Arsenal Women suffer an embarrassing 5-0 defeat by their boys’ U15 side in behind closed doors friendly… but WSL champions Chelsea have no such issues with 4-3 victory against men’s U18s to begin pre-season
- Chido Obi scored a hat-trick as Arsenal U15 won 5-0 against the women’s side
- Lina Hurtig was one player who featured in the friendly at London Colney
- But it is believed several stars were absent from the behind closed doors match
- Four of Jonas Eidevall’s squad were called up by Euro 2022 winners England
Arsenal Women’s pre-season preparations got off to a rocky start after they were beaten 5-0 by the boys’ U15 side in a friendly.
The match – which saw winger Chido Obi score a hat-trick – took place behind closed doors as last season’s Women’s Super League runners-up began preparations for the new season.
New signing Lina Hurtig was one player who featured in what was described by Arsenal as a ‘private’ game at London Colney.
Arsenal Women’s pre-season got off to a rocky start after a 5-0 defeat by the boys U15 side
New signing Lina Hurtig (front) featured in the behind closed doors friendly at London Colney
Arsenal refused to confirm any further details about the friendly to Sportsmail, but it is believed several senior players from Jonas Eidevall’s squad were not involved in the fixture, with many currently on international duty.
Lionesses including Euro 2022-winning captain Leah Williamson and the likes of Beth Mead, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Jordan Nobbs have been called up by Sarina Wiegman for World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Luxembourg in the next week.
Star striker Vivianne Miedema, midfielder Lia Walti and Caitlin Foord have also joined up with Holland, Switzerland and Australia respectively.
Most of the first-team squad however were at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening to see Mikel Arteta’s men side make it four wins from four and remain top of the table.
The match – which saw winger Chido Obi score a hat-trick – took place behind closed doors
Childhood fan Williamson was seen celebrating both goals passionately as the women’s side watched on before heading off for international duty.
Their latest result comes just three months after boss Eidevall told The Athletic he planned to have his team face the boys’ U16s in an attempt to get them ready for opponents in the Champions League.
‘We have to have a good cooperation with our boys’ academy to involve them in practices and internal games, so we can play against something more physical and faster than we will ever play against in the Champions League, in order to set the benchmark,’ the Swede said in May.
Several first-team stars including Leah Williamson are believed to have missed the game
Jonas Eidevall revealed in May he planned to organise more games vs the boys’ youth sides
‘That’s an astonishing opportunity that most football teams around the world would give everything in order to do; to see if we can make our training harder than the games.
‘That means if we’re successful in training, then we will for sure be successful in games as well. We’ll have a little bit more time and it will be a little bit easier.
‘That’s more something to speak to Per Mertesacker (Arsenal boys’ academy manager) with. Under-15 or 16 is usually a good age group where the physicality hasn’t grown so much on all the players. They are a little faster than our players but it’s not impossible to play against.’
Chelsea Women had no such issues though, beating the Blues men’s U18 side 4-3
Arsenal will be hoping to go one better this season in the Women’s Super League after being pipped to the title by Emma Hayes’ Chelsea last season.
The Blues were also in recent pre-season action, with Sam Kerr, Magdalena Eriksson, Millie Bright and Jessie Fleming all playing in a 4-3 win against their men’s U18s at the training ground.
The Gunners meanwhile kick off the new campaign with a tough trip to face Manchester City on September 11.