Search

Arsenal Ladies must step it up a level for cup challenge

12:15 01 May 2014

Kirsty Linnett of Birmingham City Ladies scores the first goal

Kirsty Linnett of Birmingham City Ladies scores the first goal

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Manager Shelley Kerr knows Arsenal need to raise their game as they defend their two cup titles over the next few days.

The Gunners begin their Continental Cup campaign at home to Watford on Thursday night before facing their European conquerors Birmingham City in the Women’s FA Cup three days later.

Birmingham knocked Kerr’s side out of the Champions League quarter-finals a month ago, but their hopes of glory were ended by a 3-0 defeat to Swedish side Tyreso in the last four.

And the Arsenal boss accepts that, while her team are expected to beat Women’s Super League Two side Watford at Meadow Park (kick-off 7.45pm), they will go into Sunday’s quarter-final tie at Solihull as underdogs.

“It’s like facing a wounded animal,” said Kerr. “There’s no disgrace in losing to a quality side like Tyreso and no doubt Birmingham will come back from that.

“I’m sure they’ll take a lot of confidence from the fact they beat us twice and arguably they’ll be favourites to get a result again. All credit to them – they were the better team over both legs.

“For us, it’s not about revenge. The manner in which we lost was very disappointing and it’s about trying to improve on that.

“Cup competitions have been instrumental in the club’s past success and we want to continue that. We’ve probably been a bit spoiled in the past, when we were dominant and there wasn’t the level of competition there is now.

“We need to work harder because other teams have bridged the gap and what we’ve seen so far in the league bears that out.”

Since their Champions League defeat, the Gunners have been unable to get into any sort of rhythm, playing only two matches in April – a 2-0 FA Cup win over Gillingham and a 1-1 draw at Notts County in the Women’s Super League.

However, that light schedule has also helped them to ease injured players back into the fold, with experienced attacking pair Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey both likely to shake off niggles.

Dutch international Anouk Hoogendijk continued her return to fitness with a run-out for Arsenal’s development team last weekend, although England midfielder Jordan Nobbs remains sidelined with a stress fracture of the back.

“In the second half at Notts County I felt we were back to normal, with free-flowing attacking football, and it’s a pity we haven’t had a game in the last couple of weeks to continue that momentum,” added Kerr.

“But if you flip the coin the other way, we’ve had injuries and this has given us the chance to get players fit, so maybe the lack of fixtures has helped rather than hindered us.

“The girls are really keen to give our loyal supporters something to smile about and hopefully that starts against Watford.”

Defender Niamh Fahey, who has been out for almost a year with a cruciate ligament injury, has now returned to training.

n Tickets for the Watford game are available at £5 (adults) and £2.50 (concessions).

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

8 minutes ago
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he is frustrated that a host of his players will be departing for international duty again after this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Laura Hirai in action for the Great Britain Under-19 team at the ESF Junior Womens European Softball Championship in Barcelona

Like most 16-year-olds, Laura Hirai’s primary concern today (Thursday) is her GCSE results. But four days after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics, when the baton was passed to Tokyo and a new four-cycle began, the teenager is also dreaming about being involved in the 2020 Games.

09:40
Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Shane Gore. Pic: Martin Addison

Filling the well-worn boots of Bobby Smith doesn’t faze Shane Gore – it’s actually a case of déjà vu for Wingate & Finchley’s new No1.

09:11
Hendon midfielder Sam Murphy

Hendon duo Scott Cousins and Sam Murphy are aiming to guide England to their best ever performance at the European Six-a-side Championships later this week.

Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld (left) battles with Crystal Palace's Connor Wickham during Saturday's Premier League clash at White Hart Lane. Pic: PA

Toby Alderweireld says Tottenham’s players are looking forward to testing themselves against some of the best clubs in Europe and playing at Wembley Stadium ahead of today’s (Thursday’s) Champions League draw.

Yesterday, 14:53
Haringey Borough's Nana Asamoah scored twice in Saturday's FA Cup victory over Barkingside. Pic: Tony Gay

The goals are flying in at Coles Park – and Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou believes the new 3G pitch has played a big part after his side scored seven goals in Saturday’s FA Cup victory, writes Dan Long.

Tue, 18:56
Sandun Dias hit 85 for Highgate. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate hauled themselves out of the drop zone again as the weather helped them to secure a narrow victory at Enfield in Division Two of the Middlesex County League.

Tue, 13:54
Jordan Gregory bowls for North London. Pic: Max Flego

North London skipper Sam Bardon is optimistic that victories in the two remaining games will give his side a good chance of promotion from Middlesex County League Division Three.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now