Women's Team

Roebuck: Champions Arsenal ideal next opponents

SHE'S A 'KEEPER: Ellie Roebuck says City are more than ready to face Champions Arsenal
Ellie Roebuck asserts Arsenal provide the perfect opposition for City, following last weekend’s disappointing Manchester Derby defeat.

Nick Cushing’s FA Women’s Super League leaders visit the reigning Champions on Sunday afternoon, looking to continue our 100% start in the league and bounce back from Sunday’s setback in the Continental Cup group stage.

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A rare week-long break has allowed City to reflect thoroughly on the events at Leigh Sports Village, and put in the hard work on the training pitches in preparation for this eagerly-awaited, top-of-the-table encounter – and Roebuck says the team have been itching all week to return to the pitch and put things right.

“It’s the perfect game,” she stated. “Someone asked me this week who I’d want to play next after losing to United and I said that if we couldn’t have another Manchester Derby, it would be Arsenal.

“There’s no better game. Of course, they won the title last year and we want that title, and they have really good players.

“It’s always tough but it’s a chance for us to put the basics right and crack on.

“Obviously, it was disappointing last weekend for everyone involved. We know we can be better and that it wasn’t good enough.

“Everyone has reflected over the past week and as we’ve not had a midweek game, we’ve had the whole week to get things right on the training pitch, although we’d have preferred to get back on the pitch as soon as possible.

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“We’ve worked on getting everyone back out there, getting the level of competition high and having fun on the pitch with small-sided games.

“It’s the basics of football but sometimes, those are the hardest things to do within a game. We know we can run and work hard but we have to get the first and second balls, put those tackles in and win the 50-50s.

“That’s the difference between what makes a good team and a great team.

“It’s a huge game on Sunday so we can’t dwell on the last result. All we know is that we want to put it right. We have to use the disappointment to spur us on for the season.”

After keeping six clean sheets in our opening seven games, City have conceded in our last two matches, allowing Atletico Madrid a potentially pivotal away goal in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg before falling 2-0 to United.

There was little Roebuck could have done about any of the three goals but the shot-stopper insists her side have addressed the areas of improvement.

“We’re disappointed to have conceded in the last two games,” she admitted. “It’s not ideal but we’ve looked at those goals and broken them down.

“The free-kick United scored was really good – fair play to Katie Zelem – but we know where we can be better in other areas.

“Getting back to keeping clean sheets is massive. We’re yet to concede in the league and of course, that’s something I’d like to keep going!

“It’s something we pride ourselves on – blocks, tackles and defending for our lives.

“If we keep a clean sheet, it gives us a platform at the other end to get the goals in there.

“It’s going to be difficult, especially with Keira Walsh suspended, but there’s so much depth in the squad that there should be no excuses.

“We need to put things right and win.”

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