GUNNERS SEE CONTINENTAL AS THEIR TROPHY
ARSENAL and the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup final go together like fish and chips or Lennon and McCartney.
Since the competition’s inception in 2011, the Gunners have featured in the final every year. They have won it four times, with their sole defeat coming against today’s semi-final opponents, Manchester City, in 2014.
The Gunners have been dominant in the women’s game for more than a decade, but that era is certainly over with City threatening to invoke their own period of dominance.
Nick Cushing’s team, with their spine of England players, are top of the WSL 1 table and cruising, with Arsenal likely to finish third at best and miss out on Champions League qualification.
They have already tasted glory
this season, of course, winning the SSE Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium against Chelsea thanks to Danielle Carter’s superb strike.
Carter says the Gunners see the Continental Tyres Cup as their trophy and are desperate to defeat City on their own turf to reassert their authority as top dogs.
“We have ambitions to be challenging for titles again, but if we finish the season with the FA Cup and the Continental Tyres Cup that’s not such a bad season!” said the England star.
Saying it and doing it, however, are two different things.
City have been imperious this term, winning 15 of their 18 matches in all competitions.
They have dropped just four points in the league – with back to back draws against Liverpool – and require two wins from their final three league matches to seal the title, regardless of what rivals Chelsea can do.
Cushing’s team have scored 32 league goals in 13 games, conceding only three, while in this competition they showed their ruthless side beating Aston Villa 8-0 in round one.
Yet Carter thinks boss Pedro Martinez Losa can find a weakness to exploit as the Gunners seek to become the first club to topple City since Chelsea did so in April. “All teams have weaknesses. Yes, City have been very good this season, but we are not going to let that bother us,” she added.
“We have lots of experience in our squad, players that have played in cup finals even at junior level, so that should help us.
“We had the FA Cup final, and that was the biggest game of our season, but this is certainly right up there because we want to go on and win the trophy.”
OH YES: Danielle Carter, third left, celebrates in the FA Cup final