Match preview

WSL preview: Bristol City v Arsenal Women

Bristol City v Arsenal Women. Women's Super League. October 22, 2023. Ashton Gate Stadium

Fresh from our first win of the Women’s Super League season against Aston Villa, our Gunners are looking to continue building momentum against newly-promoted Bristol City. 

Over 10,000 supporters are expected at Ashton Gate this evening for the last piece of WSL action before the October international break. 

Last time around

The last time we faced Bristol City was back in 2021, when a trip to Twerton Park ended in a 4-0 win. Vivianne Miedema bagged two goals, her Dutch counterpart Danielle van de Donk scored once and Beth Mead also got on the scoresheet. 

Our 11-1 victory over the Robins remains the biggest scoreline in a Women’s Super League match. That 2019 fixture at Meadow Park was a Miedema masterclass, as our Dutch forward claimed a record double hat-trick and assisted another four. 

A return to the top flight

Bristol City defend a cross from Manchester City in the penalty area

After two seasons in the Barclays Women’s Championship, Bristol City secured their return to the top flight with just a point to spare, staving off newly-relegated Birmingham City. 

So far, it hasn’t been the start to life in the WSL that they would have hoped for. The Robins have lost to Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in their opening three games, conceding 12 goals in the process.

Summer signing Amelie Thestrup does have two goals to her name already, with the Danish striker scoring twice from the penalty spot.

Irish international Megan Connolly swapped Brighton for Bristol in August and was soon given the captain’s armband. 

Elsewhere in the squad, our own Kaylan Marckese joined the Robins for a loan spell this summer and has two WSL appearances under her belt. 

What the managers say

Jonas Eidevall in training

Eidevall on Bristol: "The game on Sunday is really important. I think when you look at building up momentum, I think we have been playing better and better and better this block. Each game has been an improvement.

"If we can continue to do that, if we can play better no against Bristol, I’m very optimistic about the game, but that's within our control to do that first."

Smith on us: "Our challenge is to make sure that we convert our opportunities into real chances and then goals and to make sure that Arsenal don’t capitalise on the possession they will have. 

"What we can’t afford to do is to be a one-half team, especially at this level with the quality of players in the WSL, so we need to make sure that we are at our best for the 90-plus minutes."

Team news

Vivianne Miedema in training

After Beth Mead made a triumphant return to the squad last weekend after 11 months away, Vivianne Miedema may quickly follow suit. 

“Viv is really close to returning to play,” said Eidevall at the pre-match press conference. “Maybe she can make the squad on Sunday.”

There was also progress with other long term injuries as Laura Wienroither ran on grass for the first time since her ACL injury, following in Leah Williamson's footsteps in September.

As for the rest of the squad, Eidevall only revealed: "We had some minor things in the week. Nothing that we know for sure is gonna affect Sunday, so nothing big to report."

Facts and stats

Beth Mead in action for Aston Villa

  • This is the first time we've played Bristol City since April 2021, which was a 4-0 win for us away from home. The Robins have only beaten us once in 18 meetings

  • Our Gunners have won the last six WSL matches against Bristol City by an aggregate score of 32-3

  • In their opening three games this season, Bristol have conceded 12 goals

  • Our last-gasp win over Aston Villa was only the third time in history that a WSL team has won a game they were trailing in the 90th minute

  • Beth Mead's assist last weekend for Alessia Russo was the 12th time she has assisted a winning goal in the WSL. Mead is only one behind Karen Carney, who currently holds the record for most assists for winning goals

  • Bristol City have the lowest average possession this season (27.5%), the fewest completed passes (419) and the worst passing accuracy (63%) in the league

How to watch

Ashton Gate Stadium

All the action at Ashton Gate kicks off at 6.45pm (UK time) on Sunday. Supporters not making the trip to Bristol will be able to follow the match live on Sky Sports, with coverage beginning at 6:30pm.

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