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Hello, Flora here, welcome and thank you for reading this 31/7! I really enjoyed Arsenal's Champions League semi-final second leg against Wolfsburg so this week I’m taking you through some of the best moments, including:
  • Lotte Wubben-Moy’s uninvited dance partner
  • A header so powerful it tips me briefly into nationalism
  • Jule Brand on fire
  • …as well as your standard dose of b!tching and WAG-revering!
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Arsenal vs Wolfsburg at the Emirates

Of course it was a great game of football. Before a ball had been kicked, the fixture had history, high stakes, Katie McCabe, and a record-breaking crowd, many of whom had been poured pints by injured Arsenal skipper Leah Williamson in The Tollington pub earlier in the day.

Arsenal hadn’t played a Champions League semi-final since 2013, when fewer than 1,500 fans watched the Gunners lose to Wolfsburg at Borehamwood.
A tweet from Arsenal Women showing the scoreboard at the Emirates displaying the attendance for Arsenal vs Wolfsburg: 60,063
Fast forward to 2023 and the teams put on a proper spectacle in the first leg in Germany, a 2-2 draw ft. four goals and a spirited Arsenal comeback.

On Monday, I’m sure the Gunners would have preferred to bang in three goals in ten minutes and ride out the victory but I, for one, was glad of the fun of the second leg. And if I can’t see an English team in the Champions League final, you can be sure I’ll rinse their dramatic final game for all its worth.

So here are some of my favourite bits of the match (and some other less interesting bits that you should probably know about if you didn’t catch it).

Silly bodies in slo-mo

Arsenal were fed a spoonful of jitters inside two minutes when the VAR checked for a potential penalty. I had thought that intention was irrelevant when it came to handling the ball in the box, but perhaps at the pitchside monitor referee Lina Lehtovaara felt sympathy for Lotte Wubben-Moy, who was midway through one of the most expressive headers of all time when Sveindís Jónsdóttir barged in and banged her hand into the path of the ball.
Wubben-Moy going for a header, but under the influence of Jónsdóttir's arse, the ball is hitting her hand
Can someone who is good at clearance headers let me know what’s going on here?

Wubben-Moy is committing mind, body, and soul to pelting the ball away with her noggin. Why is there so much arm involved?
A freeze frame of Wubben-Moy's header. Nobody can explain what's going on
Jónsdóttir didn’t win a penalty, but she did interrupt Wubben-Moy’s Michael Phelps impression and force a dab with her arse. Not bad.

Blackstenius is taking us to Eindhoven?

Stina Blackstenius put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute. It was a moment, the biggest ever crowd to show up for a domestic women’s football game getting exactly what they hoped for.


But given the strength of Wolfsburg’s start and the weakness of Arsenal’s bench, it clearly wasn’t the end of the story.

Jill Roord body roll

The finish on Wolfsburg’s equaliser was nothing short of gorgeous.

While everyone charges forward to attack the free kick, Jill Roord takes a couple of steps on the spot, watching reaaaally carefully.

When the ball hits Alexandra Popp’s head, Roord is very suddenly but very calmly on her toes. With her body on a slight angle over the bouncing ball, she controls it, and then you get this half a second where Roord is completely with herself, working out how to do the thing.
Roord controlling the ball and taking her sweet time about lining up a shot
From my sofa at home, I can see Stina Blackstenius and Lia Wälti charging her down, but in that moment it’s just Roord and the ball and nothing else matters.

You can strike a ball on the volley into the bottom corner a thousand times in training but it don’t mean shit if you can’t keep your head in the crucial moment. It’s all too easy to get over excited and spank it into row J.

When I play table tennis with my dad, the worst return I can be dealt is a slow, easy ball that’s asking to be smashed back with so much power that he has no time to react. Nine times out of ten, the thrill of having my lifelong ping-pong nemesis at my mercy compels me to put my whole shoulder behind it, and then accuracy is out of the window and I’ve surrendered a precious point from an opportunity to seize glory.

Sure, points and goals mean more than magnificence, but it is nice to have both, and Roord had a chance to bring Wolfsburg back into a Champions League tie with a very stylish goal against her old team.

But no, she made a solemn promise to that ball as it dropped before her — ‘Baby, I’ll look after you’ — then caressed it into the bottom corner. 1-1.

