Category Archives: WSL

FA WSL: The REd devils return to the top

Manchester United returned to the top of the table this weekend after a 2-0 win against Birmingham City. Leah Galton and Ella Toone with goals in the second half securing victory for Casey Stoney’s team.

Manchester City moved into third spot after another big win beating Brighton by seven goals to one. Second placed Chelsea’s game at Bristol City was postponed due to heavy snow. Arsenal also fell victims to the weather as their match vs West Ham was also postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The only game on Saturday saw Aston Villa host Reading. Reading twice took the lead only for Villa to twice level with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.

Manchester United 2 v 0 Birmingham City

United had the first chance as Lauren James, broke down the left and cut inside the box to create a shooting chance but fired high over the bar. A warning from the in form United forward. United continued to work down the left side, Amy Turners cross field ball was flicked on to Leah Galton on the left. Galton worked her way into the box and fired a shot at goal which was pushed away by Blues keeper Hannah Hampton.

Birmingham were unable to stop United down that left side as Galton was almost put though again, but Hampton was out of her goal quickly to gather the ball. United continued their attacks down the left as Birmingham seemed powerless to stop them.

Ella Toone’s shot was blocked but United recycled the ball and Galton had space inside the box. Her cut back was cleared but United regained the ball and switched play to right. Lauren James played the ball along the six yard box and after and defection it fall to Jackie Groenen but she shot well over the bar.

Katie Zelem played a clear though ball into the box, into the path of Galton. Galton flicked the ball towards gaol with her first touch but Hampton pulled off a fine save diving to her right to push the ball away from goal.

A first half that united dominated ends 0-0.

The second half started as the first ended with United on the attack. They had the lead their played deserved after 46 minutes. Lauren James sent a teasing ball into the six yard box from the right side. The invitation was taken by Galton, getting goal side of Sarah Mayling to side foot the ball into the net.

United kept pressing for a second goal with Ella Tonne shooting over and then straight at Hampton after being played in by Galton. They did get their second after 81 minutes thanks Ella Toone. Kirsty Hanson’s cut back wasn’t cleared by Lucy Whipp and the ball fell to Toone. Striking the ball first time it went across the goal to go in off the far post.

A comfortable win for United who dominated the game. United could have scored more but for some good save from Hannah Hampton and some poor shooting.

United return to the top of the league on 29 points, three above Chelsea who have two games in hand.

Brighton 1 v 7 Manchester City

City hit seven goals for the second league game in a row as they beat Brighton 7-1. City first came after 12 minutes as Chole Kelly’s ball across the box was turned in by Caroline Weir. Weir had a second after 16 minutes following a 1-2 her first time strike flying into the goal. Weir was denied a first half hat trick. Dancing around three Brighton defenders her shot was brilliantly saved by Cecillie Fiskerstrand.

City had a third before the break. From an in swinging corner, Weir flicked the ball at the near post and Steph Houghton turned it in on the line. Half time Brighton 0 v 3 Man City.

Chole Kelly having another fine game played in Ellen White, who’s deft touch put the ball past the keeper for 4-0. Just after the hour it was five nil to City. Steph Houghton’s free kick clipping the bar on its way in the goal.

Brighton got a consolation thanks to Rianna Jarrett. Latching on to a poor pass by City she ran into the box to fire past Ellie Roebuck.

After patience build up where City worked the ball across the pitch the ball ended in the net with Chole Kelly finishing a wonderful City move. Janine Beckie made it seven turning in from close range from Kelly’s cross.

City move up to third ahead of Arsenal, five points off leaders Manchester United albeit with a game in hand.

Aston Villa 2 v 2 Reading

A game that started in sunshine and ended in snow ended with a 2-2 draw despite Reading enjoying the majority of the game. Reading took an early lead thanks to a Angharad James goal after three minutes. Rachel Rowe find Jess Fishlock in lots of space just outside the box. Fishlock fired a shot at goal which was well saved by Villa keeper Lisa Weiss. The loose ball was headed in by James.

Weiss was called into action again tipping over Emma Mitchells long range effort. Fishlock and James combined again, as Fishlock turned in the box to lay off for James who shot wide. Reading controlled the first half with Welsh International Fishlock controlling the midfield. Finding space all the time Fishlock set Beth Roberts up for shot but Weiss saved well.

