With a spot in the Women’s Champions League group stage at stake over the next week, Arsenal Women and Ajax Vrouwen meet for the first leg of their second round tie on Tuesday.
The final phase of qualifying will decide 12 remaining group slots, with the winners joining holders Lyon, in addition to Wolfsburg, Chelsea and Barcelona.
Following a week’s delay, Arsenal’s WSL season began on Friday in impressive fashion, as they set out on the long journey towards overturning London rivals Chelsea from their pre-eminent spot in English football.
Euro 2022 stars Leah Williamson and Beth Mead returned to domestic action at Meadow Park, and after Brighton’s Emma Kullberg was sent off in the sixth minute, the reslut was rarely in doubt.
Mead scored two second-half goals after Kim Little and Stina Blackstenius had given Arsena the lead before the hour mark, as the hosts fired in a total of 34 shots on their visitors’ goal.
Head coach Jonas Eidevall now quickly turns his attention to European competition, and ensuring that his side remain in contention to match their run to the Champions League quarter-finals last season.
By contrast with their hosts, after qualifying for the 2022-23 Champions League preliminaries by finishing runners-up to Twente in the Eredivisie, Ajax Vrouwen saw their first competitive match of the campaign back in mid-August.
The road to next year’s final in Eindhoven began with the first qualifying round, in which Ajax got the better of Kristianstad and then Eintracht Frankfurt Frauen.
Having negotiated such an obstacle at the opening stage, head coach Suzanne Bakker then led her side to a goalless friendly draw with Koln Frauen, before their domestic campaign kicked off with defeat to Twente in the Dutch Supercup.
However, their 4-0 league home victory over Fortuna Sittard Vrouwen stands them a good stead on Tuesday.
Arsenal Women vs Ajax Vrouwen head to head
These two teams have not previously met on any occasion and this will be their first meeting in the Women’s Champions League.
Arsenal Women latest home form
Arsenal have recently been on a relatively good run of form at home, having lost just one of their 11 most recent matches. They defeated Brighton & Hove Albion in their last home game in the league. In their last five matches, they have scored 15 goals and conceded just three.
Arsenal 1-1 Wolfsburg 23/03/22
Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea 17/04/22
Arsenal 7-0 Aston Villa 01/05/22
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur 04/05/22
Arsenal 4-0 Brighton & Hove Albion 16/09/22
Arsenal Women latest away form
Arsenal have recently been on a relatively good run of form on the road, having lost just one of their eight most recent matches. They defeated West Ham United 2-0 in their last away game in the league. In their last five matches, they have scored 13 goals and conceded just two.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Arsenal 13/03/22
Wolfsburg 2-0 Arsenal 31/03/22
Leicester City WFC 0-5 Arsenal 03/04/22
Everton 0-3 Arsenal 24/04/22
West Ham United 0-2 Arsenal 08/05/22
Ajax Vrouwen latest home form
Ajax have recently been on a good run of form at home, as they have won each of their five most recent matches. They managed to defeat Fortuna Sittard 4-0 in their last home game in the league. In their last five matches, they have scored 16 goals and conceded just three.
Ajax 3-0 PSV 29/05/22
Ajax 4-1 Montpellier 11/08/22
Ajax 3-1 Kristianstad 18/08/22
Ajax 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt 21/08/22
Ajax 4-0 Fortuna Sittard 16/09/22
Ajax Vrouwen latest away form
Ajax have recently kept a mixed run of form on the road, as they have won just two of their five most recent matches. They were beaten 3-2 by Twente in their last away game in the Super Cup. In their last five matches, they have scored nine goals and conceded eight.
PSV 0-2 Ajax 26/05/22
Twente 4-3 Ajax 05/06/22
Ladies Genk 1-2 Ajax 31/07/22
Koln 0-0 Ajax 28/08/22
Twente 3-2 Ajax 11/09/22
Arsenal Women news
After making a strong start to the WSL campaign, Eidevall is likely to retain a consistent starting XI on Tuesday, with Caitlin Foord starting on the left flank alongside Katie McCabe.
Stina Blackstenius will lead the line alongside Vivianne Miedema, while new signing Lisa Hurtig is available from the bench.
Ajax Vrouwen news
Ajax will field Netherlands internationals Sherida Spitse and Victoria Pelova, who both features for their nation at Euro 2022, and they should be joined in midfield by Quinty Sabajo.
Romee Leuchter is expected to be the lone striker, with the main competition for spots between Liza van der Most and Soraya Verhoeve at full-back.
Prediction and Odds
Ajax Vrouwen have lost just one of their seven most recent matches across all competitions and will fancy their chances of recording a positive result on Tuesday.
However, Arsenal possess greater depth throughout their squad, and can make home advantage pay against their visitors and secure an advantage for next week’s decider in Amsterdam.
Odds: 1 2.20 X 2.00 2 2.30
Arsenal 1-0 Ajax
Arsenal 2-0 Ajax
Arsenal 2-1 Ajax
Arsenal 3-1 Ajax
Arsenal 3-2 Ajax