Arsenal Ladies striker says third place in Women’s Super League is not good enough

Arsenal Ladies' Dan Carter (right) challenges Manchester City Women defender Jennifer Beattie. Pic:

Arsenal Ladies' Dan Carter (right) challenges Manchester City Women defender Jennifer Beattie. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Archant

Arsenal forward Dan Carter admits the team have underachieved this season after their hopes of a top-two Women’s Super League finish were all but ended.

Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to champions-elect Manchester City Women left the Gunners eight points behind second-placed Chelsea with just three games remaining.

The result means Carter and her team-mates can effectively write off their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League – leaving them to play for nothing more than third place in the coming weeks.

It was Arsenal’s second successive 1-0 reverse against City, having been eliminated from the Continental Cup in their semi-final clash one week earlier.

Despite the Gunners’ Women’s FA Cup success earlier in the campaign – when Carter netted the winner against Chelsea in the final – she said: “We’ve got to be better, simple as that.

“Obviously City have had a very good season – they haven’t dropped many points or conceded many goals and that just shows how good they’ve been all year.

“We’ve got to focus on ourselves and try to improve as a club, be more professional in every sense and start challenging for all of the trophies. For Arsenal, to win one trophy in a year isn’t good enough.

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“We’ve got to fight for pride now and keep going to the end of the season but, being the type of club we are, first or second place was the minimum we wanted.

“If we get third place again, it’s not a very good year. I think it’s been inconsistency – the results show that, the games show that and the line-ups show that. There’s been no consistency with anything.”

Carter started alongside Asisat Oshoala and Danielle van de Donk in a three-pronged attack at Meadow Park on Sunday, but the Gunners made little impact on their visitors’ durable back line.

Their best chance was a Jordan Nobbs volley that was tipped over by City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley shortly before half-time, but the visitors took the lead five minutes after the restart.

Former Arsenal defender Steph Houghton thumped a free-kick from 25 yards that looped off team-mate Jane Ross in the wall and wrong-footed home keeper Sari van Veenendaal.

Gunners boss Pedro Martinez Losa reshuffled the front line, but it made little difference, with his side continuing to look predictable and giving away possession too frequently.

City, who saw the game out comfortably, need just one more win to seal their first title, while Arsenal are not back in action until October 6, away to the league’s bottom side Doncaster Rovers Belles.

Meanwhile, Carter can turn her attention to international matters after being recalled to the England squad for their Euro 2017 qualifying fixtures against Estonia and Belgium.

The 23-year-old scored a hat-trick on her England debut against Estonia earlier in the campaign and is hoping for an opportunity to increase her international tally in the return game at Notts County’s Meadow Lane on Thursday night.

England – whose squad includes three other Arsenal players, Casey Stoney, Alex Scott and Fara Williams – have already secured their place in next summer’s finals.

But they are aiming to top the group with a result against Estonia and then away in Belgium on Tuesday and Carter added: “I’m buzzing to be selected and hopefully I can get some minutes and do my best.

“Any game for England is a big game, whether we’ve qualified or not. We need confidence going into the Euros next year so to finish on a high with these games is important.”

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