Give me excess of it

And it isn’t even the most beautiful goal of the afternoon.

Frida Maanum, Noëlle Maritz, and Stina Blackstenius really said, ‘fuck it lads, centre circle to the back of the net in three touches?’

Maanum’s pass cuts out three Wolfsburg players and so masterfully spins back on itself that it slows, falling obediently into Maritz’s stride. Her cross bounces, which isn’t ideal, but STINA is ON it and the ball’s in the NET and STINA is in the net because she loves it so much!
Stina Blackstenius is in the net celebrating and the crowd is going wild. Not for long!
The Emirates goes berserk because Arsenal are winning the tie again but then the party is over as Maritz is offside.

Still 1-1.

Am I upset? Slightly. Did the goal happen anyway? YES!

(Fast forward this bit)

Yeah, and then, ugh, Alexandra Popp scores a front-post header that Arsenal should definitely deal with, and I hate to see it because while I admire Popp’s prowess I think she has a really mean face.
Alexandra Popp. She does have a mean face, this is a photo of it
No! Don’t enjoy yourself, thanks!

Big Jen

Not long after, a stunning Stina Blackstenius performance is cut short as she feels something in her quad and she’s replaced by, uh, Lina Hurtig, which fills no one with confidence.

At this stage, Arsenal would be well within their rights to roll over and give up. With so many fallen soldiers at the tail end of this season, the North London side is not so much an arsenal as a cluster of empty cartridges.

Goals. Goals? We need a goal. At least one goal, or the dream is over. But where will it come from?

Enter Jen Beattie. She may not know loads about goals but, fresh from beating breast cancer, she knows something about not giving up.

Ten minutes after Arsenal kiss goodbye to their hopes of scoring a goal with Blackstenius’ departure, Steph Catley stands over a free kick. She sticks it directly into the mixer and Beattie chucks everything at it, wrapping herself around defender Dominique Janssen, who goes down clutching her back.

If I were of a Wolfsburg persuasion I’d be up in arms about the way the attack goes on with Janssen still hurt on the floor. But I’m not. So wakey wakey babes! Wubben-Moy is fetching the spills and you’ve got work to do.

Alexandra Popp had also thrown herself at the ground in pursuit of Catley’s initial delivery. Unlike Janssen, though, Popp is German and refuses to shirk, getting up to do something about Wubben-Moy’s ball into the box. But despite having been dubbed ‘one of the world’s best headers’ by commentator Lianne Sanderson moments ago, Popp dives and misses 🙁

Leaving Jennifer Patricia Beattie MBE to majestically head home an equaliser. She leaps, connects on the pivot and just like that the teams are on level terms. 2-2.

I started the game a neutral, but I’m halfway to Goontown at this point.

Fuck it, I’m basically a nationalist. Doesn’t it make your heart sing? Fighting in the name of HRH Leah Williamson, two rock solid Brits take the tie by the scruff of the neck, summoning some of that good old Beatz spirit to see off the - no, don’t say it. Nah, but seriously, that second Arsenal goal was a bit Sean Dyche-y, when you think about it.

Right then, I don’t know why I bothered with the rest of it frankly because it is only this one moment that really matters.
Jen Beattie has scored. Alexandra Popp has hit the deck

What the heck is going on? Who is barging who? It all happens so quickly. Let’s run it back.
Beattie celebrating, Popp unwisely getting in the way, the result is violent and gorgeous
Hang on. Popp puts herself directly into the path of a jubilant, charging Beattie? Are you silly?

Hunni, no. Squaring up to big Jen? The lass has seen off radiotherapy, I don’t think she is frightened. If it’s gonna be Glasgow v North Rhine-Westphalia, this weegie WILL NOT MISS.

You really, truly, deeply, thoroughly love to see it.

And so does the wife

A tweet from Amber Rose Gill that reads: 'I've just been told to sit down - EXCUSE ME MY GF JUST SCORED A HEADER!?!?!'
Victoria Beckham can step to one side as Amber Rose Gill is REDEFINING WAG and I’m here for it.

For the 78th minute we go live to Bristol, where Brenda has had enough

It's Brenda from Bristol, being told about Theresa May calling an election and saying, "You're joking, not another one!"
From the restart, Jónsdóttir is tearing away on the left wing with fresh sub Laura Wienroither in pursuit and then, oops, oh, crumbs… Wienroither is on the floor falling in that textbook way with that desperately familiar anguish painted on her face.

