Manchester City go back to Women’s Champions League action with high expectations on Thursday, while Toolbox get reacquainted with European football for the first time in 5 years.
The Gunners are the only English side to win the competitors, and they travel to Italy to face Fiorentina in the very first leg of their knockout tie.
Two-time semi-finalists City start in Switzerland versus beginners Lugano.
” We definitely desire to win it and know we can,” stated forward Janine Beckie.
” Winning the league is essential, that is a substantial one for us, and we would love to duplicate on the FA Cup and Continental Cup, however now we have that opportunity for a 4th trophy and that is something just 2 teams in England can state.”
As WSL champs, Arsenal are one of them for the first time given that reaching the quarter-finals in 2014, when they were knocked out by English rivals Birmingham City.
Both they and City go into the competitors at the round of 32 phase alongside Glasgow City, who face a journey to Russia to face Chertanovo, while fellow Scottish club Hibernian came through qualifying to establish a conference Czech side Slavia Prague.
‘ Gunners feel the ambiance of Europe once again’
The trip to Florence and the return leg in London two weeks later are part of a busy opening 3 weeks of the season that see Toolbox in action 6 times throughout three competitions.
England midfielder Jordan Nobbs, who returned from a long-lasting knee injury in Sunday’s win versus West Ham, thinks it is a “great time for players to step up”.
She told BBC Sport: “We desire to win more prizes this year so we need a squad to do that.
” The truth Toolbox are back in the Champions League, I can’t wait to hear the music when you stroll out and feel that vibe of being in Europe again.
” I want to state we ‘d get to a point where we can go on and win it, but we need to take each video game as it comes and think every time we go onto that pitch that we can keep making it through the knockout phases.”
It is the second year in a row that Fiorentina have actually met a side from England’s capital, with the Italians last season heading out 7-0 on aggregate to eventual semi-finalists Chelsea.
‘ City motivated by early exit’
Manchester City, who were eliminated in the opening round last season by Atletico Madrid after reaching the semi-finals in the 2 previous campaigns, will be the first side Lugano have dealt with in the Champions League.
Canada international Beckie said the tie positions a “huge wildcard” however they have actually “done their research”.
The striker, who is yet to play in the competitors having actually been an unused replacement in the first leg last season before missing out on the second due to the fact that of international responsibility, said their early elimination 12 months ago has galvanised the side.
” It didn’t stain the season but it was frustrating and it is definitely motivation to not let that take place once again this year,” Beckie informed BBC Sport.
” We had great year last year, 2 trophies was more than anyone in England could say. However I believe we have a group of women that can actually press in the Champions League.
” Part of the reason I moved here is so I could play Champions League. It is an amazing time in my profession and hopefully we can have some success.”
In a week that Nick Cushing’s City side smashed the record for the greatest WSL crowd, with more than 31,000 watching them accomplishment against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Beckie said no-one has been distracted from what is being required on the pitch.
” It was a terrific celebration, a remarkable and historical video game for the club that a great deal of us will keep in mind for a very long time,” she added.
” The ladies did an excellent task handling the feelings of a big video game like that.”
” From our performance there are a lot of things that we would like to do better and work on for out next game, and this is our goal.
” We just want to win and think we are a group that must win and dominate teams – that is our mindset.”
Additional reporting by Emma Sanders