Arsenal Ladies: A Women's Super League review
Arsenal Ladies celebrate scoring against Liverpool, as per Josh Smith.

For many domestic women's teams their season is now finished and indeed the Women's Super League ended last week as Chelsea Ladies completed a Cup and League double, winning the title by two points over Manchester City Women.

For Arsenal Ladies though, their season continues into November after reaching the Continental Cup final; an encounter with Notts County.

Arsenal Ladies finished third in the WSL this season, an improvement on last years fourth place finish but a position which has become familiar all too familiar for Gunners fans in recent years. However, for a squad that's in a rebuilding phase with a mix of foreign and young talent combining, it's only a matter of time before this crop of women under Pedro Martinez Losa go on to greater heights.

Arsenal's third place standing this season saw them finish five points off the pace, and then just three off runners-up which will give the Gunners a great platform going into the 2016 season.

How the season played out

Arsenal's Ladies started the season away to the rising team of English women's football, Notts County, who bolster a range of England's World Cup stars. It wasn't a game that exactly went to plan on the opening gameweek as they drew 1-1, with Chioma Ubogagu scoring a late equaliser on debut to rescue a point. However it was a period of games that started in April and ended after the World Cup in July, where they went six games unbeaten in the league.

It was a run that saw them beat Manchester City 1-0 with Ubogagu scoring again and also a 0-0 draw away to eventual winners Chelsea. Arsenal lost just three times all season but that was their eventual downfall, with defeats coming to Liverpool in July and then to the sides that finished above them. Martinez Losa's team suffered losses to both City and Chelsea in the month of August, a spell that perhaps can be seen as one in which the first division title slipped away from their hands. However losing just three games out of 14 in the season is hugely impressive, even for an Arsenal Ladies team that has rich history.

Chelsea dealt Arsenal a huge title blow. (Guardian)
Chelsea dealt Arsenal a huge title blow. (Guardian)

Arsenal can also look at a 1-1 draw away to bottom placed Bristol Academy in May as a potential game that haltered their progress before the break for the World Cup last summer. That fixture was sandwiched between that 0-0 draw with Chelsea and indeed the defeat to Liverpool. It was perhaps that run that cost Arsenal the title despite their winning periods throughout 2015.

The Gunners did complete the season in good form though, winning their final three WSL fixtures as wins over Liverpool, Sunderland and Birmingham ensured they finished in third place.

Star players

One of Arsenal's star players in 2015 was Spanish forward Natalia Pablos Sanchon who, in her debut season with the Gunners, netted seven times in 13 league appearances. She was the main source of goals for Martinez Losa's squad in a season where not many others chipped in. The Gunners scored just 21 times in the 2015 WSL as another new girl, Chioma Ubogagu, scored six in 14 in an impressive season for the youngster.

Also impressive, but not quite as prolific, was another young forward, Carla Humphrey. She was playing in her first campaign with the first team after making the step up from the Development League at the start of the season. Humphrey featured just six times in the Women's Super League but scored twice. Humphrey and Leah Williamson, both products of the Arsenal academy, are really starting to make names for themselves with the latter winning the PFA Young Player of the Award earlier in the season.

Leah Williamson, as captured by VAVEL's Josh Smith.
Leah Williamson, as captured by VAVEL's Josh Smith.

As for the defence Casey Stoney was impressive as ever, missing just one game for the Gunners in the WSL as they conceded the third least amount of goals in the league at just less than one a game. Among that back-line Alex Scott was consistent as you'd expect, whilst Jemma Rose was ever present at centre-back.

As for the old guard in the team, Rachel Yankey didn't manage a league goal despite featuring 10 times, whilst Kelly Smith's season was cut short before the World Cup with injury. Goalkeeper Emma Byrne meanwhile played nine times after added competition from Siobhan Chamberlain at the beginning of the season.

Improvements

Their 2015 season was a fairly productive one but if they are to go onto bigger and better things then some more creative flair would only aid the side in a team that on occasion struggle to score against the better teams in the WSL.

The likes of Chelsea and Manchester City bolster players such as Fran Kirby and Issy Christiansen respectively, who can make things happen and it's perhaps time for Arsenal, now that Smith and Yankey are in the latter stages of their career, to develop that side of the team in a bid to really push for the title in 2016.

With the younger players that Arsenal have coming through only continuing to get better, then next season has the potential to be a big one for Pedro Martinez Losa and his girls.

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