With the Women’s Super League season now under a month away and sides well into their pre-season schedules, VAVEL has a look at the potential stars for Arsenal Ladies as they look to restore themselves to former league glories.
Pedro Martinez Losa has added well to the squad he inherited towards the back end of 2014, with arrivals from the continent, re-signing past stars, recruiting established WSL performers and promoting from the Gunners youth setup.
Arsenal Ladies, alike their male equivalents in the past, have gone through a period of transition, as other WSL sides have tasted trophy success in which the North Londoners have dominated within the women’s game.
However, the Gunners improved towards the end of their league campaign last season and sustained success with the 2014 FA Cup. Recently installed boss Losa will be keen to build on the positives of Arsenal’s 2014, and below is the five players that could well play a big part in regaining the WSL crown;
5 – Carla Humphrey:
Carla Humphrey has been promoted from the Arsenal Ladies academy for the upcoming season and celebrated her promotion to the first-team by signing her first professional contract around a month ago. As a new and young face to the Gunners squad Humphrey may be used in a bit-part role as she acclimatises to top-tier women’s football. However, after impressing in the WSL Development League last season with 22 goals in 20 appearances, big things are expected of the quick and free-scoring midfielder. Humphrey recently appeared for England Ladies under-19’s in their pre-season La Manga tournament, and after netting for the North Londoners in pre-season, will look to impress further for the Gunners this season with her sights set on the senior England squad.
4 – Vicky Losada
Vicky Losada is one of two Spanish forward minded players fellow native Losa has brought into his Arsenal Ladies squad this season. Likened to creative playmaker Xavi by her former and present boss, dangerous midfielder Losada arrives having played mostly for Barcelona and a short spell in America with Western New York Flash. Gunners fans can look forward to her supplying the chances for the host of North London attacking threats, as she recorded an impressive assist tally during in time in the states. The experienced Spanish international, at only 24 years of age, will bring vital continental experience having captained Barcelona to a treble of league and cup titles during her time with the Catalan club.
3 – Lianne Sanderson:
Lianne Sanderson secured her arrival back in North London during the winter after seven years away, including a spell at Chelsea Ladies alongside time in America, Spain and Cyprus. After experiencing different cultures and leagues, Sanderson appears ready to help Arsenal Ladies back to the top of the women’s game, alike her first period with the Gunners where Arsenal Ladies won the quadruple in 2007. The pacey England international will look to continue where she left off with the North Londoners having scored almost 100 goals in her last two seasons with the club first time round, albeit pre-women’s super league era. Having proved herself across the world and internationally, Sanderson will be keen to set alight the WSL this campaign as the Ladies top-tier game has flourished in her absence.
2 – Leah Williamson:
Leah Williamson is arguably the brightest prospect of the young-guns this season after stepping up to the first team squad from the Arsenal Ladies academy last season. The hard-working midfielder appears set for a bright future having represented England at every level from under-15 to under-23. Her performances for the national under-19 and under-20 sides last year rewarded her with the England Women’s Youth Player of the Year for 2014. Having also appeared at full and centre back for the club, Williamson adds versatility to Arsenal Ladies alongside a continuing work ethic. With an FA Cup winners medal during the 2014 campaign, Williamson could be an integral part to potential 2015 Gunners success, as she, like teammate Humphrey, will look to break into the senior England Women’s setup within the near future.
1 – Jordan Nobbs:
Jordan Nobbs arrived in North London in 2010 at 17 years of age, having already impressed for former side Sunderland Ladies at such a young age. Presently still only 22-years-old, Nobbs has signed an extended deal with the Gunners as within the past five years has progressed to become one, if not the, key member in this current Arsenal Ladies side. The combative central midfielder has been prolific for the North Londoners in recent seasons and has been in rich goalscoring form during Arsenal’s pre-season schedule. The now regular England international will be at the heart of a confident ladies side ahead of the new campaign, as boss Losa may well look to build his side around Nobb’s technical abilities.
With boss Losa about to start his first full campaign as Arsenal Ladies manager, he has incorporated a good blend of youth and experience into the squad he inherited last season; and it all begins for his ladies side competitively in just under two weeks’ time in the Women’s FA Cup.
Earlier this week the Gunners joined the competition at the fifth round stage and were given a short away trip to WSL2 outfit Millwall Lionesses.
The North Londoners have already run out 3-0 victors in pre-season against their second-tier hosts a week on Sunday, and after the announcement that the Women’s FA Cup Final will be held at Wembley on August 1st this year, there is extra incentive for Losa’s team to progress through to the showpiece event and retain their 2014 FA cup success.