Arsenal Ladies will keep fighting for the title, says skipper
Skipper Steph Houghton insists Arsenal will not surrender their Women’s Super League title just yet despite dropping four points in their last two games.
The Gunners were held to a 0-0 draw by championship rivals Bristol Academy at Meadow Park on Sunday – their second successive stalemate after sharing the points with Lincoln Ladies three days earlier.
That double setback has severely dented Arsenal’s hopes of completing a hat-trick of titles and they are now reliant on both Bristol and front-runners Liverpool Ladies slipping up in their remaining games.
“It’s very frustrating that we’ve dropped more points,” Houghton told the Gazette. “But I don’t think anyone in the Arsenal dressing-room is going to give up on the title.
“It’s out of our hands totally now and we’ve just got to hope that Bristol and Liverpool drop points as well, but we’ll always stay positive until it’s over.
“We’ve got to stay in the Champions League as well, so we’re definitely going for it. Every game we play, we want to win and we’ve got to make sure we win those next two to stay in with a shout of the title.”
Houghton also refuted suggestions that the Gunners are a weaker side than in previous seasons.
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She said: “I think it’s a little bit disrespectful if people say Arsenal are not the team they used to be. Of course they’re not going to be the same team – players like Jayne Ludlow and Faye White have retired.
“They were big players and you can’t easily replace talent like that. But we’ve got some youngsters coming through the squad and in my opinion we are still the best team in the league.
“Unfortunately results haven’t gone our way, but I still fully believe in this squad and I know the management do as well.”
After a slow start to their campaign – including a 4-0 hammering against Liverpool – the defending champions embarked on a run of eight straight victories to haul themselves back into title contention.
The Merseysiders now look overwhelming favourites to lift the crown, with both of their remaining fixtures at home, while Arsenal will attempt to end their goal drought against Birmingham City this weekend.
“People who watched the Bristol game will know we had the majority of possession again,” added the 25-year-old defender, who limped off with a knee injury towards the end of Sunday’s 0-0 draw.
“It’s just about turning all that possession into chances and we couldn’t put one away. I think we’re maybe taking an extra touch when we shouldn’t and not playing somebody else in when we should.
“Things don’t seem to be clicking at the moment. It’ll come – on another day a team will get a battering from us, but unfortunately in the last two it just hasn’t happened.”
Arsenal’s final home game of the season takes place at Meadow Park on Sunday, when they face Birmingham (kick-off 2pm).