Arsenal Ladies midfielder anticipates challenge for league title

Jordan Nobbs, Arsenal Ladies. Pic: TGSPHOTO

Jordan Nobbs, Arsenal Ladies. Pic: TGSPHOTO - Credit: TGSPHOTO

Jordan Nobbs believes Arsenal Ladies are ready to challenge for the league title again after their disappointing slump to fourth place last season.

The Gunners were never in the running for the Women’s Super League crown, which developed into a three-way tussle between Birmingham, Chelsea and eventual champions Liverpool.

The departure of manager Shelley Kerr midway through the campaign did little for consistency on the field, with a succession of temporary coaches standing in until the arrival of Pedro Martinez Losa in August.

But Nobbs feels that the Gunners – boosted by five new signings, including forwards Lianne Sanderson, Natalia Pablos Sanchon and Chioma Ubogagu – can now mount a serious bid for their first championship since 2012.

“We went through four or five managers and I think still getting results and winning the FA Cup showed the character and drive of the girls,” said the Arsenal midfielder.

“It showed what we could do even then as a team and now we’re a bit more settled, we want to be winning the league this year. I think fourth place is not acceptable for a club like Arsenal.

“Hopefully this year can be a new start. Pedro knew the players he wanted, I think they’re only going to strengthen our side and we maybe needed that since last season.

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“When you’ve got a strong front three you’re already some way towards a winning team. We definitely feel we have that – and I think we have a lot of strength on the bench as well.”

In addition to the new attacking trio, Losa has also signed Spain midfielder Vicky Losada from his former club Western New York Flash and Bristol Academy defender Jemma Rose.

Along with Losada, Nobbs – at only 22 – is now one of the senior figures in the Gunners’ midfield and that is a role the England international will relish.

“I think I’ve been known for my talking in midfield anyway, since I was young,” she added. “I love every minute playing with Arsenal and I want to encourage others as well.

“It’s nice to be looked at as a more experienced player – that’s not a bad thing and hopefully I can bring that to Arsenal this season, along with a few more goals.”

The Gunners begin their campaign at Notts County a week tomorrow (Thursday), but the fixture that stands out for Nobbs comes in late April, when they face newly-promoted Sunderland.

Nobbs, who began her career with the Wearsiders before moving to Arsenal in 2010, said: “One of the first fixtures I looked for was Sunderland, especially the away game because I get to see my family and stuff.

“I’m really glad that they came up. I think they’ve deserved it over the past few seasons – but hopefully we’ll still beat them.”