This week, Arsenal and England star Alex Scott talks about the Gunners’ shock exit from the FA Cup, Sunday’s Women’s Super League clash with Liverpool, and presenting an award at the inaugural Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation awards...
To say I’m devastated about Thursday’s FA Women’s Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea would be an understatement.
We call the competition “our baby” at Arsenal. After all, we’ve been in the final for the last six years running and won it a record 11 times — so to go out at this stage is bitterly disappointing.
We beat Chelsea in the league just a week ago and we were expected to win again. We were meant to play the Cup semi-final last Sunday, but it was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, so we had a long wait for this match to come around.
That’s no excuse though, even if it’s hard to put your finger on what went wrong. For me, I think they changed their gameplan from the league defeat and we have to be honest with ourselves and say that we just didn’t step up to the challenge.
Of course, as much as we have to evaluate our own performances, we must also give huge credit to Chelsea and especially their goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill.
I think Sarah played the best game of her career. We attacked them throughout the 90 minutes and she kept her side in the game with some amazing saves.
I had a couple of shots where they were deflected and she was going one way and then all of a sudden she re-adjusted to make the save. She put one onto the crossbar and they cleared another off the line. It’s a cliche, but it was just one of those days.
I hope Sarah gets to play in the final now. She’s not usually their starting keeper, but she’s shown she’s a top player and has as much talent as the number one. She was at Arsenal as a youngster too and for her to win against her former team is great for her.
If there is a positive to take from the defeat it’s that this shows how the women’s game is improving in this country.
There are good teams throughout the league now. Everyone’s used to seeing Arsenal in the finals, but you’re going to see two different teams in the final now in Chelsea and Birmingham, and it’ll be good for the public to be exposed to some new players.
Still, the fact remains that I’ve been back at Arsenal for a month and we’re gone out of two competitions in that time — the Champions League and now the FA Women’s Cup.
It’s gutting. I arrived home after the game and couldn’t think of anything other than the match. In fact, if I’m being honest, it was all I thought about from the minute I left the pitch at the end of the game.
It’s a major competition, a showpiece event of women’s football, and it’s awful to think we won’t be in the final. It always hurts more the next day as well. You’re always thinking: “Oh, what if I could have done this or that.” You’re replaying it and that’s one of the worst things for a footballer.
And, yes, as per usual, I had trouble sleeping! I stayed up watching television but still thinking about the game, and in the end I didn’t get off to sleep until 3am.
Now we have to show our character against Liverpool tomorrow. They’ll be eager to put one over us — every team is when they play Arsenal — but we just have to deal with it and prove the defeat was just a blip.
It wasn’t all bad news this week though. On Wednesday night I enjoyed a real honour as I was invited to the inaugural Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation awards. The FA chairman was there, as was Hope Powell, the England manager.
I presented an award with my team-mate Rachel Yankey. There were lots of inspiring stories from women around the world and it was a real privilege to take part.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.