Plenty of positives this season, says Arsenal Ladies star
PUBLISHED: 07:29 29 November 2013
Arsenal Ladies skipper Steph Houghton says the club can be pleased with their achievements last season despite failing to retain the league title.
Houghton helped the Gunners to win both of the domestic cup competitions, as well as reaching the last four of the Champions League – offset by their third-place finish in the FA Women’s Super League.
The club are also through to the Champions League quarter-finals for 2014, where they will take on Birmingham City Ladies in an all-English clash next March.
Defender Houghton, who has been with the Gunners since 2010, said: “Arsenal FC’s all about winning trophies and that’s what we set out to do every season.
“Of course we were disappointed not to win the league – it was one of those seasons where we just didn’t have that clinical finish in some games, or didn’t defend as well as we should have done.
“We’ve come away with two trophies, the FA Cup and the Continental Cup, and qualified for the Champions League semi-finals, which people do forget. So we’ve got to look back on that as a successful season.
“The Champions League’s where everyone wants to play and being in the quarter-finals again is a real achievement for the club. Birmingham’s a tie that we’ll be looking forward to and looking to win.”
The 25-year-old was speaking after the annual FA Women’s Football Awards in London, where she picked up Arsenal’s only accolade – the Goal of the Season award.
Houghton topped a shortlist of five with her dipping 25-yard strike to beat England team-mate Karen Bardsley and wipe out Arsenal’s 1-0 deficit against Lincoln Ladies in May.
“At the time, I think I hit the shot out of frustration, really,” she recalled.
“We’d been dominant for the whole game, but they’d scored on the counter-attack and left us 1-0 down.
“It was one of those things where I just thought I had to hit it, thankfully it went in and to score a goal like that against England’s number one made it even more special.”
Houghton and her team-mates are now enjoying some time off before they return for pre-season training in the new year, with their Champions League tie due to take place in March.
Birmingham will have home advantage in the first leg, with the winners going through to meet either Swedish side Tyreso FF or Neulengbach of Austria in the last four.