Arsenal Bounce Back From Uefa Cup Heartbreak But America Will Just Not Go Away

Mary O'SheaSenior Writer INovember 24, 2008

The last time we caught up with the Arsenal Ladies the feeling was down-beat as they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup 8-3 on aggregate by a Marta inspired Umea Ik of Sweden.

But as the saying goes "you can't keep a good team down" and the Gooners bounced back with victories over Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

First up it was Forest at Boreham Wood and the hosts trashed the visitors 5-0 in a return to form for England's best team.

Arsenal were ahead with only eight minutes on the clock through Rachel Yankey and went into the break 3-0 to the good after a brace from Kelly Smith. The rout was completed in the second half with goals from Katie Chapman and Julie Fleeting.

The Gooners again had home advantage yesterday against Liverpool.

However, this game was a much tighter affair with Liverpool having the better of the first half. The sides went in level at the half-time whistle.

A more determined Arsenal took the field in the second half and were ahead after 52 minutes through Kelly Smith. The English international drove in from the right and placed her shot into the corner of the net, beyond the reach of the Liverpool keeper.

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It was 2-0 on 68 minutes with Rachel Yankey again getting her name on the score-sheet. Only on the field three minutes, Yankey took a fierce shot from just outside the box which bounced infront of the unfortunate Liverpool net-minder.

Arsenal could have added another goal or two to the final result but for some good goalkeeping from Liverpool's number one Nicky Davies.

The result maintained Arsenal's perfect league record whilst Liverpool are left hovering just above the relegation zone.

While there is good news on the pitch, off the pitch there is quite an amount of discontent.

Vic Akers, in his last season as team manager, faces an uphill battle to keep some of his top players away from the lure of the newly-forming Women's League in America:

"I told the players that they had until this Monday (November 17th) to let me know if they were going or staying," Akers said. "If they decide to go they'll have to leave for America in January and that doesn't give me much time to bring in replacements."

Karen Carney and Alex Scott have been targeted by Chicago Red Stars while Boston Breakers are hoping to sign English striker Kelly Smith and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne.

As of yet, no news has emerged as to whether any of these players have taken the opportunity to make the trip to the United States. Until definite decisions are made, these are indeed nervy times for fans of the Gooner Ladies.