Pre-Match Report

WSL: Arsenal v Chelsea - Preview

Casey Stoney, a commanding centre back, former England captain and stalwart of the Women's game. However, it would be fair to say she's never been known as a goalscorer - until this season.

Six goals in 19 games, including three in her last three has seen the 32-year-old add another dimension to her game as she enters the twilight years of her career.

"It's a bit laughable really," she told "It's more goals than I've score for quite a few years. I've got to credit my team-mates because they keep putting me in great positions to score but putting great corners in or through balls.

"I've got to credit my team-mates because they keep putting me in great positions to score"

"Fortunately, I've been in the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net."

Her prolific run of form in front of goal has been a welcome one for Arsenal. The Gunners have lost just one of their last 10 since the mid-season break and are approaching the end of the season in touch with the teams at the top of the Women's Super League with a fighting chance of securing a place in the Champions League.

"We didn't win a league game before the break and it was desperate times," said Stoney. "But I think people needed to be a bit more patient and realise that nine players walking out of any team means it's going to be tough to adapt.

"We needed time to get our players back fit. We've won the FA Cup and we've got the Continental Cup semi-final to look forward to and we're making our way up the league [table]."

Stoney pointed out another important factor behind Arsenal's turnaround this season has been the return of talented midfielder Jordan Nobbs after the England youngster was sidelined by a back injury for the first half of the campaign.

"She brings so much energy," said Stoney. "If you look at her GPS data and how many kilometres she covers per game - I'm sure it's higher than a lot of the other players.

"She's composed and she's a winner. She's always looking for the ball and she's got great passing ability. As a centre half it's great because I can always give her the ball and she's able to retain it and get the team moving forward."


Casey Stoney celebrates her goal against Birmingham

Casey Stoney celebrates her goal against Birmingham



The Gunners face two pivotal tests in the next four days. First up is league leaders Chelsea, who currently sit six points in front of fourth-place Arsenal with both sides having four games remaining. Then on Sunday, Kelly Smith takes charge of her final game - before handing over to new manager Pedro Martinez Losa - as Arsenal aim to reach their fourth successive Continental Cup final.

"Every game is a must-win and we want to finish as high as we can," said Stoney. Chelsea tomorrow night and we've got a semi-final on Sunday.

"We know from the last game they [Chelsea] will provide us a very physical test. We know we're going to face up against that but we've beaten them twice this season and we want to make it three out of four.

"We've tightened up at the back and we're winning games now. I think if we finish the way we've been going recently then I'll look back on the season with really good memories."

You can follow live tweets from tonight's game at Meadow Park from the @ArsenalLadies account, kick-off 7.45pm.

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