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Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Arsenal & Everton set for Women's Champions League test

By Tony Leighton

Women's football

Arsenal and Everton head into the last eight of the Women's Champions League this week with contrasting mindsets after Sunday's FA Cup clash between the two teams.

Having avenged last season's FA Cup final defeat by the Toffees with a 2-0 fifth-round win, the Gunners will be in confident mood as they entertain Swedish side Linkopings in the first leg of their European tie on Thursday.

Everton will also be at home in their first leg on Thursday, but they will have to bounce back from Sunday's disappointment with strengthened resolve against Germany's Duisburg, the 2009 European champions.

Last season, Duisburg lost in the semi-finals to the eventual winners, Potsdam, after knocking out Champions League debutants Linkopings in the round of 16.

The Swedes are therefore in the quarter-finals for the first time as they prepare to face an Arsenal team who are in their ninth European campaign in 10 years.

Gunners manager Laura Harvey said: "Linkopings are inexperienced in Europe but they're a very good side and it won't be easy for us.

"We'll be seen as favourites though, and after our FA Cup win on Sunday the girls are really buzzing and looking forward to Thursday.

"You wouldn't choose a tough game against Everton as preparation for a Champions League tie, but the fact that we came through has given us a great lift."

A great lift for Arsenal was a devastating blow for Everton, who must now win the Champions League if they are to be in Europe again next season as England's qualifying places via domestic competition will go to the two FA Cup finalists.

Toffees boss Mo Marley said: "This is our first ever appearance in the quarter-finals, so to go on and win the trophy is a massive ask for us.

"I went to Germany to watch Duisburg a couple of weeks ago and they're a top team with some great players, so we'll have to be at our very, very best to get past them.

"I'm expecting a very positive response from the players after Sunday, though. Let's face it, if you can't motivate yourself to play in a Champions League quarter-final then you're most definitely in the wrong sport.

"So I'm confident we can produce a much better performance than we managed on Sunday, and we'll give it everything we've got on Thursday and in the second leg."

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see also
Marley hopes for Everton response
14 Mar 11 |  Women
Holders Everton go out of FA Cup
13 Mar 11 |  Women
Women's tie more vital than ever
11 Mar 11 |  Women
Dowie targets cup win for Everton
09 Mar 11 |  Women
Charlton pull off shock Cup win
27 Feb 11 |  Women

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