Really? Yeah.

Lo and behold, on Thursday morning, Arsenal confirmed that another anterior cruciate ligament has bitten the dust.

This was clearly a massive pisser but the way her teammates flocked to her gave me a discernible oxytocin rush.
Wienroither on the ground, another damn ACL gone. This isn't fair or right!
Get well soon, hun.

So damn close

Toward the end of extra time I was getting pumped to watch some penalties. After all the fun of the Finalissima, I had a taste for the tension. But then, in the 119th minute…

Lotte Wubben-Moy was leggy. Jule Brand had been on the pitch for 18 minutes and is the best up and coming young player in the entire world right now. Can I make it any more obvious?
It's that meme with Superintendent Chalmers from the Simpsons, saying, 'Taking it round her? At this stage of the game? In this part of the pitch?'
It’s a bit silly. As soon as Brand gets the ball, you could see it was going nowhere nice — a square ball, a tap-in, an agonising late winner for the visitors.


You could choose tragedy, or you could get cosy in an alternate reality.

Four minutes before Wolfsburg’s winner, the score was still level and Maanum stood over a free kick in the She-Wolves’ half. Arsenal were ready. Big Jen was keen for round two. Katie McCabe redid her pony, which only means one thing.

After Popp popped up to clear with one of her famous headers, pressing by Wubben-Moy ensured that Pauline Bremer’s clearance only went as far as McCabe.

She thinks about chucking it straight back in there before stealing a couple of yards, going ‘sod this’ and shooting at goal.
McCabe's shot hitting the bar
It was the moment that history wanted, but the crossbar said ‘no’.

What could have been. Maybe next year, Arsenal.

Leeds United Women

What has developmental psychology got to do with Division One North? Leeds United’s season went out with a whimper on Sunday and their manager wanted to talk about John Bowlby’s attachment theory, so I wrote about the importance of bonding.
Leeds United Women players shown celebrating their Plate semi-final win over Southampton

The end of the first season, the start of the next

A clean sheet, a win, and lots of reasons to be optimistic about Leeds United Women next season.

Coming up

  • Women’s Super League
    • All 12 teams in action this weekend and there’s summat to play for at both ends of the table.
    • Arsenal could sneak back into the top three when they play first on Friday night v Leicester City, 7.30pm KO. The Foxes have had a shite season but suddenly won two on the bounce, so they’ll be raring to derail the Gunners. You can watch it all unfold live on Sky Sports.
    • Next Man Utd will hope to extend their lead at the summit with a game against lowly Spurs, broadcast on BBC2 at 12.30pm on Sunday.
    • After leaving it late against Liverpool midweek, Chelsea will look to more emphatically grab a win from Everton in the other Sky Sports fixture which kicks off at 6.45pm on Sunday.
    • All the other games will be streamed live on the FA Player, including the chance to watch some more silky Rachel Daly finishes as Aston Villa take on bottom-side Reading, Brighton host West Ham, and Man City travel to Liverpool for 2pm KO on Sunday.
Rachel Daly scoring a very cool header for Aston Villa against Manchester United last week
  • Final day of the FAWNL Southern Premier season
    • No fewer than THREE TEAMS could yet win the title and a place in the Championship promotion play-off as we head into the final day. Both decisive games kick off 2pm Sunday.
    • Oxford United only have to win away at Ipswich Town to seal the title.
    • But if they don’t, Ipswich are one point behind them as it stands, while Watford also trail by one point so if the others draw the Hornets could clinch it with a win at Billericay Town.
  • Another vintage Bank Holiday forecast with light rain expected in Leeds between 7am and 7pm

Things I'm digging this week


  • New monarch UGH
  • Sam Allardyce could get a £2.5m bonus if he keeps the imperilled Leeds United in the Premier League. Since Leeds are not yet in the drop zone, only hovering above it, someone pointed out that Allardyce could lose all four games (not unlikely) and still bag the bonus.
  • K N E E S
Thanks for reading! Don't forget you can get in touch with me anytime at [email protected] — and if you enjoy these emails, it's a great help if you forward them to everyone you know so they can read them too. Cheers!
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