Karen Bardsley

Monday 12 March 2018

'The Continental Tyres Cup is a massive opportunity'

Manchester City's Karen Bardsley and Arsenal's Jordan Nobbs preview Wednesday's final

Manchester City and Arsenal, the two undisputed queens of the FA Women’s Super League Continental Tyres Cup, are about to go head-to-head with silverware on the line once again.

On Wednesday night at Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park, the only two teams that have lifted the trophy since its inception in 2011 – City have won the competition twice while the Gunners are four-time champions – meet in the 2017-2018 final.

Nick Cushing’s City arrive as defending champions, having defeated Birmingham City 1-0 thanks to an extra-time Lucy Bronze header back in October 2016.

England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley featured as City defeated Arsenal by the same scoreline to claim the 2014 Continental Tyres Cup, which proved a perfect way to mark her side’s first season since a major revamp of their playing squad.

“Any final is obviously a big occasion for us, so we’re looking forward to having another opportunity to win a trophy,” said the 33-year-old, fresh from representing the Lionesses at the SheBelieves Cup.

“We haven’t played Arsenal in a while and we know that they’re going to be well up for it, as we are – it’s going to be a tough game.

“It’s nice that everyone’s treating the league cup the way it should be treated. We’re not going to treat it lightly, for definite.

“Winning silverware is always a great opportunity to build momentum, especially with how intermittent the games have been with the international breaks.

“It would be a good opportunity to get it [momentum] while we can.

“[2014] was our first year together as a team and we really were not anticipating winning any silverware that year. It was an amazing experience for us.

“Everyone loves winning trophies because it reaffirms what you’ve been doing throughout the season and how hard you’ve been working, so we’re all really excited for that chance.”

A desire for victory burns just as brightly for the Gunners.

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs missed England’s stateside SheBelieves campaign through injury.

The 25-year-old has helped fire Arsenal to all four of their Continental Tyres Cup successes while she also bagged the late winner that saw Joe Montemurro’s side beat Reading 3-2 in the semi-finals.

“I do think the crowd and the fact you can add another trophy to your list is a big motivation,” said the midfielder, who hit a brace in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Notts County in the 2015 final.

“I’m very lucky to already have four Continental Cups under my belt so hopefully that shows that I like to perform under pressure.

“I think it’s always exciting that you work all year round to be the best you can be and then be at a club like Arsenal and compete for another trophy – it’s a great feeling.

“The fact we’ve been in that final almost every year shows how much we love this competition and we look forward to hopefully performing under pressure and coming back with silverware this year.

“We haven’t taken our eye off of the league but our main focus is the Continental Cup and making sure we win that game.

“It will add a lot of pressure to other teams to know we’ve beaten City.

“It also lets everyone know that Arsenal are still a top side, winning trophies year in, year out.”

Tickets are on sale now, priced at £7 for adults and £3 for concessions, and are available via www.tickets.wwfc.com.

The Final will be broadcast live on The FA’s WSL Facebook page.

Comments

Pos Teams P GD Pts
1 Arsenal Women 10 35 27
2 Manchester City Women FC 11 27 27
3 Chelsea FC Women 11 10 22
4 Birmingham City Women FC 11 6 22
5 Reading FC Women 11 4 18
6 West Ham United Women FC 11 -3 16
7 Bristol City Women FC 10 -5 14
8 Liverpool FC Women 11 -11 10
9 Everton Ladies FC 10 -13 5
10 Brighton & Hove Albion Women FC 11 -21 4
11 Yeovil Town Ladies FC 11 -29 3
Pos Teams P GD Pts
1 Manchester United Women FC 10 39 25
2 Charlton Athletic Women FC 11 20 25
3 Durham Women FC 11 19 24
4 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies FC 10 10 24
5 London Bees FC 11 -5 15
6 Leicester City Women FC 10 -3 13
7 Sheffield United Women FC 10 -7 13
8 Aston Villa Ladies FC 11 -12 12
9 Lewes FC Women 11 -11 10
10 Crystal Palace Ladies FC 11 -15 4
11 Millwall Lionesses FC 10 -35 2