Arsenal (Ladies) triumph again

Apparently, the Arsenal men’s team played this afternoon. (They lost 4-1 at home to Chelsea, in what was effectively a Champions League third-place playoff, both teams having been defeated in their respective semi-finals midweek.)

However, today’s big game was happening about 200 miles north-west of the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal Ladies travelled to Everton for a head-to-head title showdown. Everton started the day undefeated in the league all season – having ended Arsenal’s 108-match unbeaten record with a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture in March – and top of the table by three points. Arsenal, winners of both domestic cup competitions, arrived knowing that only a win would be good enough to retain the title for the sixth successive season – and with the added incentive that this was to be manager Vic Akers’ last game in charge of the team he helped set up 22 years ago.

And win they did, with Suzanne Grant‘s 13th minute volley proving to be the only goal of the game, clinching both the league title and the team’s third domestic treble. It is the 32nd trophy Arsenal Ladies have won under Akers’ management, in a season in which the team has had to cope with the departure of both leading strikers, Lianne Sanderson and Kelly Smith.

Sadly, Akers was unable to oversee his team’s triumph first hand, as his other duties (he is the men’s team’s kit man) meant he was required at the Emirates. But, for once, I think he can be forgiven if his mind and his heart were elsewhere today.

While the men’s team’s trophy cabinet has not been added to for four years, the ladies’ team’s is full to overflowing. It’s not the triumph the vast majority of Arsenal fans would have been hoping for this season, but that in no way lessens its significance. Congratulations to Vic and the team.


About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

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