By Nik Brumsack
Steph Houghton insists Arsenal Ladies are taking nothing for granted despite standing on the brink of retaining their Women’s Super League title.
Laura Harvey’s team are six points ahead of second-placed Birmingham with just two games to play, and will become champions if they avoid defeat against Doncaster Rovers Belles next Sunday, or if the Blues fail to win their game against Bristol Academy.
And Houghton wants to avoid a potentially tricky final game at Birmingham by ensuring the league is won at the first possible opportunity, in front of the ESPN cameras at Meadow Park.
“It’s really important we don’t take our eye off the ball,” Houghton told Arsenal.com.
“It would be nice to go and get three points against Doncaster, but we know it’s going to be a tough test.
“To do it [win the league] at our home ground and lift the trophy in front of our fans who have been really supportive is something that you want to do. Hopefully we do that on Sunday.”
Before the game against Doncaster, Arsenal travel to Spain to take on Barcelona in the Champions League round of 32.
That fixture will be the second in a spell of six in just 17 days, and while she is looking forward to the tie, Houghton is aware that fixture congestion will force her manager to rotate her squad.
“Playing in the Champions League is a highlight of your career and to play against Barcelona is going to be something special,” Houghton said.
“It’s going to be exhausting playing so often in such a short space of time. Laura Harvey knows she’s going to have to rotate the squad and give players a bit of a rest. We’ve got strength and depth in the squad - whoever plays will do a job.”
Houghton has enjoyed a memorable year, scoring three times for Great Britain during the Olympics, and helping England to qualify for next summer’s European Championships in Sweden.
Now, with Arsenal still competing on three fronts, the versatile defender wants to ensure she ends her impressive season with as much silverware as possible.
“You come to Arsenal to win trophies - to win the league and the league cup, as well as the Champions League, which is something we’re aiming for,” she said.
“We’ve got one hand on the league trophy and we need to finish the job against Doncaster next week. The whole squad is looking forward to it and hopefully we can end the season unbeaten.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source