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Arsenal striker Ellen White shares her thoughts in her first programme column ahead of Everton clash
8:50am Saturday 7th April 2012 in Sport
Firstly, just wanted to thank everyone who came out to our Champions League game against Gothenburg. We all really appreciate your continued support and hope to see you all at our games coming up.
So we have officially started our season now, and we have games coming thick and fast. As you are all probably aware, we played and beat Lincoln in the fifth round of the FA Cup, (cheeky fist pump... YES) which means we are into the quarter-finals and face Everton. This is going to be a really challenging game, but it’s a massive incentive to win as we want to retain our trophy - and also losing the cup two years ago is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
We also played the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final in the week following our game against Lincoln. We knew it was going to be a tough test against Gothenburg and we gave ourselves an uphill battle after conceding a quick free-kick early in the game. We managed to get an equaliser before half time, but we were all disappointed with our first-half display. We played a lot better in the second-half and were pleased that we scored a further two goals, giving ourselves a 3-1 win going into the second leg in Sweden.
Before travelling to Gothenburg for our away leg we had our first Continental Cup group game against Liverpool. The match saw us again playing on the road to retaining another one of our trophies and we were pleased to come away with a 3-0 win. We know we didn’t perform to our best – however, the result was the most important thing.
Now onto our away leg against Gothenburg. We trained in the morning before jumping on the coach and heading to the airport. We were all pretty happy to hear that we were flying from Terminal 5, for one reason and one reason only - Wagamamas for food before our flight. Mmmmm! Our flight was quite quick and got to our ‘hotel’ – I don’t think I have ever stayed in a hotel that doesn’t have an upstairs. Sounds weird but if you think about it you tend to either walk upstairs or go in a lift. Not sure why I have stated this, but thought it was quite interesting and random. :) Haha! The game was played on a 3G pitch, and we knew what to expect from training on it during pre-season. Again we didn’t quite perform to our best but we played much better than in our home leg. Emma Byrne made a fantastic, world-class save in the first-half to keep us in the game and we perhaps should have scored a couple in the second-half. However, despite conceding late on in the game we won over the two legs and now face Frankfurt in the semi-finals. Wow!
After our Champions League games we were straight into another tough game and another step towards retaining the FA Cup. We were up against Everton, who have been our rivals now for many years, so we knew it was going to be a tight game. We dominated the first 20-25 minutes of the first-half and perhaps should have scored a couple of goals, but we let Everton back into the game. The second-half saw us really come into the game, scoring two goals and beginning to play some good football. I think we were disappointed to have conceded late on, but we are extremely pleased to have won and now face Chelsea in the semi-finals.
The support we received in Sweden against Gothenburg was amazing - our loud fans sung from minute one until the very end of the game. They gave the game a fantastic atmosphere, especially when they were in the minority against the Gothenburg fans. We all really appreciate the support from everyone, as I always say.
Best leave you all be now!
Much love Ellen xx