Jen Beattie has every confidence she can achieve fresh success with Arsenal this season after rejoining her old club over the summer.
The Scotland defender switched from Manchester City to the reigning Barclays FA Women’s Super League champions in June, six years on from her first spell with the club coming to an end.
Back-to-back Super League titles, in 2011 and 2012, were among the glut of silverware she won during a four-year stay with the Gunners.
Last season’s league triumph was the club’s first since the 2012 win as Joe Montemurro’s side finished seven points clear of second-placed City.
When asked about Arsenal potentially being crowned champions again this term, Beattie said: “The biggest thing for me is that Arsenal won the league last year with so many injuries, and I think they did such an incredible job in doing that.
“So I think this year, the main thing for us is to stay fit and healthy as a squad because I think when our squad is fully fit there is no reason why we can’t defend the title, and go on to win more trophies.”
Arsenal start their 2019-20 campaign by playing West Ham at Meadow Park on Sunday, and Beattie added: “I think Arsenal won the league last year because of their incredible start to the season.
- Liverpool Women (h) - won 5-0
- Yeovil Ladies (a) - won 7-0
- West Ham Women (h) - won 4-3
- Chelsea Women (a) - won 5-0
- Reading Women (h) - won 6-0
- Bristol City Women (a) - won 4-0
- Birmingham Women (h) - won 3-1
- Everton Ladies (a) - won 4-0
- Brighton WFC (h) - won 4-1
“They absolutely smashed it, the opening seven, eight, nine games (they won each of their first nine league matches). Any team wants to hit the ground running and that’s obviously what we’ll look to do.”
The opening weekend of what Beattie feels will be “without a doubt the most competitive season the WSL has seen” includes Manchester City taking on Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium and Chelsea facing Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal’s north London derby against newly-promoted Spurs on November 17 is set to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
And Beattie said: “That being played at the Tottenham stadium is huge.
“Us as players can only ever really focus on playing the game and putting on good performances for people to come and watch, but if you put them at incredible stadiums like that, that makes the whole day an even better experience.”
Beattie’s stint at Manchester City saw her add to her trophy haul both with their team and while on loan for a short time with Melbourne City, where she worked with Montemurro.
She admits the Australian played a “big part” in her decision to make the move back to Arsenal over the summer.
“I had some amazing memories from being at Arsenal as a kid and I think I was ready for another challenge,” Beattie said.
“And I’ve obviously worked with Joe Montemurro at Melbourne already, so I kind of knew what he’s about and he’s the kind of guy that anyone would want to work for.
“When this opportunity came up I jumped at it to be honest. I was ready to experience Arsenal again, but in a different way.”
Also over the summer the 28-year-old was part of Scotland’s first-ever Women’s World Cup finals campaign.
Shelley Kerr’s side made a group-stage exit in France after 2-1 defeats to England and Japan and a dramatic 3-3 draw with Argentina.
“Granted, our performances and results didn’t go our way at all,” Beattie said.
“But I think for us it was more about the bigger picture and the impact it has had within football as a whole in Scotland.
“I think it has definitely changed some people’s perspectives on the women’s team and for us if it has encouraged two, 200, 2,000 girls to take up football then that is what it is about. It is about developing the game in Scotland.”
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