England stars relishing Arsenal return after international failure

The mixed bag news of last week continues.
Unfortunately the Lionesses were unable to put up any resistance against group
leaders and projected contenders France and a 0-3 loss meant that Hope Powell’s
side got knocked out of the tournament.

They finished
bottom of the group without a win in three games but their coach of 15 years
insists that it was more the struggling form during the course of this Euros
than any broad indication regarding their squad quality of depth.

The team who
arrived in Sweden with an 11-game unbeaten run were unable to click for one
reason or another, and Arsenal’s Kelly Smith acknowledges a need to reflect and
learn from the mistakes so that they can begin the upcoming World Cup
qualifications with the kind of form they know they are capable of.

“We gave it
everything – we did every game … It just didn’t click and we can’t put our
fingers on why … It hasn’t been good enough. The quality is not there at the
minute. Everyone has got to go away and think about our individual performances
and learn from it.”

Rachel Yankey, a
mere spectator in that final game through injury, echoes the same feelings in
her final Euro Championship diary entry for the Arsenal website. She also
highlights the importance of re-focusing on their domestic and club
requirements and hitting the ground running.

“Everyone knew
that we hadn’t been good enough in the tournament as a whole. We made silly
mistakes that led us to getting knocked out. For a team that has so much
quality, it really isn’t good enough. We can’t say that anyone didn’t try or
give their all but France were just better than us on the day and we were well
beaten … But I’ll go back to the gym on Monday, see the physio and start my
rehab programme. Hopefully I will be fit for the Liverpool game.”

This also means
that Gunners Fair will be back on its regular duty from next week. The Arsenal
Ladies play league leaders Liverpool (15 points after six games with a goal difference
of +11) on August 3, 2013 in a crucial, must-win away game. The Gunners have two
games in hand and currently lie fifth in the WSL table with 7 points and a goal
difference of -2. The Ladies are used to being top or nearer to the top of the
summit than they are at the moment and the team will be eager to get a result
in the first game back after the summer break. The squad will see two new faces
with Scottish pair, Emma Mitchell and Caroline Weir. Mitchell is only 20 and
yet the age belies her experience and her versatility (comfortable both in
defence and midfield). Made a first-team regular at Glasgow City (where she
came through the ranks) at the age of 17, she spent 4 successful years before
moving to Germany’s SGS Essen. She also has senior level experience with the
Scottish team (22 caps) and was captain for their U-19s. Caroline Weir joins
from Hibernian where she has been touted as a very exciting prospect. The 18
year old attacking midfielder has represented Scotland at every youth level and
was given her first senior cap last month.

Manager Shelley
Kerr has worked with both of them when she was with the Scottish FA and is sure
of a good fit with the current Arsenal squad, citing them as having
‘outstanding quality.’

“Emma
is strong and physical but technically really good, too. Caroline is a smart,
creative player, with an eye for a pass and a good shot. They’re both
left-footed players, which will help the balance of the team, and I’ve no doubt
they’ll fit in well with the group of players we’ve got here at Arsenal
Ladies.”

Off the field,
the Arsenal Ladies will be participating in a collaborative event with the Hertfordshire
Mavericks Netball Club and Saracens Women’s Rugby Club at the Hertfordshire
Sports Village. The event titled ‘Girls Get Sporty’ will take place on
Saturday, August 17 between 11-3pm and will allow girls aged between 7-15 the
chance to try out new sports and learn from the professionals. Here is the link
for those readers who will be interested in taking their daughters or sisters
down for this event.

Until next week.

Clear Eyes. Full
Hearts. Can’t Lose.

Anushree Nande 


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