Arsenal Women welcome local rivals London Bees to Boreham Wood in the FA WSL Continental Cup tournament on Thursday evening.

Arsenal are competing in Group One south against Millwall Lionesses, Watford Ladies, London Bees and fellow WSL 1 side Reading.


The competition begins with a group stage comprising four groups of five clubs split geographically.

If the result of a group match is drawn after 90 minutes, the match will go straight to penalties. The top two clubs in each group advance.

What to expect from London Bees

As for Arsenal’s opposition, London Bees have made a lot of change during the summer with a new manager arriving in Luke Swindlehurst, who was working under Matt Beard at Liverpool when they won the League.

They also had a lot of ins and out with new signings like Chelsea Weston who is yet to play following her injury, Destiny Toussaint, Nicola Hobbs and Rosie Lane.

London Bees have a huge number of former Arsenal youth set-up player who played up to the Development Team or were fringe first-team players: Sophie Harris, Ashleigh Goddard, Rebecca Anderson, Taylor O’Leary, Tricia Gould, Evie Clarke and Alysha Stojko-Down.

Currently towards the bottom of FA WSL 2, the team has transitioned from the old playing style used by former manager David Edmonson into a different one that is a work in progress.

The key players are new goalkeeper and ex Donnie Belles Nicola Hobbs, ex Oxford centre-back Rosie Lane, with midfield duo Emma Beckett and Ashleigh Goddard. Left-winger Paula Howells offer a good crossing ability and set pieces assists.

Arsenal injuries

Kim Little and Vyan Sampson are not there yet.

The rest of the squad is fit so manager Pedro Losa has 20 players to choose from.

Predicted XI

Considering the Continental Cup is the equivalent of the League Cup for the Men’s team and Pedro Losa’s previous squad rotation in similar circumstances, you would hope the fringe players and youngsters would be selected.

In goal, I would expect Anna Moorhouse to start as she did not disappoint during all the pre-season friendlies.

At right-back, considering the recent performance from the new Swedish signing Jessica Samuelsson, Alex Scott should get back in if available.

At centre back, I think Jemma Rose and Louise Quinn, who have not got much playing time, should get the nod. At left-back, youngster Taylor Hinds needs a game a first-team level.

In midfield, Dominique Janssen, who dropped from the squad altogether last Sunday, should be played in her natural position alongside Jordan Nobbs or Leah Williamson. I would also like to see two wingers in Lisa Evans and youngster Lauren James.

Up front, the pairing of Anna Miedema and Bethany Mead would make sense as they will be the main options up front once Jodie Taylor leaves the club.

If Pedro Losa wants to play some of the Development team youngsters, the captain Anna Filbey is an attacking-midfielder who has been played on the wing recently and also at right-back in pre-season friendlies.

Right-back Ellie Perkins was a starter for London Bees during the whole Spring Series. Centre-back Shannon Cooke was also involved with the first-team pre-season.

In midfield, Miri Taylor is a defensive midfielder with the same style as Marco Verratti and has actually first-team experience while she was at Chelsea Ladies. Central midfielder Ava Kuyken came on against Everton and playmaker Lia Cataldo was involved in the PSG matchday squad.

Winger Jess N’Gunga is tricky and pacy and has been playing well for the reserves.

Prediction XI: Moorhouse; Scott, Rose, Quinn, Hinds; Janssen, Nobbs; Evans, Mead, Miedema, James