It's time for round two against Manchester City as we go head-to-head for the second time in four days.
Our Gunners have made the trip up to Manchester for the vital Women's Super League clash with the intention of quelling City's attempts at revenge by achieving a clean sweep. A win for either side would see them draw level with Manchester United in second place before the Red Devils face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Last time around
We don't have to reach far into the memory box for our last Man City encounter. Our Gunners defeated City 1-0 on Wednesday night, knocking out the Conti Cup holders at the semi-final stage of the competition.
It took extra-time to decide the winner, thanks to some Scandinavian magic from Frida Maanum, Lina Hurtig and Stina Blackstenius. Jonas Eidevall's side will be hoping the hard-won victory gives us a psychological boost going into the rematch.
Tight at the top
It's closer than ever at the top of the WSL table, with four sides vying for Champions League places and of course, the league title.
Despite kicking off their season with two straight losses to Aston Villa and Chelsea, Man City rallied and have been unbeaten in the WSL ever since. Gareth Taylor's side currently occupies fourth spot, trailing our Gunners on goal difference. After our postponed fixture against Brighton in January, we still have a vital game in hand on our three WSL rivals.
After a terrific defensive display on Wednesday night, our backline's key task will be to contain City’s Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw once again. The Jamaican forward has scored 19 goals in her 21 starts in the Women’s Super League and is averaging a goal every 96 minutes in the competition. This is the second-best ratio of any player with 1,000+ minutes in WSL history, behind only Chelsea's Sam Kerr.
How to watch
A sell-out crowd is expected at the Academy Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kicking off at 12:30pm, the match will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
There were big smiles at the training ground this week as Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead headed back to London Colney to step up their recoveries from respective ACL injuries. The pair are regrettably still expected to be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
No new injuries have been announced for either side, and Saturday's matchday squads are expected to be similar to those from Wednesday night.
What the managers say
Eidevall on City: "We knew that we could get the victory over them. But it's about understanding that it's going to be a really even game on Saturday as well. It's going to be small margins, small details just like it was [on Wednesday].
"I'm really happy with a lot of things we did. There are some things we need to do better. I still think it's a game that both teams could have won. They also had some great chances. So let's stay humble and do what we can do. And if we prepare for that, then we'll have a good chance of getting a good result on Saturday. But by no means is it going to be easy. It's going to be super hard."
Taylor on us: "It's one where we'll dust ourselves down and get ready. We've got to capitalise on them travelling up as well. It's the same for both teams. Neither manager probably wanted extra time [on Wednesday].
“We’ve seen it previously when we’ve had big crowds. When our supporters are behind us, as they always are, it’s amazing. We can use that; be calm in everything we do and try our very best.”
Facts and stats
- Our Gunners have not beaten Man City away from home in the Women's Super League since a 1-0 win back in 2017. Of our five league encounters in Manchester, we have lost four and drawn one
- However, our recent form is more encouraging. We have not lost in our last three meetings with City in all competitions - winning two and drawing one
- Our opponents are unbeaten in their last 13 home WSL games. Chelsea were the last side to beat City in the league back in November 2021. 11 of their last 12 WSL defeats have come against teams from London
- We have only lost one of our last 21 away games in the Women’s Super League (W16 D4), conceding only six goals and keeping 16 clean sheets
- Manuela Zinsberger has kept a clean sheet in 30 of her 56 WSL appearances. At 54%, this is the highest percentage of any goalkeeper to play at least 20 times in the competition
- Failing to score in our last league match against West Ham means that our run of 18 scoring games came to end on Sunday. The last time we went two games in a row without a goal was April 2016
- Our last two games in the WSL have ended in draws. We have never drawn three consecutive league matches
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