Pre-Match Report

Ladies: Birmingham v Arsenal - Preview

Alex Scott
Alex Scott

Tonight marks the start of a new era for Arsenal Ladies.

Shelley Kerr's side embark on their Champions League quarter-final tie against Birmingham City with as many as six additions to their squad after a winter of wholesale changes.

Out went Kim Little, Steph Houghton, Gilly Flaherty, Katie Chapman, Gemma Davison and Ellen White while in came Casey Stoney, Siobhan Chamberlain, Anouk Hoogendijk, Christie Murray, Yukari Kinga and Shinobu Ohno.

Before the Gunners begin the business of trying to regain their WSL title, they have the chance to reach the last four of the Champions League and new vice-captain Alex Scott thinks there is a freshness in the squad that will stand them in good stead for the season ahead.

"I'd love to get another final, obviously we were there in 2007 and there's so many good memories"

Alex Scott

"I think the new signings are great," Scott told "It's definitely a new-look Arsenal but I think the players that have come in have a lot of experience.

"We've got Casey Stoney who has a lot of experience and the two Japanese players bring something different to the team. They've won the World Cup so they've got invaluable experience in that sense. Going forward the team looks really strong this season.

"Already in training you can see their quality. The Japanese are really technical players with a short, sharp passing game. In training they pick out passes for fun. They've really livened up training and have bought a different element to the team."

It's been a busy off-season for the 29-year-old Scott. After signing a new contract with the Club in January, she played a major role in leading England to the final of the Cyprus Cup where they were beaten 2-0 by France. But it's not just international duty which has been keeping the defender occupied.

Alex in action for England at the Euros in Sweden

Alex in action for England at the Euros in Sweden

"I've been doing some charity work in the off-season," she explained. "I went to Brazil with Street Child World Cup which was a really good experience. I'm an ambassador for that charity so it was just good to get over to Brazil ahead of the World Cup and play football with the street children."

But tonight's first leg at St. Andrew's is at the forefront of Scott's mind now. She is expecting a tough encounter against David Parker's team but is confident Arsenal's experience in European competition will give them the upper hand.

"It's the quarter-finals so anything can happen," she said. "I expect it to be really competitive and physical in both legs but hopefully our technical abilities will come through and we can qualify at the end.

"I think that's where we've got a leg up over Birmingham. We've been in the Champions League at this stage a few times before so we might have the edge in terms of being patient and not rushing things. Having the away leg first will give us a boost because if we can take that into the home leg.

"I'd love to get another final, obviously we were there in 2007 and there's so many good memories. We all still talk about it. It's going to be hard but it's one game at a time so at the moment we're just looking forward to trying to get into the semi-final stages and anything can happen from there."

We will have live tweets from the first leg at St. Andrew's Stadium from the @ArsenalLadies account.

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