Match preview

Preview: Arsenal Women v Manchester City

Arsenal v Manchester City. April 2, 2023. Meadow Park. WSL

Following Champions League success in the week, our Gunners launch straight into a significant Women’s Super League clash against Manchester City.

Victory against City would be our first against the top four in the league this season. As we enter the final two months of the WSL 22/23 season, every goal, save and performance is vital to keep our title dreams alive. 

Last time around

Our Gunners last hosted Manchester City at Meadow Park in February. The exceptionally tight game ended with Stina Blackstenius’ dramatic extra-time winner, setting us on our way for eventual Conti Cup glory.  

We travelled up to Manchester for a WSL meeting only a few days later and this time, City had the upper hand. Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp both got on the scoresheet that day and despite Rafaelle’s brilliant header in the second half, it proved to be only a consolation goal. 

This home fixture was originally scheduled as a season-opener back in September 2022, but was postponed due to the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. 

A four-way title race

Manchester City celebrate after scoring against Chelsea

The 22/23 WSL season is shaping up to be the closest and most exciting title race for years, with all of the top four in clutching distance.

Man City’s win over Chelsea last weekend had huge ramifications for a league table that has been in constant flux for months, as our game-in-hand over City and Manchester United looms. Our Gunners have the opportunity to write our own destiny as we face each of the top four before the season ends in May. 

With Lioness duo Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp down the wings and Khadija Shaw leading the line, City have one of the most formidable front threes in European football. As our opponents proved in the away leg, it will be no mean feat to keep them at bay. 

Having beaten both City and Chelsea in the Conti Cup, we'll be looking to replicate this form in the WSL as we enter this exciting home straight. 

What the managers say

Jonas Eidevall encourages the team from the sidelines

Eidevall on City: "I see them as a very strong team. They're very organised both on and off the ball. They have a very clear idea of how they want to execute their game plans. You can see that there is a team and coaching staff in harmony and they are working extremely hard to get those ideas across and be successful with them.

"When we have played them twice this season, I've been very impressed with them. So I'm looking forward to the challenge to play against a strong team."

Taylor on us: "It's a game we're looking forward to. These games are key. It's just about concentrating on what we do, what we do really well and trying to execute that to the highest standards we possibly can.

"The fact that the top four teams all play each other quite a bit in those last games, it's just got all the ingredients for a really exciting finish." 

How to watch

Meadow Park

As the early kick-off on Sunday, the action begins at Meadow Park at 12:30pm (UK time). The fixture is sold-out and will be available to watch at home on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. 

Team news

Katie McCabe on crutches and a protective boot

Our spectacular win in the Champions League on Wednesday did take a toll on our squad, as captain Kim Little was forced off after only ten minutes and Katie McCabe was substituted following a collision. Despite being seen on crutches and in a protective boot after the final whistle, McCabe is a possibility for the game against City depending on ongoing tests, with Eidevall saying he is "hopeful for her participation." 

Little, on the other hand, is more of a doubt for the fixture as the medical team continues to assess her injury. Gio may feature in the squad to face City, as she recovers from the knock picked up in last weekend's North London Derby. Steph Catley, Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema remain unavailable. 

Facts and stats

Arsenal Women celebrate scoring against Tottenham Hotspur

  • We have won only one of our last six meetings with Manchester City in the league, though that win did come in this exact fixture last season
  • Having lost their first two WSL games this season, Man City are now unbeaten in their last 14. They have won all six of their away games during this run
  • After failing to pick up a win in our first three league games in 2023, we have now won our last three in the WSL by an aggregate score of 11-1.
  • Man City have only done the WSL double over us twice - in 2016 and 2020-21
  • Eight of Man City's last nine away defeats in the WSL have come in London (four vs us, four vs Chelsea)
  • In the WSL, no side has conceded fewer goals than our Gunners this season
  • Kim Little has scored in her last two WSL appearances, both from the penalty spot. No one in the league has converted more penalties than our skipper this season
  • Man City's Chloe Kelly has played more passes into the box (174) and created more chances (52) than any other player so far
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