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AWFC: Re-introducing our first-team squad

Women's Football Weekend returns on Saturday and if you're a new fan, then this guide should bring you up to speed with our team!

Here's everything you need to know about our first-team squad ahead of Sunday's Women's Super League clash with Chelsea:

1. Manuela Zinsberger

Season stats: Nine appearances, two clean sheets

After sharing goalkeeping duties with Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Manu made the No 1 shirt her own last season with a string of consistent performances across all competitions.

Signed from Bayern Munich in May 2019 the Austria international won her first cap against Slovenia as a 17-year-old and was a back-to-back Bundesliga champion with the German giants.

More recently, Manu has developed a reputation as a penalty-saving specialist, saving from Yana Daniels in the Women's Super League before crucially denying Ellen White to book our place in last season's Continental Tyres League Cup final. 

3. Lotte Wubben-Moy

Season stats: Seven appearances, one goal, three clean sheets

It turned out that our newest summer signing was in fact a very familiar face.

Lotte is a graduate of our Centre of Excellence but two years after breaking into our first-team squad back in 2015, she seized the opportunity to cross the Atlantic and represent North Carolina Tar Heels in ACC soccer.

The defender, who can also play in midfield, was a three-year starter at centre back for UNC and a second-team All-ACC selection in 2019, before she returned home to her childhood club. The dream was realised just one month after she re-signed, when she scored her first senior goal for us in our WSL win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

5. Jennifer Beattie

Season stats: Four appearances, one goal, one clean sheet

Although she is the most recent member of our 100 Club, Jen actually waited six years to reach her century of appearances. The centre back - who is also capable of playing further upfield - first joined us from Celtic as a teenager in 2009 and burst onto the scene by scoring a hat-trick to complete a 3-2 turnaround against Chelsea.

Jen would leave north London for Montpellier in 2013 after featuring 83 times in our red and white, going on to win trophies with Manchester City and Melbourne City - where she won the W-League with current colleagues Joe Montemurro and Kim Little - before rejoining us in June 2019.

A regular for Scotland with more than 100 international caps, the 29-year-old scored in her country's 3-3 draw with Argentina at the 2019 Women's World Cup, and helped us reach the Champions League quarter-finals back in 2010.

6. Leah Williamson

Season stats: 10 appearances, three clean sheets, two assists, one goal

A Gooner through and through, Leah is a real Centre of Excellence success story, joining aged nine and progressing through our academy sides to make more than 100 senior appearances.

Originally a midfielder, she made her first-team debut as a late substitute for Rachel Yankey in our 2014 Women's Champions League quarter-final defeat to Birmingham City, but has honed her passing skills at centre back to become a deep-lying playmaker in Montemeurro's system.

Still only 23, Leah has lifted two Continental Tyres League Cups, two FA Women's Cups and played a pivotal role in ending our first Women's Super League title in seven years. The England international is also a regular in the Lionesses set-up and scored her first goal for her country against Czech Republic back in November. Not bad for the mascot who led our men's team out back in 2006.

7. Danielle van de Donk

Season stats: 10 appearances, two assists, one goal

A livewire midfielder, DvD - as she's affectionately known around the club - is a fan favourite for two reasons: her quick feet and her insatiable appetite to chase every single ball down.

The Netherlands international joined us from Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC in November 2015 and wasted no time in making her mark in north London, helping us lift our 14th FA Women's Cup by beating Chelsea at Wembley in 2016.

Daan has become even more crucial since, scoring 25 goals in 75 Women's Super League games while amassing more than 100 appearances for the club. Creator-in-chief for club and country, she won the 2017 European Championship with Oranje and added more goals to her game last season, including a Champions League hat-trick against Slavia Prague. 

8. Jordan Nobbs (vc)

Season stats: Five appearances, three goals, two assists

One of the longest-serving players at the club, Jordan has delivered time and time again when we needed it most. The 2013 FA Women's Cup final? She scored. The 2015 Continental Tyres League Cup final? There's another two. And that 2016 FA Women's FA Cup shoot-out against Birmingham? Never in doubt - she scored the decisive penalty.

Quite simply put: our No 8 is a big-game player. Add that to the fact that the majority of her 66 Arsenal goals have come from outside of the box and you've got an exciting, all-action midfielder who's never afraid to take the game by the scruff of its neck.

No current player has featured more than Jordan's 206 times and with more than 50 England caps, you'll struggle to find anyone as well-versed with the big stage. For Arsenal, the 27-year-old has won almost every trophy available at club level. All that remains is the Women's Champions League. 

9. Beth Mead

Season stats: Nine appearances, seven assists, one goal

As signature moves go, Meado's cross-shot - dubbed 'The Crot' - probably sums her up perfectly as a player: more often than not, it results in a goal.

Formerly sporting No 23 on the back of her shirt, our new No 9 has reinvented herself since joining from Sunderland as a goal-a-game striker in January 2017. Still finding the net on a regular basis Beth has racked up some impressive assist numbers over the past two seasons, with her tally currently standing at 35 in 58 starts.

