To celebrate the new year, here are my Arsenal Women top 5 moments of the decade.
Originally, I wanted to select ten top moments, but it was hard to find five because Arsenal had quite a dip in performance between 2013 and 2018.
Arsenal Women top 5 moments of the decade
Winning the league again in 2018-19
Joe Montemurro’s choice as the Arsenal manager following Pedro Losa’s departure was an excellent one. He brought back the smiles to the faces of Arsenal fans.
The football quality really improved on the attacking and defensive side and it culminated in a league title win for the first time in seven seasons.
I think it was an emotional moment for all the fans and players who had been starved of league success for so many years after being spoiled for so long.
The players who stayed at the club through the lean years, like Danielle Carter and Jordan Nobbs, were rewarded for their loyalty to the club.
Winning the first ever FA WSL trophy in 2011
When the FA decided to create the FA WSL, it was clearly an effort to improve the women’s game overall and help make the England team more competitive. But it was also a bid to stop Arsenal dominating the women’s game as they had been for many years.
Thankfully, the fact that the game was still part-time or semi-professional at the time meant Arsenal were still ahead of everyone and, under Laura Harvey’s leadership, managed to grab the first FA WSL title and retain it the following year.
Arsenal were also the first team to score in the competition via Gilly Flaherty:
Unfortunately, the following seasons ended up with a lot less success as other teams evolved, turned professional and invested more money in their women’s teams, like Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City, who all won the league title until Arsenal were ready to compete again.
Danielle Carter’s winner at Wembley Stadium in the FA Women’s Cup
When the FA finally decided to play the women’s showpiece final at Wembley Stadium where the men’s final has been for decades, Arsenal needed to be involved.
They did not make it the first season but they got there at the second time of asking.
It was a London derby against Chelsea and a total attendance of 32,912, which was a record crowd at the time for the FA Women’s Cup final.
Danielle Carter scored a peach from the edge of the box, the ball ending up in Lindhal’s top corner and it turned out to be the winning goal. The Gunners were in control throughout the game and deserved winners.
It brought back some of the feelgood factor that was missing at the club at the time.
Unbeaten in the spring series with two 18-year-old center backs
Probably not a highlight for many Arsenal Women fans ut certainly one for me.
During the hiatus between the end of the 2016 season and the beginning of the 2017/18 season, the FA created the Spring Series which was an eight game season to bridge the gap between the last summer season and the first winter season.
Pedro Losa, who was not always keen to play youngsters, decided to be bold and played a centre-back pairing of Lotte Wubben-Moy and Anna Patten. He put his trust into two 18-year-olds at the heart of his defence and was rewarded with an unbeaten run during those eight games.
The Arsenal Academy, COE and RTC have produced many quality players through the years and it is a pity that many have had to leave the club to get first team football.
A good number of them ended up going to University in the USA but the majority dropped to the Championship.
For example, Anna Filbey and Rianna Dean, who are from the same generation as Lotte and Anna now play in the FA WSL after moving to Spurs and Millwall a couple of seasons ago.
There are many Arsenal youth players in nearly every FA WSL and FA WC club and is a credit to all the coaches and educators working with the Arsenal Women youth teams.
Unique FA Cup treble at every level
Another big moment for me in the last decade was the club proudly holding the FA Womens’ Cup at all levels. I don’t think another other side has ever managed the same feat..
It shows that the club structure at youth level is excellent and there is a constant stream of elite players coming through.
That year, the seniors beat Chelsea 1-0 thanks to Danielle Carter as we saw above.
The reserves beat Sheffield FC 2-1 aet thanks to a Rianna Dean brace while the u17s beat Manchester United 5-1.
I believe even if the club recruits the best players from around the world, more homegrown players like Leah Williamson should get on the pathway to the first team and be promoted.
This season, Ruby Grant, Melisa Filis and Silvana Flores are the three Academy players that regularly train with the first team so maybe we will see more of them in the upcoming years.
Ruby is going to UNC obviously but the other two might get chances next season.