, they've officially enjoyed their best-ever season in the Women's Super League.

The Villans' campaign began with a bang, beating Manchester City 4-3 at Villa Park, and Carla Ward's side had consistent success across the year - managing convincing wins against Brighton & Hove Albion, Leicester City and Reading. Villa's only losses this season have come at the hands of the top three, Everton and West Ham.

A huge part of Villa's success has been newly-crowned WSL Player of the Season Rachel Daly, who has scored a whopping 21 league goals this season. The Lioness only needs one more goal to equal the WSL single-season goal record, set by our own Vivianne Miedema back in the 2018/19 campaign.

What the managers say

Jonas Eidevall laughs with Katie McCabe in training

Eidevall on Villa: "There's one performance left and we're not jumping ahead to anything. We need to be very, very good on Saturday, in order to finish the way we want. It's against a really tough opponent.

"Aston Villa have been excellent this season and that's where we need to put our focus."

Ward on us: "The last four times we've played Arsenal, we haven't had a full unit together and that's frustrating. However Arsenal are a top, top side and will make it difficult for you, we could have our best XI out there and they could still hurt us.

"They've got quality everywhere and you've got to credit Jonas (Eidevall), he's faced a hell of a lot this year and they've got on with it and got the job done. For them to be in this position now is a huge credit to him."

Team news

Frida Maanum chases after Victoria Pelova, who is in possession of the ball

Jonas Eidevall provided no additional squad update ahead of our clash with Aston Villa. However, we will definitely be without Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Kim Little, Leah Williamson, Laura Wienroither and Lia Walti due to injury. 

This week, Miedema made a big step towards recovery after her ACL rupture when she went for her first run on the anti-gravity treadmill

How to watch

Rafaelle in action against Chelsea

The final game of the season kicks off at 2:30pm (UK time) with tickets to Meadow Park fully sold-out. Those at home can follow along live via the FA Player. 

Facts and stats

Katie McCabe celebrates scoring against Aston Villa at Villa Park back in December

  • We have yet to lose against Aston Villa in the Women’s Super League, winning our last three against the Villans by an aggregate score of 15-1
  • Villa have conceded at least four goals in four of their five WSL matches against us. The last time they kept a clean sheet was in a 0-0 draw back in May 2021
  • Discounting the 2019/20 season, which finished early due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have never lost our final league game of the season. In 11 years, we have only failed to win the final match twice - drawing against Birmingham and Aston Villa
  • Our skipper Katie McCabe has been involved in five goals in five matches against Aston Villa, with three goals and two assists. This means McCabe averages a goal or assist every 69 minutes against the Villans
  • Aston Villa's 10 WSL victories this season are more than they've managed in their previous two seasons combined. They managed six in 2021/22 and only three in the previous campaign
  • This season, our Gunners have only conceded 14 goals in the Women's Super League, with nine of those coming from open play. Only Manchester United have let in fewer with 12
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