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Women's Football News
Angela Banks is convinced that she is gradually getting back to her best as she and her Arsenal team mates moved closer to possibly winning their first trophy of the season by reaching the Premier League Cup Final. The former England striker returned to playing at the start of the season after a year out of the game but her resurgent form saw her selected as the Nationwide Player of the Month for October, although she exclusively told Women's Soccer Scene that she was not expecting anything. "I was a bit surprised, to be honest!" she said. "I scored a few goals but I didn't feel I played particularly well, although I was really pleased to get the award."
October finished off with Arsenal beating Torres 4-3 on aggregate to reach the UEFA Women's Cup semi finals, and Angela gave an outstanding display in the second leg victory. "The away leg was pretty disappointing," she says. "But to score two goals in the home leg was a great achievement for me, Europe is a really tough place to play and to go through topped the month off."
So does Angela feels she is back to the player she was a couple of years ago? "Not quite, I've got a little bit further to go," she admits. "I'm not quite as sharp as I used to be. I am fitting in well again but there are little things that I used to do that I need to work on."
Arsenal reached the League Cup Final with a good 3-1 win at Birmingham and Angela was pleased with both result and performance. "It was a really good game and well fought. Fleets (Julie Fleeting) did really well and got three goals - the first two were fantastic headers and the third was so well taken. The League Cup is very special to me as it was my first final at Arsenal and it's great to be going back again."
The Final will mean meeting their main rivals, Charlton Athletic. "When I played before, the team we had to beat were Fulham but Charlton have taken over now. They are always there or thereabouts and our games with them are always really close.
"It will be a really good Final for people to watch, as women's football is now a good showpiece, and there will be goals as both teams do score regularly. Hopefully we will play well on the day and can win - but a medal should top off the season for me."
Arsenal are still in the running for four trophies though, is that is a possibility? "The girls were talking about being up for four trophies after the game on Sunday," says Angela. "There is a lot of football to be played yet, but we usually do well in the F.A.Cup.
"We usually seem to kick off after Christmas and produce our best form then, and I don't know why that is. We haven't had a bad spell so far but there is still more to come from us yet. We seem to pull out wins and bring the best out of ourselves in the big matches."
Angela is also filled with anticipation about her blossoming strike partnership with Julie Fleeting, who has now scored two hat-tricks in successive matches. "To have a player like Julie alongside me is fantastic, it certainly takes the pressure off me to score goals. It takes time to build up an understanding and get used to a pairing, but things are coming along well and hopefully we can keep getting better as a partnership."
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