Natasha Harding found Danielle Carter who set up James for another effort which went just over the bar. Fishlock found Harding in space in the box but her shot was blocked. Villa were unable to clear and the ball fell to Rachel Rowe but her shot was tame and easily saved. Half time Aston Villa 0 v 1 Reading.

Villa against the run of play equalised after 55 minutes. A low free kick from Natalie Haigh caught out Reading and the ball was turned in by Mana Iwabuchi for her first WSL goal.

Reading regained the lead just two minutes later with Rachel Rowe scoring. Jess Fishlock’s ball between the Villa defenders found Rowe inside the box on the right. It looked as Rowe has mis-controlled the ball but some clear footwork allowed her to fire low into the goal.

After the sunshine of the first half the weather turned and the snow begin to fall as Reading looked for a third to kill off the game. Carter had a chance but put it wide before a double save from Weiss. Fishlock driving forward slip the ball into the path of Carter who’s shot was blocked by the advancing Weiss. The Villa keeper was up quickly to deny Amalie Eikeland.

Weiss kept her side in the game and Villa got a second equaliser in the 91st minute. Iwabuchi and Hayles linking up in the box to find Diana Silva who poked the ball into the net. Full Time Aston Villa 2 v 2 Reading.

Reading had the better of the game but couldn’t extend their lead which allowed Villa a chance to get a point. Villa remain 11th but now level on points with West Ham. Reading remain in sixth but will see this as two points dropped.

Lionesses appoint Hege Riise as Short-Term Head Coach

The England Lionesses have appointed the former Norwegian midfielder Hege Riise as a short-term head coach following the sudden departure of Phil Neville to Inter Miami in the MLS.

Riise will step into the role from February of this month to lead the upcoming training camp supported by ex-Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson. 

During her distinguished playing career, Riise was an Olympic, World Cup and European Championship winner and scored 58 goals in 188 internationals.

The 1995 world player of the year has since gone on to have an impressive coaching career too, having managed to steer Norwegian side LSK Kvinner to six consecutive league titles.  She has also previously been the assistant coach to the all-conquering USA Women’s side, which won Olympic Gold in 2012.  

Speaking about her Lionesses appointment, Riise said: 

“I’m excited about the opportunity I’ve been given to work with England Women. This is a proud and ambitious team that I look forward to working with and I am confident of making a positive impact when I meet up with the squad in February.”

The Director of England Women’s football Sue Campbell, meanwhile, added:

“I am delighted to welcome Hege Riise and Rhian Wilkinson to the England coaching team, having had positive discussions with them in recent weeks.  

“They bring significant international experience and will help guide our players before the arrival of Sarina Wiegman as our new head coach to lead us into the home EURO in 2022. Once February is complete, we will sit down and assess the Lionesses situation and consider next steps for Team GB in consultation with the home nations and the British Olympic Association.”

Riise could be in the frame to take on the Team GB job too as that role has also been vacated following Neville’s departure, but it is understood that her primary focus will be working with England.  

This appointment will also have no affect on the incoming Dutch coach Weigman, who is due to take the helm of the Lionesses from September 2021

FA WSL Round Up: Chelsea go top of the table

With just one WSL game last weekend there was a full fixture list this past weekend.

Reigning Champions Chelsea moved to the top of the WSL table after a 2-1 win over previous leaders Manchester United. The teams are level on points but Chelsea have a better goal difference, plus a game in hand.

Third placed Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading. Manchester City hammered Aston Villa 7-0 while Everton put four past bottom side Bristol City. Tottenham beat West Ham by 1-0 and Birmingham City drew at home to Brighton.

Chelsea 2 v 1 Manchester United

Chelsea began brightly with Sam Kerr going past two United defenders to take a shot forcing Mary Earps into an early save. Just two minutes later and Fran Kirby’s though ball finds Kerr in the box but she shot wide. Kerr had another chance but her first time shot went wide again. Three really good chances for The Blues who should have been leading.

United’s first chance came from Christen Press, Kirsty Hanson’s cross defected to Press who hit the ball on the half volley but put it wide.

