Arsenal aim to clamber back onto the horse at Leicester on Sunday in the WSL. The team does not have time to dwell on Thursday’s Champions League elimination in Germany and that’s just as well. Wolfsburg were deserved winners over the two legs and the Gunners will have to chalk the 3-1 aggregate defeat up to experience.

Eidevall’s side trail Chelsea by a point at the top of the WSL and they cannot afford to put a foot wrong in the league- even perfection from this point might not be enough to take the title. The Foxes were thumped 9-0 by Emma Hayes’ side last week to displace Arsenal at the summit.

Leicester will be licking their wounds after that defeat and will be determined to give a much better account of themselves against a Gunners side who have played a draining midweek match away in the Champions League, where they experienced disappointment.

Eidevall may be tempted to make some changes to this team with the likes of Jordan Nobbs, Nikita Parris and Laura Wienroither not having started a game for a few weeks and with weary legs and minds to overcome just before a short international break.

Jonas Eidevall says that Rafaelle and Mana Iwabuchi remain doubtful for this match having been missing for the last four games with injury. Lia Walti will be available after being prevented from travelling to Thursday’s Champions League clash because she was not permitted to travel alone.

It is not confirmed why Lia could not join the flight with the team on Wednesday but isolation due to covid seems the most likely explanation. Tobin Heath should be available after being withdrawn at half-time against Wolfsburg. Beth Mead returns after serving a one-match European suspension against Wolfsburg.

Available squad
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 18.Williams
DEFENDERS: 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 6.Williamson, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 20.Boye, 26.Wienroither
MIDFIELDERS: 8.Nobbs, 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 13.Wälti, 15.McCabe
FORWARDS: 9.Mead, 11.Miedema, 14.Parris, 19.Foord, 25.Blackstenius, 77.Heath.

“I think if you lose 9-0 (Leicester lost 9-0 to Chelsea last weekend) because you didn’t do your best, then yes you probably react and try to do better next time. I don’t think that is what happened to Leicester, all the teams in the WSL do their very best all the time. Obviously, they will want to improve but every team wants to do that in every game. I guess they might try to prioritise their defence.

“I don’t expect them to play as high a defensive line as they did at Meadow Park. Since that game, they have been more cautious with it. They didn’t concede goals at Chelsea from those situations where they were high up the pitch and had runners in behind. I think their line will be a little lower.”

When the teams met at Meadow Park in December, Arsenal were 4-0 winners thanks to goals from Jordan Nobbs, Vivianne Miedema and a brace from Frida Maanum.

Leicester City are all but safe in the WSL having been promoted to the top flight for the first time last season. They probably recognise this is largely to do with Birmingham City’s decline, though Leicester did beat the Blues twice in games which were always going to go a long way to deciding the relegation battle.

They parted company with Jonathan Morgan, who got the team promoted last season and hired promising young coach Lydia Bedford. Leicester are trying to follow the example of the likes of Spurs, West Ham and Brighton who have been promoted from the Championship and established themselves firmly in the WSL’s middle tier.

They are having a similar season to the one Aston Villa had last season. Villa hung in for survival last season and have built on that, making clear progress in their second season in the top-flight. Leicester have invested heavily in terms of facilities too under current head of women’s football at the club, Emile Heskey.

Frida Maanum was asked to fill in for Lia Walti on Thursday night and I think everyone knows that Frida is more of an eight than a six. Another natural defensive midfielder will be high on Arsenal’s shopping list this summer. In the meantime, Frida is likely to get a chance in her preferred eight role with Lia Walti available again.

Maanum has found minutes difficult to come by in recent weeks due to the form of the Walti, Little and Miedema triangle. I imagine one or both of Little or Miedema will be rested to the bench for this game, with Maanum coming into midfield.

It’s a chance for her to re-establish herself after a very impressive start to the campaign. The likes of Maanum and Nobbs have had to make do with cameo appearances and have not been able to build rhythm but with Thursday night behind her, Maanum has the chance to start rebuilding that again.


Subs: 5.Beattie, 7.Catley, 10.Little, 14.Parris, 16.Maritz, 18.Williams, 20.Boye, 25.Blackstenius, 77.Heath.

The game takes place at the King Power Stadium on Sunday at 12.30pm and will be screened live on BBC Two. Tickets are available here at £7 for adults and £3.50 concessions. Your local WSL broadcaster will also carry the game.

We will have the usual post-match reaction from Jonas Eidevall, as well as the usual post-match reaction video from the King Power Stadium on the site on Sunday afternoon. We will have another Arsenal Women Arsecast mailbag episode during the international break too and we have a good player interview in the works for the international break as well.