Following Jemma Rose’s dismissal against Manchester City and her subsequent ban, we look at Pedro Losa’s available options in defence.
Arsène Wenger has been having a similar headache with the men’s team, unsure of whether or not to replace Per Mertesacker or even give Calum Chambers a chance, and Pedro Losa now needs to settle on a centre-back pairing.
Casey Stoney is a senior and experienced player and, therefore, the first choice centre-back. She showed us why yesterday with a top class performance.
She was substituted late in the game, hopefully it will be a minor injury, otherwise, we will end up with a brand new partnership against Notts County Ladies.
So who should partner Stoney? Jemma Rose is not an option for the game and you can certainly put some serious question marks about a player who get sent off early in a big game.
You wonder if the player can deal with pressure of a big game at the highest level. Especially with the manner of the sending-off: a positional error mixed with an unnecessary rash challenge, grabbing and tripping a forward going through.
Leah Williamson was sent on to partner Stoney. The young midfielder seems to make recurrent mistakes that lead to goals when playing in defence. She has been guilty of a couple per season since she started playing for the first team. Williamson does not seem to be the most reliable option there and should be on the pitch where she excels: in a midfield position.
Josephine Henning is a centre-back from Germany with huge pedigree. She has so far not played any official game for Arsenal but was involved in friendlies for club and country since her arrival early in the new year.
Henning has won the biggest club trophies as well as an Euros with Germany and is a top class defender. Surely she should be given a chance, otherwise why sign such a quality player? The big question is her fitness due to previous injuries that prevented her to play much for PSG.
She was on the bench against City, but not subbed on when Rose was sent off or Stoney injured. You have to ask why she was on the bench, if not fit while four players were left at home.
Vyan Sampson is a strong and powerful young defender who reads the game well and missed nearly the whole 2015 season due to injury.
She is reaching an age (20) where her development is being hampered by her lack of game. She has been left out of the squad for the three games played so far this season, so the chances given to her might be non-existent this season despite her potential.
Lotte Wubben Moy is an England u17 international currently in Serbia for the Elite round. She will available for the next game. She is the leader of our development team and a superb young player who reads the game well.
She also has the ability to get involved in the attack by making runs from the back in a typical attack versus park the bus defense.
She was involved with the first team last season while she was still 16 and played in many continental cup games and started in the crucial League game against Chelsea. She has very much a cool head and certainly would not be out of place alongside Stoney in central defence.
A centre-back partnership takes time to gel and managers tend to keep the players together and not rotate them. Of course if you have three players like Koscielny, Mertesacker and Gabriel, rotation might be in order.
So will Pedro Losa install a new partnership at the heart of the Ladies defence or just a one-off one until Jemma Rose is back from suspension?