WCL: Arsenal Ladies v Lyon - Match Preview

Pre-Match Report

WCL: Arsenal Ladies v Lyon - Match Preview

By Nick Teale

Two goals down from the first leg of their Women's Champions League Semi Final, Arsenal Ladies have it all to do if they are to book a place in May’s London Final.
Lotta Schelin twice beat the Gunners' defence early in last weekend's trip to Lyon and, though the visitors were much improved in the second half, Laura Harvey's side failed to register an away goal.
The manager welcomes back Gilly Flaherty and Niamh Fahey from suspension for the second leg at Boreham Wood on Saturday but remains without Jayne Ludlow who is suffering from an Achilles injury.
Since losing in France last weekend the Gunners have beaten Chelsea in the opening match of the new Women's Super League. They've also found time to reflect on the game in Lyon and captain Faye White believes the team have learnt from the mistakes they made.
"In the first leg we started off slow and allowed Lyon too much time," she told Arsenal.com. "We were a bit disorganised in allowing them the chances from which they scored.
"For the first 20 minutes we were under pressure and struggled to get into the game. I think as the game went on we improved and got into the game.
"We were a lot more organised as the game went on and we challenged them a bit more in the second half and though we had quite a few corners we struggled to create an opening.
"It was a really good, competitive, fast game in front of a massive crowd, which would have helped them because it was a hostile crowd."
Arsenal will be hoping the crowd plays a part once again on Saturday and White believes playing the second leg at home could work in the Gunners' advantage.
"We do like playing at Boreham Wood," she said. "We have often had games where we have pushed quite hard at this level and at this stage of the competition.
"I do think, and it showed in the second half of the first leg, that if we are compact and pressure them early then they have a weakness in dealing with our speed up front. I think it will be a different game at home.
"We know it is going to be a hard game, they might have been seen as favourites in the first game and now they have a 2-0 lead.
"They are able to cope with the occasion, they have strength in depth and they have the ability to grind out a game. They are a very strong team who have got to this level before.
"We have to start brighter then we did in the first leg. We have nothing to lose, we know that, we just have to keep tight, concentrate at the back, give nothing away and hopefully our forwards can perform like they have been doing.
"We have shown we have the character when we need to dig in and really battle and pull things back, so that's a positive for us."
Alongside the experience of players like White, Ciara Grant and Katie Chapman, Arsenal have young stars such as Kim Little, Danielle Carter and Jordan Nobbs. White believes it is a good blend.
"The additions we have made to our squad this season - Nobbs, Steph Houghton and Ellen White - are having their first experience of the Women's Champions League," she explained.
"People like Little and Carter have been around with us in previous seasons and have experience at this level and know what it is all about.

"For the likes of Houghton and Ellen White it is their first experience of European football at club level but they are more than capable because they have played on the international stage."

Saturday's game kicks off at 3pm. Click here for ticket information

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