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How to watch, summer transfers & league prediction

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Arsenal head into the 2022/23 campaign having narrowly missed out on the WSL title by a single point on the final day of last season.

The Gunners have retained key players and made a couple of additions to their squad ahead of Jonas Eidevall’s second season in charge.

Can they wrestle the WSL title out of Chelsea’s hands and be crowned champions of England for the first time since 2019? Here’s 90min’s WSL season preview for Arsenal.

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Star player

Arsenal have an assortment of world class talent at their disposal, but their talisman is Vivianne Miedema.

The forward is the WSL’s all-time top scorer with 74 goals in just five seasons in the English top flight. Having spent her first four-and-a-half years with the Gunners as a central striker, Miedema was often deployed as a number 10 during the second half of the 2021/22 campaign, utilising her tendency to drop deep and spray passes.

Renowned for her ability to glide across the pitch, her ice cool composure in front of goal and her lack of goal celebration, she is among the best in the world. Miedema committing her future to Arsenal this summer when her contract was up in June was arguably the Gunners’ most important piece of transfer business.

One to watch

Arsenal fans were only treated to glimpses of Lauren Wienroither last term following her January arrival from Hoffenheim, but she could make a real impression this year during her first full season in the WSL.

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The right back thoroughly impressed at Euro 2022 as an Austria side built on defensive robustness reached the quarter finals. Dogged and resilient, she kept the usually destructive Lauren Hemp quiet, and is also an asset going forward.

Prior to taking the Arsenal hot seat in 2021, Jonas Eidevall previously coached in his native Sweden, where he won three league titles with Rosengard. The Gunners boss boasts a dry sense of humour – he spent a February press conference speaking in great depth about pancake day – and is a passionate touchline celebrator.

He narrowly missed out on the WSL title during his debut season in England, and speaking to 90min in February, Beth Mead admitted the Arsenal squad believed Eidevall was ‘building something very special’ at the club.

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Out

It’s been minimal tinkering from Eidevall ahead of the new season, after Arsenal just missed out on the WSL title last term and recruited reasonably heavily in January. Forward Lina Hurtig is a top class addition following the departures of Nikita Parris and Tobin Heath. Keeping hold of Miedema was the Gunners’ biggest piece of business of the summer – although not bringing in a lack of defensive midfield cover for the instrumental Lia Walti could be cause for concern.

Arsenal are the most successful team in English women’s football, having been crowned champions of England on 15 occasions. They are the second most successful side in WSL history, with three titles to their name – most recently in 2019. Arsenal have only failed to finish in the WSL’s top three on one occasion.

2011: 1st
2012: 1st
2013: 3rd
2014: 4th
2015: 3rd
2016: 3rd
2017 (Spring Series): 3rd
2017/18: 3rd
2018/19: 1st
2019/20: 3rd
2020/21: 3rd
2021/22: 2nd

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Arsenal missed out on the WSL title last term after stuttering in January – a much depleted side suffered a shock loss to bottom club Birmingham, and this was a bitter blow to their title chances.

Another season under the guidance of the astute Eidevall should stand them in good stead, and the signing of Hurtig has added greater attacking depth. The Gunners are more than capable of lifting the WSL title this term – but the sheer strength of reigning champions Chelsea could be their downfall, given the number of world class signings the Blues have made this summer.

Arsenal 2022/23 WSL prediction – 2nd



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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

Manchester United may consider a shock bid for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the midst of uncertainty encompassing David De Gea’s future, reports propose.

As per the Telegraph, United are not persuaded they need to broaden De Gea’s agreement, which runs out in June and procures him an astounding £350,000, and could allow him to go free of charge in June.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who was omitted from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the international break, suffered a poor start to the season with a raft of errors most notably at Brentford.

And United are also dealing with a high wage bill that reached a Premier League record of £384million last season.

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The Red Devils announced earlier this week that their salaries have increased by a whopping £61.6m from the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as well as Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane’s arrivals led to a 19.1 per cent increase in their salary bill as well as a net loss amounting to £115.5m.

United are assessing their long-term plans and a change between the sticks can’t be ruled out, even though De Gea, 31, has improved recently and has been integral in the last 11 years at Old Trafford.

That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.

The Everton shot stopper has various clubs carefully monitoring his situation as he will have just one year left on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

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The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.

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Rob Page says Wales ‘will be in contact’ with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s World Cup fitness

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Wales boss Rob Page has revealed he’ll remain in close contact with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s fitness as the World Cup approaches.

Bale played the full 90 minutes as Wales lost 1-0 against Poland on Sunday in a result that confirmed their relegation from their UEFA Nations League group.

However, that’s the first time the 33-year-old has managed a full game at any level since March of this year, while he hasn’t gone 90 at club level since a La Liga match against Getafe for Real Madrid in April 2020.

Wales’ next game is their World Cup Group B opener against the United States on November 21. Before then, it’s vital Bale plays as many minutes as possible in the MLS regular season and Playoffs for LAFC.

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“They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first [World Cup] game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place,” Page said of Bale’s situation at LAFC, where only two of the forward’s 11 appearances have been from the start.

“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes. They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.”

LAFC are level on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union at the top of the overall MLS standings. The Black and Gold have just two more regular season games remaining – away to the Portland Timbers and at home against Nashville SC – before they begin their Playoffs run.

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Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Federico Bernardeschi reveals why he switched Juventus for Toronto FC & MLS

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Federico Bernardeschi has revealed he had multiple offers after leaving Juventus, but the ambition of Toronto FC and Major League Soccer played a key role in his move across the Atlantic.

The 28-year-old Italy international was one of a number of eye-catching additions for TFC this summer alongside compatriots Lorenzo Insigne – who agreed a contract earlier in the year – and Domenico Criscito.

Speaking to TLN, Bernardeschi has revealed he turned down other offers from ‘important’ clubs to move to Toronto.

“I believe that I finished a journey at Juventus. There were various teams we spoke to, and various teams that came forward,” he said.

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“They’re important names and I thank them, but there were little things that didn’t work out one way or another. With Toronto, everything went smoothly.”

Though TFC have continued to struggle, Bernardeschi has made an excellent start in MLS, scoring eight goals and assisting another two in his first 11 appearances.

That’s given the forward plenty of time to evaluate the quality of the league, and Bernardeschi has certainly been impressed by MLS so far.

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“I think MLS has a great future, I think they have very big projects, not only here in Toronto as they’re showing, but for the entire league,” he said.

“This is good for all football worldwide but especially for football and sport in North America. It is beautiful to see and for sure it’s beautiful to be a part of.”

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.

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