Chelsea were soon back on the front foot. Working into the box on the right, Fran Kirby had another chance but Earps stuck a leg for a Chelsea corner.

Erin Cuthbert swung in the corner which was met by Pernille Harder who headed towards goal. Amy Turner headed the ball out but it found its to Kirby who shot was blocked but United could not clear and Harder turned the ball into the net. 1-0 Chelsea 30′.

United brought Lauren James on for Press after 55 minutes and it took the 19 year old just six minutes to make an impact. After playing a lovely 1-2 with Ella Tonne, James took sight of goal and curled her shot past the outstretched arms of Berger. 1-1 61′

The goal woke the Chelsea team up as Kerr had another chance saved by Earps. After So-Yun Ji’s shot defected into her path Kerr tried the shot but Earps saved comfortably.

Chelsea retook the lead on 65 minutes as Berger’s long ball went the length of the pitch. The United defenders were not alive to the ball over the top but Chelsea’s in form player Fran Kirby was. Taking a couple of touches Kirby calmly put the ball past the advancing Earps. 2-1 Chelsea 61′.

Lauren James had another chance to level. Ella Tonne playing James behind the chelsea backline, but the striker but her shot wide of the target.

A thrilling game between the top two ends with a win for the Champions, who now go top of the league.

Reading 1 v 1 Arsenal

Arsenal missed the chance to close the gap to second place after drawing at Reading. Reading took the lead after 5 minutes as Lauren Bruton turned in Emma Mitchells free kick. Arsenal were level five minutes before halftime. Jill Roord’s header was saved by Grace Moloney, but Vivianne Miedema was first to react to tap in for her 12th goal of the season.

Reading reamian in sixth place while Arsenal are still third three points of Chelsea and Manchester United.

West Ham United 0 v 1 Tottenham Hotspur

West Ham began this game brightly but failed to really trouble Spur’s keeper Rebecca Spencer. Tottenham grew into the game and took the lead on 35 minutes.

Rosella Ayane putting temping cross across the six yard box, Alanna Kennedy was crowded out by West Ham’s defenders and unable to get the ball. Tottenham’s Gemma Davison picked up the loose ball and found Lucy Quinn who fired home.

West Ham pushed for an equalizer in the second half but couldn’t find the net. The win is Tottenham’s third in a row and they sit in 7th place. West Ham are 10th.

Everton 4 v 0 Bristol City

After five games without a win Everton picked up all three points after putting four past Bristol City.

Taking the lead after 4 minutes, Nicoline Sorensen’s cross was turned into the roof of the net by Izzy Christiansen. Sorensen and Christiansen almost combined for the second but City keeper haland made a good save. Hayley Raso’s cross looked to be the keepers but she fumbled the ball and it was turned in by Simone Magill. Everton lead 2-0 at half time.

Christiansen made it three after squeezing the ball from a tight angle into the far corner after being played in by Lucy Graham. Megan Finnigan round off a good win with a fourth heading in at the near post from Christiansen’s corner.

Everon stay in fifth place on 17 points while Bristol City are still looking for a first win.

Manchester City 7 v 0 Aston Villa

Not really a contest at The Academy Stadium as Manchester City ran riot and put 7 past Aston Villa. Lauren Hemp got the first sliding in at the far post from Chole Kelly’s cross. Jill Scott made it two after 17 minutes before Stanway scored the third on 31 minutes. Kelly and Hemp combined again to make it four nil, before Kemp’s cross was put into the goal by Villa’s Natalie Haigh. Ellen White made six before half time.

Chloe Kelly got City’s seventh in the second half. City are fourth five points off the leaders Chelsea and Manchester United. Villa are 11th four points ahead of Bristol City.

Birmingham City 0 v 0 Brighton

Brighton controlled this match but rarely caused Birmingham keeper Hannah Hampton. Despite having seven shots on target the Birmingham keeper was never in danger of conceding. Birmingham had only one shot on target in the entire game and Brighton will feel hard done by with just a point.

Brighton are in 9th place while Birmingham are 8th.

Birmingham City will host Everton at 19:00 on Wednesday 20th January. Aston Villa are home to Reading on Saturday 23rd January 12:00. Two 12:00 kick offs on Sunday 24th January as Arsenal host West Ham and Manchester United host Birmingham City. Brighton will play Manchester City at 14:00 and Bristol City will host leaders Chelsea.

