With the UEFA Women’s Champions League set to resume, The Equalizer is taking a look at the tactics, players and chances of all eight quarterfinal teams.
Arsenal (v. Paris Saint-Germain)
Few teams left in the Champions League have a clearer tactical identity than Arsenal. Joe Montemurro’s side want to dominate possession, build through midfield, and benefit from a number of outstanding playmakers as well as the finishing of Vivianne Miedema in the final third.
They usually line up in something like a 4-3-3, but there’s almost no point naming the formation given how fluid it is. Offensively, players change positions – the full-backs advance; the wingers come inside; Miedema has license to roam; midfielders run beyond. It’s all extremely flexible, and leads to some beautiful and effective combination play. At the heart of all this are three of the most dynamic, creative and intelligent midfielders in the world: Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs and Danielle van de Donk.
However, for all their fluent and incisive attacking play, Arsenal concede goals. In league action last season they let in more than fourth-placed Manchester United, and Chelsea scored six against them in two games. Miedema isn’t known for her speed or aggression, so they struggle to press high, and their midfield can be quite open.
Verdict: They’ll be fun to watch, but it’s difficult to imagine them winning the tournament with a questionable defensive game.
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