Column: West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty Arsenal preview

PUBLISHED: 16:22 12 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 12 September 2020

Gilly Flaherty of West Ham plays a long ball during the Barclays FA Women's match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham at The Hive on September 06, 2020 in Barnet, England.

Gilly Flaherty of West Ham plays a long ball during the Barclays FA Women's match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham at The Hive on September 06, 2020 in Barnet, England.

2020 Getty Images

There are so many reasons to be happy and excited ahead of Saturday’s home match against Arsenal.

Gilly Flaherty's signature (Pic: West Ham United)Gilly Flaherty's signature (Pic: West Ham United)

For starters, this is our first home game of a new Barclays FA Women’s Super League season. This is the beginning of my third year as a West Ham United player and I believe we have a strong, tenacious and determined squad here, one that the new signings have added that bit of extra quality to.

As we showed against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, we have the drive to fight in games, and we came away from The Hive disappointed not to have taken all three points. I believe that shows a real growth in our team.

Another reason to allow myself a moment of happiness is that this weekend’s match – should I feature – is my 50th competitive game for West Ham. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic stopped that honour from coming sooner, but I am grateful to be playing for and captaining this great club. Here’s to the next 50 games in Claret and Blue!

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The third reason for excitement is that Saturday’s game is our first in our new matchday home at Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium. We had the opportunity to get a first look at the facilities during pre-season and I immediately felt a sense of excitement at the idea of leading the team out at every home game.

With the additional seating, so much extra space and the transport connections, I know this stadium is going to be a fortress for West Ham United women’s team, both for this weekend’s match and our home games going forward.

Finally, and most importantly, everyone in our entire squad is ecstatic because this game sees us finally welcome back our fantastic supporters, for the first time since February!

It was surreal to play in front of no fans away to Tottenham last weekend and, while behind closed doors matches have become the norm during this pandemic, it doesn’t make it any easier.

It is a real privilege for this club to be chosen as one of the pilot events to welcome fans back to football stadiums, and it will be a pleasure to have our loyal season ticket holders cheering us on against the Gunners this weekend – hopefully spurring us on to our first victory in our new home!

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