With the first team players on international duty and the u17 side without a game, the development team was the only team in action this weekend and they consolidated their League position with a 3-1 win over Watford.
The coach decided to rotate the squad and gave starts to Shona Allen in goal, Kelsey Kiely at right-back and Alysha Stojko-Down in central midfield. The team was set up in the usual 4-4-2 system: S Allen; Kiely, Parker, Wubben-Moy, Driscoll; Brunton-Wilde, Stojko-Down; Devlin, Clarke, Dean Fyfe. The subs used were G Allen, Ritchie-Williams and the unused subs were Rogers and Cowley.
As expected Arsenal set up to attack and dominate while Watford played on the break using Lawrence as a focal point holding the ball for the runners from midfield with good effect. Arsenal with the four forwards plus Stojko-Down who also played in an attacking role created many chances but faced resolute defending and an excellent goalkeeper who has played a lot for their first team.
Arsenal opened the score with a 25-yard shot from Stojko-Down who placed a shot that went on the crossbar and hit the goalkeeper before going over the line. 1-0 after 15 minutes. The lead only lasted eight minutes as Watford went on the break from their left wing, the cross came and the volley was saved by Allen but the follow up from close range was not dealt with and Cattle equalised.
Half time came and the scoreline was 1-1 as Arsenal were unable to breach Watford’s defence. The second half was played with the same tactics with Arsenal enjoying the possession and Watford catching them on the break. There were a lot of injuries in the second half, which accounted for the six minutes added time in the end.
The deadlock was finally broken six minutes from time, when a free kick was not cleared in the Watford box and Wubben-Moy finished from ten yards in the crowded penalty area. Her forward runs in the second half were crucial as she added an extra player forward and helped breaking Watford lines when forwards were getting frustrated. Brunton-Wilde seamlessly slotted in defence while Wubben-Moy was doing her forwards run.
With injury time being played, Watford threw everyone forward on the final set piece and leaving one defender on the halfway line. The ball was cleared to Ritchie-Williams who sent Dean through one and one and she scored with the last kick of the game.
Overall, it was a difficult victory against a resilient team and a very interesting challenge. Special mention to Lotte Wubben-Moy who took the game by the scruff of the neck from her centre back position in the last 20 minutes to lead the team to victory.
One player already in and one out.
Danielle Van Den Donk, the Dutch midfield international, has signed while Chioma Ubogagu has been released.
Alex Scott could leave for Chelsea Ladies while Marta Corredera has multiple offers from foreign clubs.
Fara Williams should sign from Liverpool and there is interest for Alex Greenwood from Notts County, should the player decide not to extend her stay over there. There is also talk of an England international forward.