On Thursday evening, Arsenal secured their first victory of 2023 and advanced to the semi-finals of the Conti Cup by defeating Aston Villa 3-0.
The match featured outstanding performances from Frida Maanum, who scored twice, as well as three new January signings making their debut for the club.
Despite making four changes to the starting lineup, Arsenal quickly took control of the game and put pressure on Aston Villa’s goalkeeper, Hannah Hampton.
Lina Hurtig had a shot saved and Maanum narrowly missed the mark, but Maanum ultimately opened the scoring with a spectacular goal, showcasing her skill and finesse with the ball.
The first half ended with Arsenal leading 1-0, but the Gunners were determined to push for more.
In the second half, Arsenal continued to dominate, with Maanum adding a second on 50 minutes and Caitlin Foord grabbing the third 10 minutes later.
Arsenal’s defence also played a key role in securing the victory, with D’Angelo making some key saves to keep Aston Villa from scoring.
The starting lineup for the game was D’Angelo, Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Rafaelle, McCabe (67), Williamson (67), Little, Maanum, Hurtig, Blackstenius (67), Foord, with Zinsberger, Marckese Beattie, Catley (67), Wienroither, Pelova (67), Kuhl on the bench.
After the game, Jonas Eidevall said, “They are a versatile team, they can do a lot of different things.
“You saw that today, they are having spells with more of a low block, they had spells where they defended higher up, they tried a few different formations in the second half. You have to be on your toes when you play Villa, all in all we managed that well.”
Speaking about the debutants, Eidevall said, “I was really pleased with that, it was important because there is only so much you can do on the training pitch. We have to see that in the match, especially when we speak about younger players that is also about getting the first minutes in the legs.
“Of course, they are going to be a bit nervous. It was important we could see some of these players today against Aston Villa and not wait until Leeds on Sunday, because we know today is a tough game.
“Therefore it is important that we invest that faith in them and that was very valuable for the team once they got settled in, you could really see the qualities these players will bring us. Gio couldn’t play today because she was cup tied but hopefully you will see her on Sunday.”
Eidevall also confirmed that Lia Walti’s injury is not serious but will rule her out of the game at the weekend.
We will now host Manchester City in the semi-finals on February 8/9 as the Gunners reach the semi-final of the competition for the first time since 2020.
Arsenal are the most successful club in Women’s League Cup history with five titles over 11 years. They last won the competition in 2018.