Add to that her tenacious wing play and expert close control, and it's no wonder that she's been indispensable for England in recent squads. The 25-year-old helped the Lionesses win the SheBelieves Cup in 2019 and has tasted domestic success too, lifting the Women's Super League and Continental Tyres League Cup during her time in north London. 

10. Kim Little (c)

Season stats: Six appearances, two goals, two assists

Captain. Leader. Legend. A phrase that's often used on the Blue side of London but can easily be applied to Kim's two stints with us.

Our No 10 first joined us from Hibernian as a 17-year-old back in March 2008 and went on to win 11 major honours in just five years. By the time she left our shores for Seattle Reign in 2014, 24-year-old Kim was already regarded as one of the best creative players in world football.

After four years away, the Scotland international - who also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games - came home and was appointed club captain following Alex Scott's retirement from football in 2018. Only Nobbs has made more appearances in our current squad, but nobody - not even Vivianne Miedema (yet!) - comes close to Kim's 137 goals in red and white. 

11. Vivianne Miedema

Season stats: 10 appearances, 14 goals, three assists

How does that saying go? Records are made to be broken. Well if there's a record Viv's yet to break, then it's not going to stand much longer.

Our striker's stats are terrifying. Seventy-six starts, 83 goals - and she even had a slow debut season by her lofty standards. This is a player who scored six goals and assisted another four in an 11-1 demolition of Bristol City last season. A right-footed player who has scored almost as many for us with her so-called 'weaker' foot. A player who, not content with just scoring the goals, sets them up at will.

The GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) - as she's known on social media - is already Netherlands' record goalscorer with 69 strikes before she even turned 24. Let's put it like this: it's not a case of if Viv scores. It's when. 

12. Steph Catley

Season stats: Two appearances

The first of four summer signings, Steph has arrived in north London with a palpable level of excitement.

Widely regarded as one of the best left backs in the world, the 26-year-old began her professional career as a midfielder but has been on fans' radars since winning W-League Young Player of the Years when she made the switch to defence for Melbourne Victory in 2012/13.

Since then, Steph has gone from strength to strength, winning more than 80 Australia caps and starring as the Matildas' vice-captain at the 2019 Women's World Cup. She is currently recovering from a calf injury but her pedigree indicates that it won't be long before we see the defender regularly selected by Joe Montemurro, a manager she worked closely with during Melbourne City's period of domestic dominance. 

13. Lia Walti

Season stats: Nine appearances, two assists

Still only 27, Lia has been a regular at the top table of European football for the best part of a decade.

Snake Hips - a nickname she's earned for her ability to evade tackles in midfield - was a league champion in her homeland with YB Frauen, allowing her to make her Women's Champions League debut at the age of just 18. She would then lead out Turbine Potsdam in the competition, before also captaining Switzerland and featuring at the 2015 Women's World Cup.

An excellent reader of the game who is just as comfortable in possession, Lia is typically the deepest-lying midfielder and an integral part of how Joe Montemurro likes his team to build from the back. In short, Snake Hips is one of the first names on the team sheet. 

14. Jill Roord

Season stats: Four appearances, six goals, one assist

If you're looking for consistency over the course of a season, then look no further than Jill. Nobody made more appearances in an Arsenal shirt than our No 14 last season. In fact, she only missed one of our 30 games.

The 23-year-old is versatile as well. Chasing a game? Use her as a second striker. Need energy in the middle of the park? She'll go box-to-box. Looking to hang onto a lead? She can sit deep and defend with the best of them.

Jill actually made her name as a goalscoring No 10 at FC Twente but her intelligence and athleticism has seen her unselfishly switch positions to suit whichever team she's in. Not that it's served her badly, mind you. A Women's European Championship, four Eredivisie titles and more than 55 Netherlands caps show all that compromise has been worth it. The back-to-back hat-tricks she scored at the start of this season indicate that she's not content with just that.

15. Katie McCabe

Season stats: Nine appearances, six assists, one goal

A real character on and off the pitch, Katie is understandably one of the most popular figures in our dressing room and when she isn't flying down the left flank, she's usually cracking a joke at a team-mate's expense.

But don't let that light-hearted attitude fool you: the 24-year-old is a serious competitor. Whether it was fighting back from a broken leg, proving herself on a loan spell at Glasgow City or being named Republic of Ireland captain at the age of 21, Katie has risen to every challenge she's faced.

The diminutive winger's natural position is further up the field but she is also a useful weapon from full back, with her overlapping runs and dangerous deliveries. Katie is also becoming more of a goal threat - in fact, it was her goal against Birmingham a couple of seasons ago that secured our return to Women's Champions League football for the first time since 2014.

16. Noelle Maritz

Season stats: Six appearances, one clean sheet

Another new addition to our back line, Noelle is a versatile defender whose experience belies her age.

The 24-year-old, who can play anywhere across the defence, has already got 80 caps for Switzerland and won two league and cup doubles during her time with FC Zurich between 2011 and 2013.

