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Kick off 14:00 (UK)

17 January 2021 Venue Madejski Stadium Attendance

Kick off 14:00 (UK)

Reading Women
1 - 1
Arsenal Women

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Match Previews

🔜 Preview | Arsenal women come to RG2

Royals take on Gunners on Sunday

15 January 2021

Reading FC Women look to bounce back from defeat at the hands of champions Chelsea last week, when they undertake another huge test in the shape of Arsenal.

The Royals fell to a quintet of goals from former Reading player Fran Kirby and a late strike from Ji So-yun in an unfortunate start to the new year last weekend against The Blues.

Reading never seemed to get out of the starting blocks and lacked the quality that they had shown in previous matches, leading up to their final game of 2020; a solid 3-1 win against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Current form sees Reading in 6th place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table, having played the most games in league competition so far this season. Arsenal sit in 3rd position, 4 points off Manchester United at the top of the table.

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Our opponents

The Gunners started the campaign in scintillating form with five straight victories scoring a remarkable 29 goals in the process. Since then though, Joe Montemurro’s side’s last five outings have yielded just 7 points. Crucially the Gunners have dropped valuable points against the other high riding sides. Firstly, they went down 1-0 at Manchester United, conceding in the 83rd minute. Their next outing was even more dramatic when Beth Mead put them 1-0 up at home to Chelsea with just four minutes left on the clock. The Blues, however, equalised in the final minute courtesy of an own goal from Lotte Wubben-Moy. Then at Manchester City, it was going to plan when Vivianne Miedema put Arsenal ahead early on. City though equalised with a Sam Mewis goal and then snatched the winner deep into added time through Caroline Weir. Miedema is the current leading scorer in the WSL with eleven goals. Jill Roord meanwhile has seven against her name and Caitlin Foord has six.    

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Squad update

Following on from the January signing of Caitlin Foord, there was a distinct Australian theme to Arsenal's summer recruitment as two new arrivals, Steph Catley and Lydia Williams – both teammates of Foord in the Matildas’ 2019 World Cup squad – joined the side. 26-year-old Catley usually plays at left-back and has some 82 caps for her national side. Meanwhile 32-year-old Williams is a much-experienced goalkeeper who was previously with Melbourne City. Another new face is 20-year-old midfielder Malin Gut who has already made 10 appearances for the Switzerland national side. Defender Noelle Maritz had seven years with Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga and is another Swiss international with over 80 caps against her name. Finally, defender Lotte Wubben-Moy was playing college soccer for North Carolina Tar Heels in the States from 2017 to 2019. She has represented England at levels up to Under-21.  

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Previous encounters

The most recent meeting was on the opening day of the current season when the Royals came up against a rampant Arsenal side at Meadow Park. A superb attacking display by the home side resulted in their 6-1 victory, with the Royals’ consolation being a debut goal from Danielle Carter. Last season’s only league meeting came at Adams Park in December with the Gunners winning 3-0 with a goal from Kim Little and a brace from Vivianne Miedema. A much closer meeting was at Boreham Wood a month later when the sides met in the Quarter Final of the Conti Cup. A tight contest was only settled by a late Kim Little strike in the 86th minute. Arsenal went on to reach the final where they were defeated 2-1 by Chelsea. In 2018-19 the Gunners completed the WSL double over Reading, winning 6-0 at Meadow Park and then 3-0 at Adams Park. Royals’ last success over the North Londoners came in 2017-18 at Meadow Park in a Continental Cup group fixture. Two goals from Fara Williams that included a sensational strike from the centre spot sealed a 2-1 win for Kelly Chambers’ side. The teams then met later in the season at Adams Park in the semi-final of the same competition. Goals from Brooke Chaplen and Lauren Bruton saw the Royals leading 2-1 only for late goals from Miedema and Jordan Nobbs to enable the visitors to snatch the tie 3-2. In the WSL that season, the contest at Adams Park was drawn 0-0, with Arsenal winning 3-1 at Meadow Park.

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A few words

Royals manager Kelly Chambers has been giving her thoughts on such a tough test coming hot on the heels of such a disappointing loss at the hands of Chelsea at Madejski last weekend. “The girls went into this week knowing that we had to do better following the Chelsea result,” Chambers said.

