GUNNERS SEE CON­TI­NEN­TAL AS THEIR TRO­PHY

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Josh Richards

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

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