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Preview: Arsenal Women vs. Slavia Prague Women - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Arsenal Women vs. Slavia Prague Women - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Women's Champions League clash between Arsenal and Slavia Prague, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Arsenal Women are aiming to progress into the group stages of the Champions League, and their result from the first leg of their second round qualifier against Slavia Prague Women has given them a big advantage.

Jonas Eidevall's side enter this second-leg tie with a 3-0 head start which they gained at home last week, and that has lifted the pressure off the Gunners for this final clash with the Czech Republican outfit.

Match preview

Arsenal's third-place finish in the Women's Super League last season meant that they entered the Champions League in the early stages of qualifiers this time around.

Eidevall's team have surpassed Okzhetpes and Dutch side PSV en route to the final round of qualification fixtures, and they continued their fine form in this competition last week in the first leg against Slavia Prague.

An early goal from new signing Nikita Parris got the home side off to the perfect start and further goals from Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema ensured a comfortable victory for Arsenal.

Last time out, Arsenal faced WSL champions Chelsea in their league campaign opener at the Emirates and the Gunners' early start to competitive football through the Champions League qualifiers seemingly helped the side pick up a vital three points.

All-time top WSL goalscorer Miedema struck after 14 minutes to give Arsenal the lead but they went into half time with the scoreline tied after Erin Cuthbert equalised for the visitors.

Beth Mead stamped her authority on the game with two goals after the break and that ultimately secured a 3-2 victory in the end for Arsenal, who will be aiming to lift the WSL trophy in May.

The confidence Eidevall's side will have gained from that victory on Sunday makes them strong favourites to complete the job against Slavia Prague on Thursday, especially considering their 3-0 advantage.

Despite the poor result for Michal Kolomaznik's side in the first leg, they continued their good start to their domestic campaign on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Plzen.

Tereza Kozarova scored after four minutes during that game last time out and Martina Surnovska completed the job for the home side two minutes from time, making it three wins from three for Slavia Prague in the league.

The Czech Republic side have featured in the Champions League every season since the 2014-15 campaign, with their longest run taking them to the quarter-finals in 2016 and 2019, but they have a lot of work to do to turn around this tie against Arsenal.

Arsenal Women Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W

Arsenal Women form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Slavia Prague Women Champions League form:
  • L

Slavia Prague Women form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Arsenal right-back Noelle Maritz is suspended for this second-leg tie after picking up two yellow cards in the three qualifiers the Gunners have played so far.

With the side already claiming a three-goal advantage, Eidevall is likely to rest players such as Miedema and Mead, who both did not start the first leg either but were used substitutes.

Twenty-two-year-old centre-back Lotte Wubben-Moy came off the bench last week to replace Leah Williamson, but Wubben-Moy could start on Thursday to allow Eidevall to rotate his squad.

Slavia Prague have no suspension issues for this week's tie, having entered the competition at this round of qualifiers, but Diana Bartovicova, Franny Cerna and Kozarova were all cautioned when they visited London last Tuesday.

Kolomaznik only made two substitutions during that defeat in the first leg, and he could name the same starting lineup in the hope that they redeem themselves with an improved performance.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Zinsberger; Catley, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, McCabe; Walti, Maanum, Patten; Parris, Foord, Iwabuchi

Slavia Prague possible starting lineup:
Lukasova; Pincova; Necidova, Bartovicova; Khyrova, Lamti, Krejcirikova, Surnovska; Cerna, Slajsova, Kozarova

We say: Arsenal 2-0 Slavia Prague

Arsenal are expected to complete the job on Thursday and Eidevall will be keen for his side to produce a professional performance to ensure they get through to the group stages with efficiency.

Slavia Prague may pose a different challenge being at home, but the quality in the Arsenal squad should be enough to win the second leg and extend their aggregate advantage.

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Read more about Jonas Eidevall Nikita Parris Kim Little Vivianne Miedema Erin Cuthbert Beth Mead Michal Kolomaznik Noelle Maritz Lotte Wubben-Moy Leah Williamson Tereza Kozarova Martina Surnovska Diana Bartovicova Franny Cerna Football
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