There hasn’t been as much action on the WSL front over the past few weeks with the break for international fixtures, but we are back in the thick of things again. In the match right after my last Gunners Fair post back in July, Arsenal posted a frustrating 1-1 draw versus Notts County, conceding a late goal in the 87th minute after having taken a lead in the 9th minute through Casey Stoney’s penalty.
The Gunners dominated the first half but couldn’t prevent Notts County from fighting back and gaining a point.
It wasn’t until the Manchester City fixture a few days ago that the Arsenal Ladies really kicked it up a gear. After having narrowly lost to City at Meadow Park back in May (a 1-0) and with a need to maintain their momentum post the mid-season hiatus (seven points from an available 10), the Gunners were quick out of the blocks when Jordan Nobbs scored her first goal of the season.
It was a spectacular lob from 40 yards and showed just what the team was missing with the youngster out injured for a majority of the WSL season so far. This was followed by a strong first half performance where Arsenal maintained their one goal lead. City responded well at the start of the second half, before goals from Danielle Carter (58), Rachel Yankey (69) and Casey Stoney (82) topped off a perfect afternoon at the Manchester Regional Arena for the visiting team.
Player-coach Kelly Smith highlighted the importance of the away win and the positive mental impact of a result like this at this stage in the WSL season.
“I’m really pleased with the performance that we put in from the first minute through to the last. I thought we were outstanding in terms of energy, tempo and desire. It was exactly what I asked from the players before the game. It’s been a long time because we haven’t played for over a month. Our season’s been very disrupted so it’s really pleasing to get four fantastic goals.”
The 4-0 ensures that with 5 games remaining in the season, Arsenal move into 5th place in the WSL, a point behind Manchester City and 9 points clear of bottom club Everton.
Arsenal face Birmingham City away at Solihull Moors’ Autotech Stadium this Sunday, August 31 (2pm KO) for a re-arranged league fixture, followed by another WSL fixture versus Chelsea Ladies at Boreham Wood on September 4 (7.45pm KO). Arsenal have played their London rivals 3 times so far this season, beating them twice in the FA Women’s Cup and Continental Cup and narrowly losing to them in the reverse away WSL fixture back in July (a 2-1 loss).
There is no time to rest as September 7 sees them take on Notts Country again, but this time in the semifinals of the Continental Cup. The game will be live on BT Sport and there will be an FA Junior Fanzone from 12-2pm for all children aged 5-16 years. More information and special offers for the day can be found here.
In other club news, there is a restructuring of the Arsenal Ladies management set-up. Vic Akers will still be very much involved with the club, but not as much on a day to day basis. He has been given the new title of founder and honorary president of the Arsenal Ladies. Ex-player Clare Wheatley will be the new general manager overseeing player transfers, contract renewals and the coaching set-up. She will also play a key role in the recruitment of a new manager to replace Shelley Kerr who left after the Gunners retained yet another FA Women’s Cup back in May.
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back keeping you posted as the WSL winds down and Arsenal compete for another domestic title in the Continental Cup.
Stay safe and stay sane as the dreaded transfer window countdown begins!
Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.