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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Continental Cup: Arsenal’s silverware hopes still alive

The holders keep silverware hopes alive and will be looking to find their 7th league cup after a 0-4 victory which saw the diligent defence of the Lionesses frustrate them at first, despite a dominant first-half performance.

Friday 16th February 2024

 

The last Quarter-final game for the Conti Cup occurred on Wednesday night as Arsenal travelled to Princes Park to meet, championship side, London City Lionesses after last week's postponement- due to a waterlogged pitch- hours before kick-off.


London City hasn't had the easiest start to the year, sitting 10th in the championship, just outside the relegation battle on goal difference, as well as a change in their coach; after the tie was postponed last Wednesday London City Lionesses parted ways with head coach Carolina Morace and assistant coach Nicola Williams which left Darren Smith, who joined the club as goalkeeper coach in August, as interim head coach.


Arsenal came into this game with back-to-back losses, after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester City after a 1-0 defeat at Meadow Park and going six points behind WSL leaders Chelsea and three from second-placed City which leaves them with a tough remainder of the season as the challenge of the title race increases.


How the teams lineup:

  • Arsenal make seven changes from their FA Cup defeat against Manchester City: D'Angelo, Fox, Williamson, Cooney Cross, Mead, Mannum, and Russo sit this start out

  • London City Lionesses make just the one change from their defeat against Liverpool: Littlejohn is replaced by Groves


London City Lionesses: Moloney, Brougham, Culver, Mukandi, Fitzgerald, Scofield, Joel, Groves, Boye-Hlorkah, Carter, Douglas.

Subs: Cull, Uttridge, Satchell, Wilde, Dolby, Bailey, Cowan, Jarrett, Farrelly.


Arsenal: Zinsberger, McCabe, Codina, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Walti, Little (her first start since December), Pelova, Lacasse, Blackstenius, Foord.

Subs: D'Angelo, Bouhaddi, Williamson, Cooney-Cross, Maanum, Mead, Russo, Lia, Earl.



Darren Smith explaining his lineup choices:

“We obviously set up to play defensively and to block Arsenal coming through us.”

The Match:

Arsenal created a comfortable win over championship opposition in front of a sell-out crowd, starting the first half with a close chance of opening the scoring in the early few minutes as Katie McCabe's cross was met by Caitlin Foord but was denied by Grace Moloney, her first important stop of the game. Following this close chance Arsenal continued the high pressure in London City's penalty area which was paid off in the 39th minute when Cloe Lacasse found the breakthrough, assisted by Stina Blackstenius who met a McCabe corner, through a close-range header to the high centre of the goal. The visitors didn't have to wait long for their lead to double after a penalty was given to Blackstenius- who was brought down by Moloney who was chasing a poor pass from Mukandi- which was converted in the 45+5th minute by captain Kim Little who characteristically buried a right-footed spot-kick.



Following the break, the Gunners carried their intensity which was rewarded by another Lacasse goal in the 57th minute with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box. After coming on in the 70th minute Alessia Russo made an immediate impact in the 74th minute after converting a cross from Frida Maanum, with a nod home to the right corner for Arsenal's fourth. Despite some late chances the scoreline remained at 4-0 and Arsenal controlled the majority of the game with 21 shots- compared to the hosts' two and 34% possession- however the Lionesses were able to frustrate the holders for prolonged parts- especially the opening 30 minutes-n with a resilient defence. The comfortable lead that Arsenal held throughout made their spot in the Conti Cup final four official. 



Match statistics:

London City Lionesses


Arsenal

34

Possession (%)

66

2

Shots

21

1

Shots on Target

8

1

Corners

10

8

Fouls

7

Jonas Eidevall on his team's performance:

"We wanted and needed to get back to winning ways. We wanted and needed to keep another clean sheet, so it was good to see. We scored some great goals today and played some great football. Now, we need to recover, refresh and get ready for Saturday."

Semi-final draw:

Manchester City

Chelsea

Arsenal

Aston Villa

To be played on the 6th and 7th of March

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