FA WSL Round UP: covid tears apart Fixture List

In what must be the strangest weekend in WSL history only one fixture was played over the weekend. Five of the six scheduled games were postponed as a result of positive Covid-19 tests and injuries. A rise in positive cases and required self-isolation sparking the debate as to whether football should continue during the pandemic.

The one fixture that did go ahead saw Chelsea move into second place after thumping Reading five goals to nil. Fran Kirby hit four goals in a dominating win for The Blues.

Manchester City were due to host West Ham on Saturday 9th, but after positive tests at the club and other mitigating circumstances they were unable to field the required 14 players.

Aston Villa who were hosting Arsenal also saw there game postponed as Arsenal were also unable to field a side after a number of their players were self isolating. Three Arsenal players one of which being Katie McCabe made trips to Dubai over the winter break and have faced criticism for making the trip. Arsenal have investigated the matter and believe the travel was in line with Government restrictions.

Birmingham City’s trip to Tottenham was called off due to injuries within the City squad. As it was not related to Covid the game will not be rescheduled. The league made the following statement:

Birmingham contacted the FA to notify the association they would not be able to fulfil the fixture away at Tottenham due to not having enough players fit and available to play, as a result of a number of injuries.

“A request for postponement was made by the club under the competition’s epidemic rule, but was not able to be granted as this is an injury-related issue.

“The outcome of the fixture will be determined by an independent tribunal.

“The FA will provide an update on that decision in due course, and wishes the players concerned a full and speedy recovery.”

After the decision Birmingham released the following:

As a professional football club we have a duty of care to our players. Their welfare is at the centre of this decision and it is a conclusion we never wanted to reach.

“However, it has been well documented that Carla Ward’s side has been the victim of an unfortunate and extraordinary run of injuries and despite our best efforts to field a team this weekend, it would be irresponsible to do so.

“The club maintain the position that we would be putting our players at risk of further injury and jeopardise their wellbeing in pursuit of fixture fulfilment. This is not a concession we are willing to make.

“An application for a postponement was submitted to the FA but this request was denied.

“We are aware of the ramifications of this decision but contest that we are also bound by an obligation to preserve our players health and safety, above all else.”

Brighton, who were due to travel to play Bristol City, had a second positive case in Friday’s round of testing meaning they had seven players isolating:

“We thank both The FA and Bristol City for their assistance and understanding in dealing with this matter” said a statement from Brighton.

Manchester United manager Casey Stoney has apologised for allowing members of her squad to go Dubai despite their being no outbreak within the United squad. Their match at Everton was called off due to Covid concerns within the Everton camp. Five Everton players contracted coronavirus over the Christmas break.

“I said before Christmas that I will always take my players’ well-being into consideration and I granted [them] permission to go home and see their families to have a break,”

Stoney said:

“Everything we allowed them to do was within government guidelines, but I have to be honest and on reflection it was a poor error in judgment from me. I am sincerely sorry for that. I’m human and I make mistakes, I take responsibility for it.”

Reading v Chelsea

There was one game that went ahead as Chelsea blow Reading away at the Majewski Stadium. Fran Kirby hit a first half hat trick and got a fourth in the second half before sub Ji So-Yun made it five.

The win moves Chelsea into second just three points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand and a superior goal difference. Chelsea have put the pressure on United as the sides are due to met in the next round of games.

Chelsea took the lead after 16 minutes, a hopeful ball up the middle was flicked on by Sam Kerr. Kirby got behind the Reading defenders and rounded keeper Grace Moloney to slot home. Chelsea almost doubled the lead as Kirby found a pocket of space just outside the box, curling in a right football shot she struck the post.

It was 2-0 after 23 minutes as Reading defender Emma Mitchell gifted Kirby the ball half way into the Reading half. The invitation to charge at goal was all Kirby needed as she put the ball past the advancing keeper’s right, with her left foot. Mitchell attempted to get back in front of Kirby but the Chelsea player was not to be denied.

Kirby competed the perfect hat trick in first half injury time. From a free kick sent out to the by-line, Sam Kerr turned it back towards the area where it was met be the head of Fran Kirby who guided the ball into the top corner.

