Birmingham City Ladies
Sat 20 May 2017
Concessions : £3
Draw specialists meet looking to climb the Spring Series table
Arsenal and Birmingham have racked up five draws between them and are keen for all three points
Liverpool may be setting the pace in the FA Women’s Super League Spring Series, but it’s still all to play for and a win for either Arsenal or Birmingham would thrust them right into contention.
For both sides, draws have been too regular so far to be challenging at the top of the standings - with unbeaten Arsenal notching up three already, while Birmingham have two.
But while another stalemate might appear the most likely outcome, the Gunners and the Blues head into this match with some momentum after their last Spring Series encounters.
Hosts Arsenal remain unbeaten in the Spring Series, but that record came under series threat last time out against Chelsea, when only Jordan Nobbs’ superbly-improvised finish in the dying moments rescued a 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
The Gunners certainly haven’t had any trouble hitting the net in recent weeks, with a remarkable 4-4 draw with Liverpool followed by a 5-1 away win at Yeovil Town.
Birmingham meanwhile have lost only one match so far in the Spring Series, with leaders Liverpool the victors on Blues soil.
But draws against Manchester City and Sunderland means they sit sixth, with their chances significantly improved after their first league win of the season last time out.
Two goals in six minutes by Ellen White just before the interval earned Birmingham a 2-0 win over Bristol City, and the former Arsenal striker will be looking to hit her straps again on Saturday.
The sides have already met once this season, with Birmingham having the bragging rights after knocking defending champions Arsenal out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
Marisa Ewers was in the right place at the right time to score the only goal of that quarter-final at Solihull Moors FC with 13 minutes remaining on the clock.
In an open game where both sides shared plenty of chances, she struck a first time shot high into the top right-hand corner of the net after latching onto Ellie Brazil’s cutback, who had done well to get to the byline.
And last season there was nothing at all to separate them; two goalless draws in FA WSL 1 followed a 1-1 draw in the SSE Women’s FA Cup - although it was Arsenal who progressed on the occasion on penalties.
ONE TO WATCH - Jordan Nobbs, Arsenal
Almost an ever-present in Arsenal’s side last term, Nobbs is once again going from strength to strength in domestic football, and has a knack of grabbing important goals at key times.
She netted Arsenal’s fourth in the remarkable 4-4 draw with Liverpool, and rescued a point against Chelsea on Wednesday, with both goals sublime finishes.
Jodie Taylor and Danielle Carter are both in fine goalscoring form too having scored three goals each in the Gunners’ last three games.
On that basis there are plenty of threats for Birmingham to try and nullify.
WHAT THEY SAID
Danielle Carter, Arsenal forward:
“We'll be looking to try and turn these draws into wins, 100 per cent, but we haven't lost yet, so it was good for us, confidence-wise, to get that last-minute goal at Chelsea.
“It's a quick turnaround for us when we face Birmingham, but it's the same as every game: we expect to win.
“Birmingham are a very strong side - we've played them already this year and they were victorious, so we need to regroup and figure out how to combat their strengths.
"We'll come in with great confidence after the start we've had to the Spring Series.”
Ellen White, current Birmingham and ex-Arsenal striker:
“Getting our first league win of the season against Bristol will be a confidence boost and it’s nicely timed ahead of a tough match against Arsenal.
“They’ve had a decent start to the Spring Series and after the draw they had with Chelsea on Wednesday night they’ll be wanting to beat us.
“They’ll see the game as a chance to gain revenge for our FA Cup quarter-final win against them, but we’ll be just as keen to get the three points.
“I still love Arsenal after having a great time while I was there and I think they’re a great club.
“Playing against them is always special but also difficult because they’re a fantastic team with top players.”
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