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Arsenal will be attempting to recapture the Premier League Cup for the first time since their 'treble' year of 2001 and goalkeeper Emma Byrne is looking forward to the opportunity against Charlton Athletic on Sunday. Emma, one of the unsung heroes of Arsenal's success in recent seasons, told Women's Soccer Scene that her team are ready and prepared to take on their major rivals in the Final at Brentford. "It's the first major Final of the season," she says. "Everyone is buzzing, there is a good atmosphere at the club and we are full of confidence.
"We've been doing really well, attacking wise, recently and we have improved hugely in that part of our game. Julie Fleeting has been in brilliant form but the other forwards have also played well."
Emma is full of respect for opponents Charlton. "They're probably the ones we like to play least!" she laughs. "It's always tough and competitive against Charlton and the games always have a good build up. Hopefully it will be the same outcome as in the F.A.Cup Final."
Arsenal are still very much in the running for four trophies this season. As well as Sunday, the Gunners are favourites to win the Premier League and are in the semi finals of both the F.A. and UEFA Cups but Emma is quick to play down any thoughts of a Grand Slam. "No one at Arsenal is talking about four trophies," she replies. "Our manager Vic Akers definitely doesn't - he is the type to just look at the next match and keep our feet on the ground. It's not about how many cups we can win, each match needs a different preparation and we just take that one match at a time."
In recent seasons, this trophy has proved the hardest of the domestic ones for Arsenal to win but they are determined to break their four-year barren spell. "We don't have a bad omen in this Cup but we want it back," says Emma. "It's the first Cup of the season so we want to go on from there."
Emma is in her sixth season at Arsenal and points out the 'treble' winning season as the highlight to date, which included a penalty save in the F.A.Cup Final. "We had to work so hard that year and it was brilliant. It has been a little bit similar this season as we've had tough games, especially in Europe. Those matches have toughened us up and helped build up character and team spirit, but we always have to work hard to win matches as other teams do pick up their performance against us.
"Hopefully there will be good support on Sunday and we want to perform to our best in front of a good crowd and live TV audience on Sky. We're representing women's football in this country and we want to put on a good show."
Photo - www.arsenal.com
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