No Mead, no Miedema, no Williamson: Arsenal reaching the Women's Champions League final would be a miracle - but don't be shocked if it happens
When Arsenal visited two-time European champions Wolfsburg in the first leg of their Women's Champions League semi-final last weekend, they did so without Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Leah Williamson, Kim Little, Caitlin Foord and Lina Hurtig.
Due to registration restrictions, the Gunners' bench featured only two senior outfield players, sat alongside two goalkeepers and four academy products - the latter group boasting just 61 minutes of senior competitive experience between them.
And, to make the situation even more complicated, Arsenal were 2-0 down inside 24 minutes.
But this is a team that has been defying the odds all season. They spent the first half of the campaign without their first-choice centre-back duo, Williamson and Rafaelle, but still managed to top a Champions League group that contained the eight-time European champions, Lyon.
The Gunners have been without Mead, the 2022 Ballon d'Or runner-up, and Miedema, the Women's Super League's all-time top scorer, since before Christmas. Yet, they would lift their first major trophy in four years in March, beating Chelsea 3-1 in the Continental Cup final despite conceding within the first 98 seconds.
So, when they went 2-0 down in Germany, they didn't fret. Instead, they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and pulled the game back to secure a 2-2 result.
On Monday, they welcome Wolfsburg to the Emirates Stadium knowing that a win would take them into the Women's Champions League final for the first time since 2007.
With all the setbacks they've had, just how on earth do they keep doing it?