Half time: Reading 0 v 3 Chelsea

Eight minutes into the second half and Kirby had her and Chelsea’s fourth. From a corner floated towards the near post, Kirby outjumped Angharad James to loop the ball into the far corner.

Ji So-Yun rounded off a superb Chelsea performance with a fifth goal. Hannah Blundell’s cross found Ji in the box, taking the ball down on her right foot and calmly waiting for the ball to bounce and sit up for a volley into the far corner on her left foot.

Chelsea in fine form as they head into the next round and a top of the table clash with Manchester United. This was the Fran Kirby show as the England forward helped herself to four goals.

Full Time; Reading 0 v 5 Chelsea

The WSL is back on January 17th, with the top two meeting as Manchester United travel to Chelsea. Manchester City will host Aston Villa, Everton will play bottom side Bristol City. Reading will host Arsenal, Birmingham City face Brighton and there’s a London Derby as Tottenham travel to West Ham.

FA WSL Returns To Action

The WSL returns this weekend after a break over Christmas. Bottom side Bristol City, who are still looking for their first win of the campaign, host Brighton in a 2pm kick-off. While the other two matches that are also due to take place see third-place Chelsea travel to face Reading and Tottenham play Birmingham City.

Arsenal would have had the chance to close the gap on United but their game against Aston Villa has been postponed. Three Arsenal players made a trip to Dubai over Christmas and one player has tested positive for COVID 19. The positive test has lead to other players having to isolate and the club requested a postponement, BBC Sport has reported.

Manchester City’s game against West Ham scheduled for Saturday has also been postponed due to positive tests at Manchester City. Sky Sports reports that as well as the test results another player is self-isolating, while Rose Levelle and Sam Mewis are away on international duty.

While Everton’s match with leaders Manchester United has also had to be called off.

Everton v Manchester United – Match Postponed

United’s last game was a 6-1 win over Bristol City. Tobin Heath and Leah Galton both getting two goals, with Millie Turner and Jess Sigsworth also on the score sheet. Everton suffered a 4-0 loss at Arsenal in their last match.

The two side met in December in the Continental League Cup with Everton picking up a 1-0 win. Lucy Graham netting the only goal of the game. United have won the previous four WSL matches.

Unfortunately, however, Everton have since announced that they had to call off this match because of recent COVID-19 infections and injuries. A new date for the game is yet to be confirmed.

Prediction; Everton 1v 3 Manchester United

Bristol City v Brighton & Hove Albion 10/1/20 14:00

Having suffered a heavy loss to United in their last outing Bristol City still sit bottom of the table without a win. It could be a chance for a first win as Brighton are on a run of four straight defeats.

The side faced each other in the Continental League cup which Bristol won 2-1. History is with City as out of the last four meetings they have won two and drawn two.

Brighton are on a poor run having lost to Reading (twice), Chelsea and Tottenham. This match will be shown live via FA Player.

Prediction; Bristol City 1 v 0 Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City 10/1/20 14:00

Spurs have back to back 3-1 wins in their last two WSL matches. A win over Brighton was followed by a win against Aston Villa. A third home game in a row for Tottenham who are in superb home form. Just one defeat in nine home matches, who will be looking to gain ground on side above them.

It won’t be easy for Tottenham as The Blues have been on a fantastic away run. Aside from their recent defeat at Arsenal they have won 4 games in a row on the road.

Both sides sit on 9 points and a win for either side could help them make the top half of the WSL table. This match will also be shown on FA Player.

Prediction; Tottenham 2 v 1 Birmingham City

Reading v Chelsea 10/1/20 14:00

Chelsea have the chance to go second this weekend with Arsenal not playing. Chelsea have two games in hand over Arsenal but a win here would put them above The Gunners and have an extra game.

Reading have just one defeat in five matches and recently picked up a 3-1 away win at Brighton. Jess Fishlock put in an excellent performance in the win and will need to be at her best again as Reading face Chelsea.

Chelsea have won nine out of their last ten games with one draw. This run includes beating Benfica in the Champions League and beating Manchester City 3-1. This match will be on FA Player.

Prediction; Reading 0 v 3 Chelsea