Arsenal Women are back at Borehamwood on Sunday to welcome Championship side Lewes in the FA Women’s Cup Round 5, hoping to play a game after the last two were postponed due to storms Ciara and Dennis.
On paper, Arsenal should go through and if the players deliver a professional performance, it should be a win.
Lewes have recently changed manager as the previous one moved to Scotland to take over Celtic women, who have just turned professional. His assistant, Simon Parker, took over and the team is actually in ninth position in the Championship, fighting to avoid relegation.
Lewes have nearly changed all of their old squad after being promoted to the Championship two seasons ago. They have a bit of FA WSL experience in players like Rhian Cleverly, Ellie Leek, Emily Donovan and Sophie O’Rourke.
They also recently signed on loan the former Arsenal goalkeeper, Sophie Harris, whom we know very well while also making a really good signing in England youth international and left winger Paula Howells.
They play an attractive attacking passing football and therefore should offer an entertaining game to the fans. However, the last meeting between the two teams ended with a 9-0 scoreline, so you would not blame them for parking the bus a little.
On the Arsenal side, the big question is what kid of starting 11 will be selected.
With the FA WSL Continental Cup final in mind, Katie McCabe and Danielle van de Donk, both a booking away from a one game ban, should not be risked on Sunday.
Then, we have a few injured players: Danielle Carter, who is back training outside and is on the mend from her ACL injury. Katrin Veje, who put on Instagram that she was injured and looking forward to playing again.
Kim Little and Lia Wälti are also not available after missing games in the last few weeks. Beth Mead is the latest casualty and will be out until April if we believe Phil Neville. The England manager said he was hoping to get Beth back for the April Camp.
Vivianne Miedema also complained about back problems and was nowhere to be seen on the IG TV published by the club on Monday. That video showed 12 players in training including three goalkeepers. Two youngsters who could have been involved are on international duty: Ruby Mace is in Florida with England u17 as they play a double header against the USA, while Silvana Flores is in Dominican Republic with Mexico as they start their CONCACAF u-20 WWC qualifying campaign.
The good news is Caitlin Foord is available and has had a week under her belt getting to know her teammates and you would expect her to start against a Championship side to help her bed in nicely.
Possible starting 11: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin; Leonie Maier, Jennifer Beattie, Louise Quinn, Viktoria Schnaderbeck; Leah Williamson, Melisa Filis, Jordan Nobbs; Ruby Grant, Jill Roord, Lisa Evans. Substitutes : Manuela Zinsberger, Gracie Pearse, Katie McCabe, Danielle van de Donk, Vivianne Miedema