Arsenal Women opened their 2023/24 season with a 3-0 win against Linkoping in Sweden. Captain Kim Little returned to the side along with Lia Walti, as Jonas Eidevall gave debuts to summer signings Alessia Russo, Cloe Lacasse and Amanda Ilestedt.
Manu Zinsberger 7.5/10
Very high up when Arsenal were in possession, playing out from the back. Made some important saves whenever Linkoping threatened.
Noelle Maritz 6.5/10
Quickly formed an effective relationship with Lacasse on Arsenal’s right and prevented some of Linkoping’s counter-attacks. Replaced by Steph Catley after an hour.
Lotte Wubben-Moy 7/10
Almost opened the scoring on her 101st appearance for Arsenal, but her header from McCabe’s corner was very well saved. Didn’t see any action for England Down Under so will have enjoyed being back on the pitch.
Amanda Ilestedt 6.5/10
Partnered Wubben-Moy at centre-back in Arsenal’s back four, on debut in her native Sweden after arriving on a free transfer from PSG. A strong, tall presence in defence, as we saw in the World Cup, who missed an excellent headed chance seven minutes into the second half. Was also nominated for the Ballon D’Or during the second half, so not a bad afternoon’s work!
Katie McCabe 7.5/10
Able to push forward and support Foord throughout, delivering a number of tantalising crosses that caused problems for Linkoping’s defence.
Lia Walti 6.5/10
Missed the end of last season due to injury but returned to action in the World
Cup for Switzerland. Sat in front of Arsenal’s centre backs, helping to turn the ball over.
Kim Little 7/10
Captain Kim returned after a hamstring injury and was into the action immediately, stepping up to the penalty spot to see her rather tame spot-kick saved by Andersson. Made up for the early miss by setting up Foord’s goal with a lovely bit of skill and cross to find the Aussie forward.
Frida Maanum 7.5/10
Won the (rather soft) early penalty, with her cross hitting the hand of a Linkoping defender. Made it very difficult for Linkoping to win the ball off her and created plenty of opportunities for herself, drifting to the left of Arsenal’s midfield to work well with Foord. So unlucky to hit the post after being set up by Hurtig.
Cloe Lacasse 7/10
Arsenal’s first summer signing was lively in the press on her debut, showing plenty of pace on the right wing as well as cutting in off the flank onto her left. Should have done better with an early shot that was straight at Andersson.
Caitlin Foord 7.5/10
Returned from an impressive World Cup on home soil and grew into the game, giving Arsenal the lead when she found space at the back post and was on the end of Little’s cross. Set up Blackstenius with an excellent driven cross from the right.
Alessia Russo 6.5/10
Always uses the ball well- effective even with her back to goal. Impressed on her long-awaited debut but missed a golden opportunity to score, heading wide from close range before being replaced by Blackstenius.
Lina Hurtig (Sub, 61’) 7/10
Introduced from the bench on the left wing and almost assisted Maanum straight away- the Norwegian’s shot cannoned off the post. Scored Arsenal’s second, getting her head to the ball under pressure from the goalkeeper after a free kick was swung in, and finding the back of an empty net.
Our super Swede ?? pic.twitter.com/sFyR88udLv— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 6, 2023
Stina Blackstenius (Sub, 61’) 6.5/10
Came up against her former club along with Hurtig and Maanum, meeting Foord’s low cross to score Arsenal’s third late on with a clever finish.
Steph Catley (Sub, 62’) 6/10
One of Arsenal’s outstanding performers at this summer’s World Cup. Replaced Noelle Maritz and helped to continue the Gunners’ wide threat in attack.
Victoria Pelova (Sub, 72’)
Jen Beattie (Sub, 82’)
Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Naomi Williams, Kathrine Kuhl, Beth Mead, Gio Queiroz, Vivianne Lia.