Arsenal Ladies Shine In Cyprus And Algarve

The annual Cyprus and Algarve Cups gave a few Arsenal Ladies a chance to show their ready for FAWSL season.

The annual Cyprus Cup and Algarve Cup tournaments send the best women's international teams to paradise and have them duke it out for a title. Pretty much the entire Arsenal Ladies roster was called in for their respective national team, and here's a recap of each team.

ENGLAND - Four players (Goalkeeper Sio Chamberlain, Defender Alex Scott, Midfielder Jordan Nobbs, Forward Kelly Smith)

England had a rather successful Cyprus Cup, going undefeated in the group stage before falling 2-0 to France in the final and taking home second place. While there were no goals from any Arsenal Ladies, they still played an important role in team England's success.

Through the group stage, Chamberlain and Scott started and played the full 90 in the team's first two games, and while Chamberlain was given a rest in the third game, Scott was subbed in and played a solid 28 minutes. Chamberlain and Scott were the anchors on an England team that had three clean sheets in three group stage games.

Jordan Nobbs also showed well for the three lions, starting the first two group games and going for at least 80 minutes in both matches. Sadly, injury struck for Nobbs and due to some back issues she was unavailable for the last group game, and will still be out for Arsenal's UWCL tie with Birmingham City and possibly the start of the season come April. The same rang true for our queen Kelly Smith, as she saw no game time due to, of course, some sort of injury. But she still got called in, so let's focus on that.

SCOTLAND - Two players (Defender Emma Mitchell, Midfielder Christie Murray)

Scotland's Cyprus Cup run was a little less fabulous than England's, but still very successful. Like England, the Scots went undefeated in group stage, scoring nine goals through three games, with two wins and a tie. In the third place match they fell in penalties to South Korea, taking home fourth place.

Mitchell saw time in the group stage, even notching a start in their group finale against Australia and then being subbed out in stoppage time. The defender was also subbed in during the third place match against South Korea, going 20 minutes in the loss. While Christie Murray saw no time on the field, still being called in is an excellent thing. Meaning Murray got to train with the senior team and get some good practice in.

IRELAND - Three players (Goalkeeper Emma Byrne, Defender Yvonne Tracey, Midfielder Naimh Fahey)

Ireland had a more than respectable showing at the Cyprus Cup, going undefeated in group stage with a win and two ties, and only missing out on first in the group due to goal differential. They would fall in the fifth place match to Canada 2-1, after a comeback second half from the Canadians.

Emma Byrne made her argument to stay starting keeper for the Gunners, starting all four Cyprus Cup matches for Ireland, and didn't allow more than one goal a game in their group stage games. Tracey didn't see any playing time, but did make the 18 for their final group stage game. As for youngster Fahey, she wasn't selected for the 18 in any games, but again, at age 19, just being called in is a positive thing.

EDIT: Yvonne Tracey no longer plays for the club after her contract ran out this year.

JAPAN - Two players (Defender Yukari Kinga, Forward Shinobu Ohno)

Japan probably had the best tournament showing of any Arsenal Ladies related squad, finishing first, and undefeated, atop their "group of death" beating the likes of Sweden and Denmark and tying the United States. They would advance to the final, but fall 3-0 to perhaps the best team in the world, Germany. No biggie.

Kinga played in three of Japan's four Algarve Cup games, starting two and being subbed into the final at halftime. The defender was part of a back line that allowed only two goals in their three group stage games. As for Ohno, she played in every game for Japan, starting in two of their group games and the final. While there were no goals for the forward, she still showed that she's at the top of her game.

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