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Villa gear up for Arsenal challenge
 Women's Football News 28 Jan 2006
Villa gear up for Arsenal challenge - 28 Jan 2006 - Women's Football NewsAston Villa face the biggest challenge of their season on Sunday when they take on Arsenal in the Fifth Round of the F.A.Women's Cup.
Villa have been going through a transition since their relegation from the National Division two years ago and they currently sit in mid-table in the Northern Division but they are relishing the challenge of taking on the Champions at Sutton Coldfield and captain Natalie Courtney feels that the lack of expectation could be of benefit to her side. "They'll probably be coming, expecting to bowl us over quite easily," she told Women's Soccer Scene. "We've got nothing to lose so we will go out and play our game and see what we come out with. It's just another game to me - the aim is just to do as well as we can and try to get a good result from the game.
"We've been getting a few injuries this season, so we have been forced to change the team every week. But there are a lot of youngsters in our side and we are just trying to put things together and have a building season. The young players should learn a lot from playing against Arsenal and have the experience of playing against internationals."
Natalie Gibson has been one of the successes of Villa's season so far and has been getting amongst the goals. The striker is looking forward to the game and feels that they can acquit themselves well against their illustrious opponents. "It's a big game for a lot of us as most of us haven't played at that well," says Natalie, "but we should all perform well and there could be a good crowd behind us, so we might surprise them. I have played against Arsenal before, but not in the Cup, so this is a big occasion for me.
"Inconsistency has played a big part (this season) for us and we have been up and down. We've beaten teams we thought we couldn't and gave Everton a good run for their money in the League Cup, but when playing sides we felt we could win against, it hasn't happened."
Midfielder Shona Franklin echoed her team mates' views and feels that they are capable of causing Arsenal problems. "We have been scoring a lot of goals this season and our strikers Natalie Gibson and Levi Penny have formed a good partnership," she says. "Hopefully they can get a chance to do it this week."
"We are all looking forward to it as there is no pressure on us this time. We've just got to put it to them and see what we can do - we are at home and will have a lot of support and that should help us."

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