“It’s good that we are going straight from the loss against Chelsea into another big opponent in Arsenal. If we were playing someone around us in the league then maybe mentality would be a bit different, but stepping into the game against Arsenal, the girls know we have to up our game and be at our best to compete with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. We showed it when we played both Man City and Man United, the performances were good.”

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Reading FC Women v Arsenal Women | Sunday 17th January | Madejski Stadium | 2pm | Watch live on the FA Player

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Match Reports

📝 Report | Fantastic performance sees Royals draw with Arsenal

A goal a piece at Madejski against Gunners

17 January 2021

First-half goals from Lauren Bruton and Vivianne Miedema see Reading FC Women bounce back from loss against Chelsea with outstanding 1-1 draw against title challengers Arsenal.

In a start that couldn’t have been any more different to the previous week, it took Reading just four minutes to open the scoring and go ahead.

Anna Patten fouled Captain Natasha Harding on the left, forcing a free-kick for the Royals. Emma Mitchell swung the ball in, which was met by Lauren Bruton as she advanced into the box. Bruton flicked the ball on, beating Manuela Zinsberger to put Reading ahead.

Not content on sitting back once they had the advantage, the Royals continued to attack and attack; piling on the pressure and pressing high, constantly breaking into the away-side’s box.

Amalie Eikeland was put through on a couple of occasions before being challenged by the Arsenal defence.

Rachel Rowe came close too, as she dispossessed the last defender and almost went around Zinsberger, before the Arsenal keeper managed to clear the ball for a Reading corner.

Arsenal had flashes of attacks; two shots by Vivianne Miedema were blocked by a resilient Reading defence, but the away-side’s attacks came few and far between in the first-half.

Unfortunately, however, one of the attacks did prove fruitful with just 5 minutes of the first-half remaining. Patten crossed into the Reading box and Jill Roord headed towards goal forcing an incredible save from Grace Moloney, but the ball was tapped in at the post by an opportunistic Miedema who levelled the score just before half-time.


Half time: Reading FC Women 1 – 1 Arsenal Women

Joe Montemurro made a triple substitution at half-time, clearly wanting a vast improvement on the first-half performance. Patten, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Malin Gut made way for Leah Williamson, Jennifer Beattie and Beth Mead, respectively.

Arsenal began the half in much more attacking form than they had been in for the majority of the first frame, but it was Reading that had the best early chance. Jess Fishlock won the ball with a strong challenge and rampaged through the middle, in front of goal. Selflessly she laid a pass off to Bruton, but her touch was slightly too heavy and Bruton couldn’t get a shot in.

The game became a little scrappy towards the hour mark as it was largely contested in the middle of the park with both sides jockeying for position.

Moloney pulled off an incredible save to deny Jill Roord from point-blank range and Kristine Leine made a crucial challenge to halt an Arsenal attack with a well-timed tackle on Miedema.

This would prove to be one of Leine’s final acts in the match, as she went down in agony in the Reading box and play was halted for almost 10 minutes while she sought medical attention before eventually being stretchered off.

With the Fourth-Official announcing 9 minutes of injury time, Reading dug deep and kept attacking, not happy with simply sharing the points with Arsenal after such a solid performance. However, no more goals came and Reading saw out a great draw on paper to title challengers Arsenal.

Full time: Reading FC Women 1 – 1 Arsenal Women

Reading FC Women: Moloney, Leine, Cooper, Mitchell, Bartrip, Fishlock (Harries 83’), James, Rowe, Eikeland, Bruton (Carter 64’), Harding

Substitutes not used: Nayler, Stewart, Skeels, Roberts, Childerhouse, Williams

Goals: Bruton (5’),

Yellow cards: Fishlock (59’)


Arsenal Women: Zinsberger, Patten (Williamson 46’), Wubben-Moy (Beattie 46’), McCabe, Gut (Mead 46’) Walti, Little, Roord, Evans, Miedema, Van De Donk (Foord 70’)

Substitutes not used: Williams, Stenson, Maier, Maritz, Mace, Mead.

Goals: Miedema (40’)

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