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Anniversary silver in our sights

The Gunners are goal-hungry and want the title, says star Jordan Nobbs

21 September, 2017 — By Catherine Etoe

On the hunt for silverware: Arsenal’s star midfielder Jordan Nobbs and Spurs skipper Jenna Schillaci with the two WSL trophies. PHOTO: CATHERINE ETOE

“THIS year is our year!” Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs has declared ahead of the new FA Women’s Super League 1 season.

The most successful club in the history of the women’s game returns to competitive action on Sunday when Arsenal host Birmingham City in the FA WSL 1.

A good 43 major trophies have been carried aloft by Arsenal players in the three decades since the club was founded by legendary men’s team kit man Vic Akers.

Only two of those trophies were added to the tally in the last three seasons, though, with the competitiveness of the elite league having kicked on since Arsenal’s all-conquering days.

But star midfielder Nobbs says the squad is the most competitive yet under Pedro Martinez Losa, manager since 2014. And she expects the Gunners to shine in their 30th anniversary year.

“We’ve brought in some really experienced and talented players,” the 24-year-old Gunners star told the New Journal.

“We want to be winning trophies and I want to be at this club and bringing back silverware.

“Our aim is to win the league and we are going to have to push ourselves to the limit. But I truly believe, given the players we’ve got, that this year is our year. We’ve got a young thriving fresh team that want to win trophies.”

Two-time WSL champions Arsenal finished third behind Chelsea and Man City in the 2017 Spring Series, an interim league before the switch of the WSL to a winter format.

Champions Chelsea, managed by Camden-born coach Emma Hayes, and City, have become the clubs to beat in the modern WSL era and both have strengthened in the off-season.

Arsenal have not been left behind, however, bagging one of the best strikers in Europe in 21-year-old Euro 2017 champion Vivianne Miedema.

“Our front line is frightening,” added Nobbs. “We’ve got six top players who like to score goals and it’s a tough ask for Pedro to pick one but it just shows the competitiveness and how far we want to go as a club.”

Arsenal’s defence has been bolstered too, with the arrival of Sweden international and Olympic silver medallist Jessica Samuelsson and return of German Olympic champion and three-time Champions League winner Josy Henning.

Add to that established Gunners and Miedema’s fellow Euro 2017 winners Sari van Veenendaal, Danielle van de Donk and Dominique Janssen, plus Scotland winger Lisa Evans, and Arsenal look in rude health.

As also do FA WSL1 Players’ Player of the Year Nobbs and 31-year-old Euro 2017 Golden Boot winner Jodie Taylor.

They were both on target for England in a 6-0 World Cup qualifier drubbing of Russia on Tuesday. “For me, the year has gone up, building mom­entum and making a step in the right direction and hopefully I can carry that on into the league,” Taylor told us. “Pre-season has been great, tough, but we’re gelling well as a team.”

The new WSL season will also see Tottenham Hotspur in action for the first time. Spurs won promotion to WSL 2 in May, and will face Durham away on Sunday.

Arsenal kick off at Meadow Park on Sunday against Birmingham City at 2pm. For more info visit: www.FAWSL.com

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