Along with nine other teams, Arsenal Ladies will compete in a one-off transitional competition – The FA WSL Spring Series. This is because next season’s WSL (2017-18) will be played through the winter, running from September to May. The FA WSL Spring Series involves WSL1 teams playing once against each team in their league. As this competition is a one-off, there will be no relegation or promotion.
Story of Last Season
Last season was fairly successful for Arsenal Ladies. They won the FA Cup at Wembley after beating Chelsea Ladies thanks to a superb strike from Danielle Carter in the 18th minute. This was the 14th time they had won the trophy and it was in front of a record crowd of 32,912 people. The Gunners finished their WSL campaign on a high with a 5-3 win over Liverpool in which Dan Carter scored twice. They were 3rd behind winners Manchester City and runners-up Chelsea.
Kim Little: The Gunners resigned midfielder Kim Little on a long-term contract from Seattle Reign. Kim is one of the best players in the women’s game. She has won countless awards such as BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2016 and the first-ever PFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2013. She won 11 major trophies during her first spell with Arsenal Ladies and will no doubt be looking to add to that tally in the coming seasons.
Heather O’Reilly: World Cup winner Heather O’Reilly has also joined Arsenal Ladies. She is a very experienced midfielder and the US Women’s National Team’s eighth highest-capped player of all-time with 231 caps. Heather is a world class player and will make a huge difference during her time at the club. Her experience will be invaluable to the younger members of the squad who will learn a lot from being around her.
Beth Mead: Striker Beth Mead was signed from Sunderland Ladies. At the age of just 21, Beth scored a stunning 77 goals in 78 appearances for her former club. Beth also has experience on the international stage with England. She has played for her country since the age of 15 but is yet to be called up for the senior side. She hopes that joining Arsenal Ladies will help her to achieve her dream of becoming part of the senior England squad.
Anna Moorhouse: Arsenal Ladies signed goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse from Doncaster Belles. Following the departure of Emma Byrne, Moorhouse will join Sari Van Veenendaal in the first team squad. Moorhouse is a strong, commanding keeper and at the age of 21, she has plenty of time to develop.
Alex Scott: Alex Scott has seen it all at Arsenal Ladies. This is her third spell at the club. She returned after a move to Boston Breakers. Scott is experienced both at club and international level and has won over 100 caps for her country. The Arsenal Ladies captain is currently out with a calf injury she picked against France during the SheBelieves Cup in March. She has been named in the squad for the Women’s Euro 2017 and recently returned to training. Scott is one of Arsenal most important players and she made 14 FA WSL 1 appearances last season, starting all of them.
Jordan Nobbs: Jordan Nobbs is part of England’s squad for the Women’s Euro 2017 and she is fully deserving of her place. The talented midfielder scored four goals in 14 FA WSL 1 appearances during the last campaign. Nobbs often produces stunning goals from long range, like her 25-yard strike against France in the SheBelieves Cup. Nobbs plays a key role in the team and was named Women’s Player of the Year at the 2017 London Football Awards.
Dan Carter: Dan Carter can feel hard done by not to be included in Mark Sampson’s England squad for the Women’s Euro 2017. Her first two caps for England came against Estonia and she scored hat-tricks in both matches. Carter scored six goals in 13 FA WSL 1 appearances last season as well as the winner in the Women’s FA Cup Final. This disappointment should spur Carter on in the Spring Series to show Mark Sampson how much her goal scoring prowess will be missed at the tournament.
Pedro Martinez Losa has been in charge of Arsenal Ladies since September 2014. During his time at the club, the Spanish coach has won the FA Women’s Cup and the FA WSL Continental Cup. The major trophy that has evaded him so far is the FA WSL title. Just like his team, Losa will be determined to put that right this season and guide Arsenal Ladies to FA WSL glory.
Arsenal Ladies kick off their FA WSL Spring Series campaign against Notts County Ladies. They were unbeaten against Notts County last season (W3, D1). Notts County finished sixth in FA WSL 1 with 16 points from 16 games. Jess Clarke who scored five goals in 15 league appearances for Notts last season has joined Liverpool which is a huge loss for the Lady Pies. Both teams will want to get their season off to the best possible start but Arsenal should claim the three points.
Which matches will be shown on TV?
One of the most exciting things about the FA WSL Spring Series is the amount of coverage it will receive. These are currently the Arsenal fixtures which will be broadcast on television and/or online:
Sunderland v Arsenal (Sunday 30th April)
Broadcast on: BBC Sport website
Chelsea v Arsenal (Wednesday 17th May)
Kick-off: 7.30 pm
Broadcast on: Chelsea FC website
Arsenal v Birmingham City (Saturday 20th May)
Broadcast on: BBC Sport website
Manchester City v Arsenal (Sunday 28 May)
Broadcast on: BT Sport and BBC Radio 5Live Sports Extra