Our Conti Cup journey begins this evening with a quarter-final match-up with Aston Villa - our second clash with Carla Ward's side in as many months.
A win tonight on home soil would see us through to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 2020, in a continued pursuit of silverware under Jonas Eidevall.
League Cup history
We are the most successful club in Women's League Cup history with five titles over 11 years. Our last trophy lift came back in 2018, when we beat Manchester City 1-0 thanks to a close-range strike from Vivianne Miedema.
Similar success has been hard to replicate in recent seasons and we made an early exit from last year's competition, suffering a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the quarter-finals at Meadow Park.
Once again, qualification for the Champions League means that our Gunners were exempt from the group stage of the competition. Aston Villa, meanwhile, qualified for the Conti Cup quarter-finals after topping their group, above the likes of Manchester United, Everton and Durham.
Last time around
It's been less than two months since our Gunners last played Carla Ward's side, storming to a 4-1 victory at Villa Park on December 11. While Kirsty Hanson struck first for the hosts in the opening ten minutes, we responded swiftly to be 2-1 up before the half-time whistle blew.
Goals from Katie McCabe and Jordan Nobbs rounded off the win, but Nobbs will now play at Meadow Park in the claret and blue, having completed a permanent move to Villa earlier this month.
The Villans are still yet to beat us in five Women’s Super League matches, scoring one goal and conceding 19.
What the managers say
Eidevall on us: “[Aston Villa] have really developed during Carla Ward's time as manager. They’ve made some really smart recruitments with a combination of younger players and players with lots of league and international experience.
"Their results and the way they’ve played so far this season have shown that, and if I’m looking long-term at the league, this is what we need: teams that are more competitive. I think that’s great. Of course, it poses more of a challenge for us but if you want to be at the top level, you have to be prepared to play top teams.”
Ward on us: "We’re taking it very seriously. We’re going to Arsenal with the intent of trying to win the football match. We want to get to a semi-final, so we’ll do everything we can."
With the exception of Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead (ACL), Eidevall is expected to have a fully fit squad to choose from this evening.
On Villa's side, Anna Patten (on-loan from us) and Lucy Staniforth (cup-tied) are ruled out, alongside defender Dan Turner who suffered a concussion at the weekend against Manchester City.
Simone Magill, Remi Allen, Freya Gregory, Meaghan Sargeant, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah and Natasha Harding are on the sidelines with long-term injuries.
How to watch
A pitch inspection took place this afternoon at Meadow Park, with the match official ruling that the surface is playable. The match kicks off at 7:45pm and is available to watch on FA Player.
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