But then, when Noelle left her homeland, she truly became a serial winner. Five Bundesliga titles and six DFB-Pokals would follow with German giants Wolfburg. To add to that? A Women's Champions League in her debut season for the She-wolves. Her experience and leadership will be invaluable on and off the pitch. 

17. Lisa Evans

Season stats: Three appearances, three goals, one assist

Undoubtably one of the Women's Super League's most underrated players, Lisa's performances have been going under the radar ever since she joined us from Bayern Munich in June 2017.

Naturally a winger, injuries meant she was used at right back a couple of seasons ago and she's not looked back since. Like Katie McCabe, Lisa is a huge threat in the wide areas and once she starts running from deep, she's very difficult to stop.

The Scotland international also has the experience to match her natural ability. She has won more than 80 caps for her country and is a regular in the knock-out stage of the Women's Champions League, reaching it with Glasgow City, Turbine Potsdam, Bayern Munich and Arsenal. She helped Turbine Potsdam reach the 2014 semi-final alongside Lia Walti, where they were knocked out by eventual champions Wolfsburg. 

18. Lydia Williams

Season stats: N/A

A new arrival in north London, Lydia travelled to Spain for our Women's Champions League quarter-final against Paris-Saint Germain but was unavailable for selection after damaging her ankle in pre-season.

The Australian goalkeeper is a household name in her homeland with almost 100 international caps and a trophy cabinet full of individual and team accolades.

Lydia underwent surgery over the summer but after working hard on her rehabilitation, is now fit and ready to kick-start her Arsenal career. 

19. Caitlin Foord

Season stats: 10 appearances, five goals and five assists

It's not often that a player makes her debut in every cup competition before making her bow in the Women's Super League, but that's the situation Caitlin found herself in at Arsenal.

The dynamic Australian forward - who can play on either wing or through the middle - netted on her debut against Lewes in the FA Women's Cup before she started our Continental Tyres League Cup final defeat to Chelsea. The season's premature end robbed her of the momentum she was gaining, but Caitlin insisted that the time away from the pitch only helped her bond more with her (relatively) new team-mates. It's certainly proven to be the case this season

One of the Matildas' most respected players, the 25-year-old has won 80 caps for her country and has won trophies with Sydney FC and Perth Glory, and has been one of our most dangerous forward players this term.

20. Leonie Maier

Season stats: Six appearances, three clean sheets

Another former Bayern Munich star, Leonie has enjoyed a stellar first season in English football.

The 28-year-old is renowned for her energy on the right-hand side but is equally adept in defending one-on-one scenarios. She is also no stranger to winning trophies: she is a 2016 Olympic Games champion with Germany, and twice lifted the Bundesliga during her time in Bavaria.

Leonie was also named in FIFA FIFPro's Women's World11 back in 2016, alongside global stars Hope Solo, Wendie Renard, Marta, Carli Lloyd, Eugenie Le Sommer, Ada Hegerberg and Alex Morgan.

21. Malin Gut

Season stats: Nine appearances

Joe Montemurro summed it up quite nicely: "Young Malin is, we think, going to be one of the best holding midfielders in if not Europe, then around the world".

High praise indeed - but remember our head coach is the one who spotted her, and is also the one who's been watching her in training. The 20-year-old midfielder made her senior debut as a 15-year-old, and joined us from Grasshopper Zurich in July 2020.

Already with eight Switzerland caps to her name, Malin is certainly one for the future - but after forging a blossoming midfield partnership with compatriot Walti, she might just be one for the present too.

22. Viki Schnaderbeck

Season stats: Nine appearances, three clean sheets

You know those players who exude that calm, natural authority? The ones that never really seem under too much duress, regardless of how much pressure their team is facing? That's Viki.

A commanding and authoritative figure, the Austria international captains her country and is equally as comfortable in the heart of defence or in central midfield.

Viki won the Bundesliga twice and the DFB-Pokal during her time with Bayern Munich, and was a regular in their Women's Champions League campaigns. Now in north London and fully fit following a 2018/19 ruined by injury, the 29-year-old has formed effective centre-back partnerships with both Leah Williamson and Jen Beattie - something which could cause Joe Montemurro a real headache when choosing his best XI on Sunday. 

24. Fran Stenson

Season stats: One appearance, one clean sheet

There is no denying Fran's potential to become a top goalkeeper in England.

The towering teenager was signed from Manchester City in August 2019 and immediately joined Championship side Blackburn Rovers on loan, for whom she won their Young Player of the Year award.

An England Under-19 international, Fran made her Gunners debut against London City Lionesses, keeping a clean sheet in a 4-0 win.

30. Ruby Mace

Season stats: Six appearances

At just 16 years of age, Ruby has been the youngest member of our squad in recent weeks - and by some distance too!

She made her first-team debut off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur back in September, showing immense maturity to settle into a hostile north London derby atmosphere so quickly.

A promising young defender with an eye for a pass, Ruby is always looking to step forward into midfield and play incisive passes behind the opposition’s defence. She regularly trains with the first team and has also captained England under-17s. 

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