Pre-Match Report

FA Cup: Everton v Arsenal - Preview

Shelley Kerr

"I've said to the girls that there's no doubt in my mind we've got one of the most talented squads in the country so I'm pretty sure that before too long they will get a result that can kick-start the season."

Shelley Kerr's reign in charge of Arsenal Ladies will come to an end after Sunday's FA Cup final against Everton but, according to the Scottish coach, victory at stadiummk could be the launchpad for this new-look side to reinstate themselves as the team to beat in England.

It's been a turbulent first half to the campaign for the Gunners. They sit bottom of the Women's Super League with just one point from four games but have showed signs of their potential with a promising run to another cup final. Two wins inside a week against a highly-fancied Birmingham and a much-improved Chelsea sealed their place in the showpiece for the 14th time.

Kerr's imminent departure was announced last Sunday and the search has begun for a new boss before the season resumes on June 29. So it's one last hurrah for Kerr and the Scot is delighted with the focus her squad have displayed in the build up to the final.

"The focus this week has been solely on the cup final and we want our preparations to go really well"

"We met early on Tuesday and it was good to have a small chat about things," Kerr told "I have to say the girls have been fantastic this week. They're excited and they can't wait for Sunday to come. We've had a video analysis session together on Friday and we've got one more training session. The mood's great and we're ready to go.

"The first couple of days after Sunday's game there was lots of chat about my personal situation but the focus this week has been solely on the cup final and we want our preparations to go really well and to do that you have to have no distractions."

Everton have been equally impressive in the competition this year, beating Cardiff, local rivals Liverpool and Notts County en route to the final. But Andy Spence's side have also struggled in the league and sit just a point and one place above the Gunners in the table.

The Merseysiders are going for their second win in the competition - their maiden victory came four years ago at the expense of Arsenal after a dramatic match that went to extra-time. Only four players in the current squad were involved that day but Kerr believes the memories could play a part on Sunday.



Arsenal go into the final as holders

Arsenal go into the final as holders




"You would think that previous experience would work either way because Everton beat us in a cup final four years ago and some of the girls played in that," she said. "There's experience of winning, losing and not getting to a cup final. All these things help your development as a player.

"Everton have done fantastic in the last few years. Firstly under Mo Marley and then Andy Spence. They produce very talented young players but they have experience as well who have been here before and have played at the top level.

"In attack they're very strong and in Nikita Parris they have one of the best young players in the country in my opinion. She's got pace, she's got vision and an eye for goal. She's an all-round intelligent footballer. They've got experience in terms of Rachel Brown and Jodie Handley so they've got a the right mix.

"But we have got a few that have been there and done it before but it just comes down to who performs their best on the day."

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