Brighton & Hove Albion defender Laura Rafferty recognises that the team will be underdogs heading into today’s FA Women’s Super League match against Arsenal, but that it is something that could work in their favour.
The Gunners currently have a 100 percent record in the league, but Rafferty was confident the team had prepared well during the week and believes it will be foolish to write off the Seagulls heading into the game.
She said, “At the moment Arsenal are on a roll, they’re eight games unbeaten with very strong individuals and a strong team.
“But for a club like us playing in this league, they are a team that we want to test ourselves against. We’ve done our homework on them and we have worked hard on the training pitch.
“We’re going in as underdogs as well which is good, as we’ve got nothing to lose and we can play without fear. In football anything can happen on the day.
“They’ve also had a massive knock with Jordan Nobbs unfortunately getting injured. It’s something that you wouldn’t wish on anyone and it’s gutting for Jordan, who is a massive part of the England squad that is going to the World Cup.
“Whilst it is a massive blow for Arsenal, they’ll have someone with quality to replace her in the middle of the park.”
The Northern Ireland international also spoke about how Arsenal are setting the standards that her team should replicate in order to progress to the next level.
“Arsenal are fluent in everything they do. They know where their next pass is and there is always support around the ball. They are good all-round, they have individual brilliance on the ball, are clinical and keep clean sheets.
“When you look at our team, we have a lot of young players and a lot of the squad haven’t been professional before, regardless of their age. Arsenal have been professional for a long time, maybe even the longest out of any team.
“We’ve not even been full-time for a year yet, so we’re still trying to find our feet and learn about each other. It’s all about building small steps towards our aims, so our goal in the Women’s Super League is to compete and stay up.
“So in the future, a team like Arsenal is one that we’d aspire to be like, and who says that it can’t happen? In this squad we’ve got the characteristics of winners, we have the mentality, the players, the staff and the backing from the club as well, which any team would be proud of.”
Last time out, Albion were defeated 4-1 by Reading but the defender felt the final score was harsh on the team.
“The match against Reading was a tough one to take. When you look at the scoreline and it says 4-1, it looks like you got battered but in the game it didn’t feel like that.
“We gifted them some of their goals, which in this league you can’t do. If you make minor mistakes, the other team will take advantage of that.
“Unfortunately that has happened to us and we haven’t had the luck that some of the other teams have had. I’m sure that will turn for us, there’s still a long season ahead.
“It was a tough lesson but it’s one we’ll take and look to improve in the matches ahead.”