Arsenal ready to begin Cup defence against Gillingham

Saturday 12 Apr 2014
Shelley Kerr (left) won The FA Women's Cup in her maiden season at Arsenal

Arsenal Ladies manager Shelley Kerr insists the reigning champions have left no stone unturned in their preparation for Sunday’s FA Women’s Cup clash with Gillingham.

After knocking Liverpool out in the last four 12 months ago, Arsenal romped to a 3-0 win against Bristol Academy in last year’s Final.

However, they would not go on to retain their FA WSL crown and after a Champions League quarter-final defeat to Birmingham last month they are keen to get back to winning ways.


Arsenal v Gillingham

The FA Women's Cup
Fifth Round
2.07pm, Sunday 13 April
Boreham Wood FC



Southern Division leaders Gillingham lie in wait in the Fifth Round and Kerr has taken every precaution possible to prevent an upset.

She said: "We know that Gillingham are top of their respective league at this moment in time, they are well into their season and they will be a tough opponent.

"I think they won on Sunday against Charlton and they won their previous ties against Preston and Nottingham Forest, so we know a little bit about them.

"We have also had them watched so we won’t take the game lightly, that’s for sure."

They do have the luxury of home advantage and Kerr is hoping to dominate proceedings in front of a crowd that has seen the all-conquering Arsenal of old caught by the chasing pack.

But with the start of the new WSL season just days away, the holders can lay down a marker with their new-look squad.

Kerr added: "It’s going to be really tough.

"We are looking forward to playing at home obviously – playing at Boreham Wood, in familiar surroundings.

"The FA Cup is a fantastic competition, it is one that obviously we have won on numerous occasions and we are really looking forward to the game on Sunday.

"We will try and give our supporters, who have been fantastic over the Champions League games, something to smile about."

Arsenal’s League season starts just three days later, with a trip to Notts County – something that has Kerr purring with excitement already.

"There is probably less expectation on the club now that other clubs are bridging the gap.

"That is not just in terms of talent – it is in terms of finance and resource – so in that respect I think we have to be realistic as a club in terms of how the game has evolved and how other clubs are doing.

"I believe that all the teams, on their day, are capable of beating one another so it bodes well for an exciting season – and that is what you want."


By FA Staff