The Arsenal Ladies season is following the men’s with a disappointing draw away to semi-professional team Sunderland following the FA Women’s Cup exit to Birmingham.
There was also a surprise on the day of the match with Louise Quinn on the bench for Arsenal. The defender was previously on Notts County’s books, who have unfortunately folded when the owner decided not to finance a team losing a lot of money every season. The Irish player has just announced that she has signed for the Spring Series.
It sends a message to the young defenders at the club that the manager does not really trust them to do a job right now. This is strange as he actually gave a lot of game time to the youngsters back in 2015, before signing too many experienced players for the 2016 season.
I mean, there are so many defenders injured now is is the right time to blood the youngsters as the Spring Series is a transition period.
Pedro Losa actually played two of them on Sunday, with Lotte Wubben-Moy and Anna Patten both starting at centre-back as Jemma Rose, Vyan Sampson and Emma Mitchell were all unavailable.
Alex Scott came back but only played for sixty minutes. Taylor Hinds could have travelled and played a part, especially as we only had six substitute instead of the seven allowed.
Now, I would not be surprised if a good number of our youngsters leave to play at University in the USA next Summer. If they get offered a scholarship, they can get a four-year degree while being student athlete and train every day. Or, they can stay here, gamble on getting a place in the squad on matchday. It looks like an easy choice to make.
Another player who does not seem to be n the manager’s thoughts is Carla Humphrey. Three games into the season and she has not seen any minutes. She was not used in the 10-0 win against Spurs, in the 1-0 defeat against Birmingham nor the 0-0 draw against Sunderland on Sunday.
Those three games were all scenarios when she could have been put on as substitute. Especially the latter two games as Arsenal were desperately looking to score a goal.
It does not make sense to leave one of your most creative and deadly players on the bench.
When you consider that Kim Little was not available against Sunderland, it is a clear indication that the manager does not trust Carla to get into the action even after her season on loan at Doncaster Belles, where she clearly improved as a player and as a person.
The Arsenal line-up was: Van Veenendaal; Scott (Kelly, 60), Patten, Wubben-Moy, Janssen; Williams, Nobbs; O’Reilly, Van de Donk (Quinn, 83), Carter; Taylor (McCabe, 60)
Substitutes not used: Moorhouse, Humphrey, Mead
In the first half, Arsenal had a lot of possession, but were poor in the final third, with crosses and through balls not troubling the Sunderland defence very often. Taylor was a bit isolated up front. Attacking players did not seem to click, something that happened frequently last season.
The second half carried on with Arsenal struggling to get many clear chances and not really able to go round, above or through the Sunderland defence.
Alex Scott was subbed after 60 minutes with her attacking contribution not being great as she was obviously rusty. Jodie Taylor was also subbed as she is in every game, maybe she cannot last 90 minutes at the moment. HAO moved to right-back, Dan Carter to the right-wing and Katie McCabe to the left-wing.
The double substitution did bring a new impetus with renewed energy. A couple of chances were created but it did not yield any goals.
As a last resort/gamble Pedro Losa put Louise Quinn on for Danielle Van De Donk, introducing a defender for a forward and moving to a back three and going into 3-4-3 on full attacking mode.
Overall, the 0-0 was a fair result with Arsenal not doing nor creating enough on the day to beat Sunderland. Alarm bells should now ring before the season starts to fall apart and victory is a must next Thursday against League leaders, Liverpool.
The full game can be watched on the BBC iplayer.