2017/18 WSL 1 Preview: Arsenal

Arsenal will be hoping to get back among the top two in this season's WSL.

2017/18 WSL 1 Preview: Arsenal
This Arsenal team is shaping up as one of the best in recent years | Photo: Getty Images/David Price.

Arsenal are largely known as one of the most successful women's teams around, and they will come into this season with the aim of adding yet more silverware to a glittering collection. 

In recent seasons however they haven't hit expectations, and much like their male counterparts, have fallen behind Manchester City and Chelsea in the pecking order.

It is too soon to tell whether that will change, but Arsenal have added well during pre-season and will be hoping to do what they haven't done for numerous years; win the WSL

Last time out

Arsenal finished the Spring Series as the only unbeaten team in WSL 1, as they failed to lose any of their eight games.

Despite that they could only mange a third place finish, ending the campaign just a point off eventual winners Chelsea who won the title on goal difference ahead of Manchester City

Ultimately it was their slow start to the season that cost the Gunners the WSL title as they drew their opening two games of the Spring Series with Sunderland and Liverpool. Therefore if Arsenal want to challenge for top spot in 2017/18 they can't afford a sluggish start to the campaign. 

Rebranding

Arsenal are now in their 30th year of existence, and ahead of the new season chose to drop the 'Ladies' part of their name, to become just 'Arsenal'. This decision is based around the idea of modern day equality, and has been seen as a way to bring together and unify both the men and women's team's at Arsenal. 

On a more formal basis they will be referred to as Arsenal Women's Football Club, but where possible will be looking to simply call themselves Arsenal. 

Commenting on the rebrand at the time, now retired England international Alex Scott said: "Going forward, we will drop the term 'Ladies' from the Arsenal name, which I feel is a positive and bold statement of intent, support and unity. 

"We have always been at the forefront of women's football in this country and it is a name that is recognised around the world now."

In/outs

Arsenal's recruitment over the summer has been quite impressive, and with the players they have added there is no reason why they shouldn't challenge for the WSL this season. 

Their marquee signing was that of Euro 2017 winner Vivianne Miedema who agreed to join the club in May. The 21 year old arrives from Bayern Munich with an excellent goal scoring record, and finished as second top scorer at the Euros with four strikes. 

The Gunners meanwhile also signed Scottish forward Lisa Evans from Bayern Munich, who is set to bolster an already strong forward line. 

The main priority for Arsenal was to strengthen their defence, and with the new faces they have brought in it should see the end to problems that have occurred at the back in recent times.

Josephine Henning has rejoined the club from Lyon after winning the Champions League last season, whilst Jessica Samuelsson has arrived from Linkopings in Sweden. Meanwhile Louise Quinn who signed for the Spring Series has agreed an extended contract to stay at the club into the new season.

As for departures, Fara Williams has left the club to join Reading, whilst talented youngster Carla Humphrey's Arsenal career came to an end as she joined Bristol. The club have also loaned out two players, as Chloe Kelly joined Everton and Katie McCabe arrived at Glasgow City

Players to look out for

Jordan Nobbs will be key to whether Arsenal win the WSL this season. She has been not just one of the stand out players in the Gunners team, but also in the league as a whole. She continues to get better and showed that with impressive displays at Euro 2017.

The midfielder is a crucial part of Arsenal's plans and will be looking to show the sort of form that won her the WSL 1 Players' Player of the Spring Series. 

Jodie Taylor's contract ends in December but whilst she is still at the club will play an important role up front. After finishing as top scorer at the Euros she will be eager to continue that run of form when the WSL season gets underway. 

Arsenal's dutch contingent could also be key this season. Sari van Veenendaal is up there as the best goalkeepers in the league, whilst Danielle van de Donk and Miedema's link up play in attack is something to look forward to for Arsenal fans this season.