Women's Team

Arsenal v City: Taylor on team news

Gareth Taylor has received a squad boost ahead of Sunday’s FA Women’s Super League trip to Arsenal with three players back in contention.

Janine Beckie, Esme Morgan and Jess Park are set to return for the crunch clash at Borehamwood, having missed last weekend’s 4-0 triumph over West Ham United.

However, the game could come too soon for Sam Mewis and Demi Stokes, who have not featured for City since December.

Sharing the latest team news ahead of the game, Taylor confirmed: “There will be players missing.


“The good news is that we are looking like we are gaining a couple back who were missing for West Ham.

“The likes of Janine Beckie, Esme Morgan and Jess Park should be available. That is helping us in terms of numbers.

“In regards to Sam Mewis and Demi Stokes, we will see. We have another day to prepare but that will be close.

“The important thing is that if they are not ready for Sunday, we can get them back for the next game [against Manchester United].”

Last weekend saw World Cup winner Abby Dahlkemper make her debut for the Club – a matter of days after arriving at the City Football Academy, following international duty.

Asked of the importance of Dahlkemper’s immediate impact, Taylor replied: “She is a player of real calibre.

“She has played in big games. I think it was a good thing that she was available. She wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

“We need to make sure we give her time to settle in and don’t judge too soon. She is a good player and has good players around her and the players have allowed her to hit the ground running.

“It helps [to have her at this stage of the season] but names don’t win games. The team element is the important thing.


“That is what I am seeing now. Everyone is standing up to be counted. Everyone plays their part.

“We are working hard, scoring a lot of goals, so we are going into these couple of games with confidence and we’ll give it our best.”

Sunday’s encounter will pit Dahlkemper against Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema for the first time since the 2019 World Cup Final.

Taylor admits there is no shying away from the Dutch forward’s quality but asserts Dahlkemper and her teammates are prepared for the challenge.

“Of course, she is a top player,” he declared. “She has proven that over the years.

“She is a player who has been earmarked to be dangerous against us but they have got a number of good players. We need to be ready for that and make sure we impose our game on the opponent.

“We have been fairly successful in the past few months when we have played them. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Having locked horns on 14 occasions in the FA WSL, the two sides have never drawn a game, with home advantage having proven significant over the years.

Taylor’s side edged the most recent encounter at the Academy Stadium with an injury-time Caroline Weir strike in December and the boss anticipates a similarly close contest in what could prove to be the first of two season-defining matches in a week.

“They are a good team,” he said. “They have got good players. It is always going to be a really highly competitive game.

“We have shown some decent form. We are scoring goals and they always have the ability to score goals. We have just overtaken them in goals scored.

“They had a purple patch early in the season of high-scoring games. They are dangerous. We need to be ready for it.

“We just have to win the game. Staying in the game early on is important. This team has showed real resilience and managing the game in the early parts will be important.

“You gain an advantage being at home and we need to go with a different mentality, which we have done in away games.

“I said previously: these are big games. It is important to stay in the hunt if we want to maintain the challenge and the good situation we are in currently.

“Across the WSL, teams are looking at the crunch part of the season and these games will tell us where we are and where we are going.”

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