With less than 48 hours until kick-off in the first competitive fixture of the season, Pedro Martinez Losa is making his final preparations.

The Arsenal Ladies manager has added four new players to his squad, while experienced professionals such as Emma Byrne, Rachel Yankey and Kelly Smith will not feature this season.

But the Spanish coach is optimistic that his new additions will be fine additions to a squad already packed with talent.

"I have to say, Kim [Little] especially looks like she has just come back home," Losa told Arsenal.com. "She is a player who belongs to this club in terms of what she is as a player and how she plays. I could not understand Arsenal without Kim and Kim without Arsenal.

"She is just phenomenal in training and in terms of her mentality and professionalism. She is an example to the young ones.

"Heather [O’Reilly] is pretty much a copy of Kim in terms of her values and her professionalism, but also that energy that she brings on both sides of the pitch. She will always give everything and you can never say a bad word about her performance or her effort."

While Little and O'Reilly may be the most high-profile of the new faces, Losa has faith that Beth Mead and Anna Moorhouse will also prove their worth to the group.

"In Anna we think we have a diamond ready to be polished," he said. "She has incredible attributes. She has never been followed by the England staff and we found that player.

"We really believe that she can be part of our future, with Sari van Veenendaal. She is just 21 and has a fantastic athleticism, fantastic professionalism and great qualities. We are really very proud of that signing.

"We think Beth Mead is another diamond - but not one which needs polishing - because she is already a top, top player. She was injured but now as she comes back from that injury she just needs to be a little sharper to be at her best. In front of goal she can be unbelievable."

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17 Mar 2017