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Linköping strike force worries Arsenal's White

Kosovare Asllani returns for Linköpings FC against Arsenal FC to reinforce the attack of Linda Sällström and Kathryn Gill that impressed during the 1-1 quarter-final first-leg draw in England.

Linda Sällström (in blue) proved a real handful for Arsenal last week
Linda Sällström (in blue) proved a real handful for Arsenal last week ©Getty Images

Linköpings FC's new forward combination of Linda Sällström and Kathryn Gill helped them come away from the first leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final with Arsenal LFC at 1-1 and their attack is further bolstered for Wednesday's return in Sweden.

Australian international Gill, 26, made her competitive debut for Linköping last week at Arsenal and in the first half she and Sällström tore Arsenal apart at times, the Finland striker putting the visitors ahead with a superb goal. Arsenal levelled in the second period but Linköping are boosted by the news that Sweden playmaker Kosovare Asllani is fully recovered from a thigh muscle strain that kept her on the bench at Borehamwood.

"I think [Gill] had a really good game," Linköping coach Jörgen Petersson said, while Arsenal captain Faye White added: "She was a handful and she worked well with Sällström. I've played against [Sällström] before at international level, I know what she's about, she's very strong and quick and she showed she can finish. So we are going to have to stop those long balls in the channels."

Gill is one of only three Linköping squad members older than 23 and another of the 'senior' players, captain Charlotte Rohlin, praised the youngsters for their first-leg display against the 2007 European champions. "We had to work really hard through the game and in the second half we got tired and Arsenal were better," the defender said.

"They were tough but so were we. Arsenal were very fast and we have a lot of young girls in the team. But we've got pretty fast players and it's easier if you have the speed. They are comfortable with the ball. I'm really proud of them."

White, meanwhile, has plenty of experience of European club games in Sweden. She was in the Arsenal team that drew 1-1 at Djurgården IF DFF in the 2004/05 semi-finals – before losing the return – then sat on the bench during a 1-0 final first-leg win two years later at Umeå IK. In the 2008/09 quarter-finals, however, Umeå put the Gunners and White to the sword 6-0 in a tie the visitors had led 3-2 from the first match.

"Sweden's always a nice place to go to and we've had hard games when we've played Umeå there," England defender White said. "I'm sure it's going to be hard, with a hostile crowd. Travelling away, there are always things to contend with. We need to score, we know that, and we're capable but we have to play better than in the first leg."