Arsenal on the verge of trophy haul capture

It is good news
all round for the Arsenal. While the boys did us proud on the last
day of the season
earlier this week (Happy St. Totteringham’s Day 2013
everyone!), the Ladies were also celebrating a victory of their own.

A 4-2 win in
their final group game versus Bristol Academy saw them reach the Continental
Cup semi-finals. Defending champions Arsenal needed at least a draw to qualify
for the last four and did very well to come back after being 2-1 down at
half time.

Bristol (the
current WSL leaders) on the other hand were already out and therefore had
nothing to lose. Ellen White (25’), Jordan Nobbs (49’), Danielle Carter (54’)
and PFA Women’s Player of the Year Kim Little (82’) were the scorers for
Arsenal while Nicola Watt (27’) and Ellen Curson (42’) did the job for Bristol
Academy. (Here’s
a photo gallery from the match, enjoy!) Manager Shelley Kerr was quick to point
out the importance of not only the win but also the number of goals.

was important for us to win today because we’ve not had any luck in front of
goal. To come and score four goals was really pleasing. Scoring goals is
vitally important for us.”

Apart from
being a crucial match for the Arsenal Ladies’ hopes in the Continental Cup,
this was also a bit of a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s FA Cup final match against
Bristol. The WSL match versus the same in the following week will complete a
consecutive trio of games. If the first match is anything to go by, we can hope
for an exciting final at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium when our Ladies will aim
to win the trophy for the 12th time.

Lincoln and Everton make up the rest of this year’s Continental Cup
semifinalists. Liverpool Ladies beat Chelsea Ladies 4-0 to finish top of their
group and will face Lincoln who drew 1-1 with Birmingham City, while Arsenal
Ladies will play against Everton who beat Doncaster Rovers Belles 3-1 on

You can watch
highlights from all four quarterfinal matches here.

Restructuring of the Women’s Super League.

It’s not just
the English Premier League that will see much change when the 2013-2014 season
gets underway in August (though it is not so much a technical change as a
change in personnel and the start of potentially new eras and reigns). Come the
next WSL season next year we will see two tiers and more teams.

Currently an 8 team single league
without the possibility of relegation to the Premier League (The division below),
the WSL will be expanded into a top tier of eight and a
second tier of ten.
There will be promotion and relegation within these two
tiers, though the second tier teams cannot be sent down to the Premier League
and the governing body will part-fund the teams in the as-yet semi-professional
WSL, awarding  £70,000 to clubs in WSL1 and
£25,000 in WSL2. All competing teams will have provisional licenses until 2018
as long as they can prove to have enough finances to match the funds being
offered by the FA.

This is how the two tiers will
look like:

WSL1: Arsenal, Birmingham City, Bristol
Academy, Chelsea, Everton, Notts County (currently the Lincoln Ladies),
Liverpool and Manchester City. (Manchester City currently feature in the PL and
will feature in the WSL for the first time in their history)

WSL2: Aston Villa,
Doncaster Rovers Belles, Durham, London Bees (Barnet FC), Millwall Lionesses,
Oxford United, Reading, Sunderland, Watford and Yeovil Town.

The restructure is but the latest
development in the FA’s Five
Year Plan
to develop the women’s game in the UK and the governing body has
pledged to invest a further £3.5m over the next four years. This serves their
purpose of making the top-flight even more competitive and gain wider audiences
and support. It also means that it is crucial for the Arsenal Ladies to ensure
that they keep improving, remain as consistent as in the former seasons if not
more and not get complacent, if they are to maintain their considerable and
consistent dominance over the top-flight of women’s football in the United

Our star midfield Alex Scott accepts that they need better
performances (especially better finishing) if they are to compensate for their
less than ideal start to the WSL season (they are 7th after two
games with one point). But she also reiterates that though they aren’t used to
not being the best all the time, they still have the determination and focus to
ensure that their time at the top is far from up.

the manner in which the club has dominated women’s football down the years,
it’s fair to say that this is unfamiliar territory for us.

too, we’ve already had a lot of people writing us off, saying it’s the end of
an era and that our time at the top is up.

have to accept that people are going to draw conclusions from what’s happened
but equally we have to ignore that and focus on ourselves.

First on that
list is obviously winning Sunday’s FA Cup (it would go a long way for building
confidence) and all of us here at Gunners Town would like to wish the girls a
wonderful game and hopefully the first trophy of the year.

I also hope
many of you are planning to actually go to the game (I know I would if I didn’t
live all the way across in Mumbai!). Here’s all you need to know regarding travel
and ticket
details. If you can’t make it you can at least catch the game on television. It
will be aired live on BBC Two HD so make sure you support them in whichever way
you can.

Well that’s all
from me for this week. I am pleased to announce that Emmet McEvoy will be doing a special
FA Women’s Cup feature for Gunners Fair next week. I’m sure a lot of you know
him from Twitter but for those who don’t, he is a fellow Gooner, a sports
journalism student at the University of East London and covers our Arsenal
Ladies for not only but also for Boreham Wood Times. We’re very
happy that he’s agreed to do a guest post for Gunners Town next Thursday.

Stay happy and
stay safe Gooners and Goonerettes! Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.


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