Pre-Match Report

Ladies: Everton v Arsenal - Preview

Arsenal Ladies celebrate
The Ladies celebrate

Arsenal Ladies bring their WSL campaign to a close on Sunday knowing the title is beyond them after a three-point deduction last week.

However, there is still plenty for the Gunners to look forward to.

After the trip to Merseyside, all eyes will turn to Friday’s Continental Cup final against Lincoln and then the return to Champions League action with an intriguing tie against Kazakh side Kairat.

"You need to put more time and effort into professionalism. Other teams are bridging the gap and that's something we need to prepare ourselves for in the future"

Shelley kerr

Shelley Kerr was in reflective mood when she spoke to ahead of Sunday's game against Everton and insisted there are exciting times ahead for this “extremely talented” Arsenal side.

“We've been quite unfortunate with the position we're going into the game in,” Kerr said. “I still maintain that we've been the best team this season. We've only lost one game domestically all season and that's shown how good the team are.

“We're disappointed we can't retain our title and that Champions League spot has eluded us but that's football and we have to look forward. It's just small margins that make all the difference in football.

“There are lots of positives to be taken from this season, we've got the best defensive record in the league and have only lost one game domestically which is a great achievement given the number of games we’ve played.”

Unusually, the focus will not be on Arsenal on Sunday as Liverpool and Bristol Academy meet for a title decider in what promises to be an exciting climax to the WSL.

And Kerr was full of praise for both teams.

“Liverpool bought 12 new players in and are reaping the rewards from training every day and full credit to them because they have set a benchmark for everyone to follow.

“That's the way the women's game is evolving. You need to put more time and effort into professionalism. Other teams are bridging the gap and that's something we need to prepare ourselves for in the future. That's the challenge.”

Shelley Kerr
Arsenal swept aside the Toffees 5-0 in the reverse fixture back in August but Kerr believes Andy Spence’s side will be a tough nut to crack on Sunday.

“Everton have got some real quality players. Toni Duggan scored a hat-trick for England so she will come into the game full of confidence.

They've got some cracking young players who have done really well at under-19 level as well so they will be a force in years to come.”

Kerr also looked back with pride on her first season in charge of the Gunners and thinks the best is yet to come for the team as they approach the end of this “transitional” season.

“I’m still finding my feet a little bit but it's been great to have the time to experiment with the team. There's a bright future with some very talented players coming through.”

Kerr saved special praise for the efforts of Emma Byrne since the summer break and said the team’s solidness at the back has a lot to do with the Irish keeper.

“Emma in the second part of the season has been fantastic she's been exceptional and had a lot to do with how secure we've been defensively. She's an experienced player and a bubbly character.

“There have been a lot of performances that have pleased me and they have been great to work with. There’s still a lot of games to focus on in the near future and we’re thoroughly looking forward to them."

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