Arsenal playing for pride as the curtain draws on title chances

The good news that the Arsenal Ladies returned to
winning and scoring ways with a 2-0 versus Birmingham City Ladies last weekend was
much dampened by the decision of the FA to deduct 3 points from their WSL total
for a charge of ‘fielding an unregistered player.’

With only the
final game to go for the WSL season (an away game against Everton Ladies on
September 29, 2pm kick-off), there is no doubt that ALFC won’t be retaining a
trophy that was theirs for the last two years since the inception of the Women’s
Super League.

The docking of
points also means that the chance Arsenal had to finish 2nd and a
grab a Champions League spot for 2014-15 is lost as well. They trail Bristol
Academy Ladies by 4 points at third and will now need to win the upcoming
Champions League if they are to qualify for next year.

However, with a
Continental Cup final also to play for before they travel to Kazakhstan to play
Kairan
in the first leg of their CL tie on October 9 or 10 (return leg on October 16
or 17), there is much left to play for and it is Kerr’s responsibility to make
sure the squad quickly pick themselves up and focus on what’s ahead. ALFC
general manager Vic Akers reiterates that,

“We
have always prided ourselves on being a well-run club that do things the right
way, and we are extremely disappointed by this decision … Following legal
advice, we will not be appealing the FA’s ruling. We will instead focus our
energies on responding in the right way on the pitch.”

The Birmingham
City game was a tough one, especially considering that they played the final
third of the match with 10 players after Emma Mitchell was shown a red card in
the 72nd minute for a professional foul in the area on Kirsty
Linnett. But keeper Rowlands saved the resultant penalty and Arsenal held on to
the 2 goals lead provided to them by a third minute screamer from Jordan Nobbs
and a deflected free-kick from Rachel Yankey in the 57th minute. The
win
was definitely a boost for Arsenal after two frustrating draws that all but
ended their chances of retaining the WSL title, and showed a worrying inability
to finish chances and present the cutting edge they are well known for. Shelley
Kerr talked about the positive impact of the 3 points in her post-match
interview for
Arsenal.com.

For those interested, Arsenal.com
also has a special feature interview with new
signing Emma Mitchell.
The young Scottish defender joined SGS Essen from
Glasgow City in January before making the move to Arsenal Ladies as part of
Kerr’s joint-first signing after being appointed manager of the club. (The
other new player was Caroline Weir, yet another Scott like Mitchell and Kerr).
Emma Mitchell made her debut for Arsenal against Liverpool in the Women Super
League back at the start of August, and has impressed in her performances so
far, looking comfortable and gelling well with the rest of the team.

As reiterated before, Arsenal
Ladies Football Club still has a lot to play for and look forward to for the
rest of the season and the Gunners Town team would like to wish them all the
luck. Bristol Academy have an outside chance of pulling off an upset in the WSL
title run-in if they win their final game and Liverpool Ladies lose theirs (a
draw would mean Liverpool would win on goal difference) so the final fixture
day of this season’s WSL leaves everything to be played for when it comes to
the two top teams.

Readers of Gunners Fair also have
a Continental Cup final special to look forward to from guest writer, Emmet McEvoy who has previously
written for us, so watch out for that in the first week of October!

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t
Lose.

Anushree Nande


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