By Dean White

18th Apr, 2021 | 5:20pm

West Ham Women Expert suggests why Mackenzie Arnold played in midfield in 11-0 win v Chichester

We’re delighted to welcome Michelle Irons as our exclusive West Ham Women’s expert. Each week she’ll be giving her views on the biggest talking points at Victoria Road…

Michelle Irons was baffled by Olli Harder’s decision to play goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold in the midfield as West Ham won 11-0 against Chichester & Selsey in the Women’s Vitality FA Cup on Sunday.

It was as routine as a win as it gets for the Hammers at Victoria Road with Emily Van Egmond (4), Kenza Dali, Gilly Flaherty, Katarina Svitkova, Nor Mustafa, Cecilie Redisch, Kate Longhurst and Anouk Denton all getting themselves on the scoresheet in the rout.

One thing that was just as staggering as the scoreline was the substitute appearance of goalkeeper Arnold, who came off the bench in the 68th minute to replace midfielder Laura Vetterlein.

West Ham Zone’s Women expert Michelle Irons was blown away by the size of the victory on Sunday and was delighted to see Mustafa, in particular, getting on the scoresheet.

While Michelle was slightly baffled by Arnold’s appearance in the midfield, she suggests that it could be down to the fact the Aussie has recently returned from injury and could have been to help nurse her back to full fitness.

“Wow, what a game,” she told West Ham Zone.

“This was an expected win – but not that big. Having said that, I’m pleased with the team and how they’ve conducted themselves over the last couple of months.

“I’m really pleased to see Nor get on the scoresheet, she uses her height really well.

“It’s such a shame the fans were not there today it would have been a great day out.

“This will do our confidence the world of good going into some really tough must-win fixtures to secure our safety.

“A bit bizarre to see Mackenzie Arnold playing in midfield but if that helps her fitness then that’s all good.

“I feel really positive going into the latter stages of the season. Onto the next round.”

West Ham will play Manchester City in the next round of the Women’s FA Cup after they thrashed Aston Villa 8-0 on Saturday.

On Tuesday night, the Irons will take on Villa in the WSL as they bid to distance themselves from the relegation battle and it’s certainly a good time to do it.

However, we doubt we’d see Arnold playing in an outfield role in such a high-stakes affair. She could return in between the sticks though if Harder was impressed by the fitness she showed against Chichester on Sunday.

In other West Ham Women news, our expert has been raving about the potential of this young Irons loanee.