Pre-Match Report

Arsenal Ladies v Rayo Vallecano - Preview

By Chris Harris

A goalless draw would be enough to take Arsenal Ladies into the last eight of the Women's Champions League on Wednesday but Laura Harvey expects nothing of the sort.

The Ladies manager saw her team control the first leg against Rayo Vallecano last week but they squandered a host of chances to put the tie to bed. Instead Arsenal left with a 1-1 draw and the knowledge that a clean sheet at Meadow Park would see them through, but Harvey will not encourage a negative approach in the second leg.

"Our mentality never changes - we just want to win every game we play," she told

"Wednesday will be no different, we won't go for anything else but the victory and we will live and die by that. If you sit back against a team like Rayo and give them time and space to play, that's when they can be most dangerous. It's probably more detrimental to try and hold on to what we have.

"We know the quality that they possess and if you let them play they will hurt you. If you can put them under pressure, like a lot of teams, you give yourself the best chance of beating them. That's what we did last week and we created so many chances the score could have been a lot more in our favour."

Last year's meeting with Rayo is still fresh in Harvey's mind and no wonder. Arsenal hit back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit to lead 3-2 on aggregate only to concede a potentially fatal away goal before Katie Chapman's last-gasp winner took the Gunners through.

Harvey's memories of that encounter have fed her frustration over last week's missed opportunities in Spain but she took comfort from her team's improved performance against Rayo this year.

"We played a lot better last week than we did a year before but we just didn't take our chances," she said. "The goalkeeper for Rayo had an exceptional game and a bit of poor finishing from us means the game is still in the balance.

"We wanted to make the tie safe and as a group we came away disappointed. It was for completely different reasons this time because 12 months ago we didn't create many chances and deserved to be beaten. This year we created a lot and played really well but couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. Sometimes it's the fine details that make the difference in those types of games.

"But it's a big plus that we know we can create chances against them and we will take that into Wednesday's game. That's the great thing about the Champions League - if something doesn't go right in the first leg you can put it right in the second leg. It has made us even more determined to get ourselves into the next round.

"We've taken one step there by getting the away goal, now we want to make sure we get through comfortably. We don't really want a last-minute victory like last year but, of course, if that's how it works out then we'll take it."

Faye White and Julie Fleeting have been ruled out of the second leg through injury but otherwise Harvey has a full squad to choose from.

"We've had to deal with Julie and Faye not being available for large chunks of this year and we manage quite well," she said. "We know what we need to do when we don't have those players around and we just need to go for it really."

The second leg will take place at Boreham Wood FC on Wednesday, November 9, kick-off 2pm. Entry to the game is FREE.

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