Arsenal Ladies Ousted By Birmingham City

Charlie Crowhurst

Arsenal Ladies have been eliminated from UWCL play.

Arsenal Ladies 0 - 2 Birmingham City (Linnett 25', Allen 32')

Starters: Byrne, Kinga, Smith, Yankey, Carter, Mitchell, Weir, Scott, Stoney, Bailey, Ohno

Subs Used: Ayisi for Bailey 48', Williamson for Yankey 81', Bragg for Ohno 83'

Unused Subs: Chamberlain, Hoogendijk, Humphrey

With today's result, Arsenal Ladies have been bounced from UWCL in the quarterfinal round by an aggregate of 3-0 against a very youthful and skilled Birmingham City squad.  City was able to take advantage of their speed up top to expose an Arsenal defense that hasn't played together for long, and luck was not on the Gunner's side.

Despite leading in every offensive statistical category, except obviously for the one that matters which is goals, Arsenal just couldn't find any goals to claw back against the deficit. 18 shots to Birmingham's 9, including one that hit the woodwork, and 8 corners to just three for the Blues.

What's most important, and probably most depressing, about this loss is that as a result Arsenal Ladies will NOT be playing in next year's edition of UWCL. Their third place finish in FAWSL had already put the pressure on as they had to win the tournament to find themselves in the familiar confines of UWCL again, however with this loss it is assured. The last time the Gunners failed to qualify for UWCL was back at the 03-04 edition of the tournament.

To put a positive spin on it, I wouldn't worry too much about Arsenal Ladies not qualifying for next year's UWCL. When they didn't qualify in 03-04 they immediately qualified the next year, and proceeded to make the quarterfinals of every UWCL tournament thereafter. Up next is FAWSL play, so do try to get excited.

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