Tag Archives: Bristol City Women

Liverpool Women claim ‘relegation from WSL was tough pill to swallow’

Liverpool’s men and women’s football teams could not be in more contrasting situations.  On one hand you have the men side, on the brink of their first Premier League title since Kenny Dalglish’s team clinched the championship in 1989/90.

While the men’s team are certainly on the way up, the same cannot be said of the women’s side, who learned yesterday that they will relegated from the Women Super League.

Liverpool Women’s club were bottom in the WSL having only managed six points before the FA had decided this week to call the season to a halt. They were one point behind Birmingham, who had a game in hand and three points behind Bristol City.

Having chosen to use the Points Per Game system, however, the two time WSL Champions ultimately ended up with an average of 0.43 points per game, just 0.11 fewer than Birmingham.

Following the FA’s decision Liverpool Women’s Manager Vicky Jepson said:

“For me as the Manager it’s important that I reach out to the Liverpool fans and we need them more than ever to stick by our players because I have spoken to our girls today and they were extremely heartbroken by the decision and shocked as well as I am.

“It’s something we can’t control but what we can control is how we react to this outcome.  We’ve got to react in the best way possible and that is how we prepare in our pre-season and how we perform on the pitch next season.”

Aston Villa, who were six points clear of Sheffield United at the top of the Championship were subsequently declared Champions and will replace the Reds in next season’s top flight division.

At the other end of the table meanwhile Chelsea were declared league champions ahead of Manchester City, despite the Blues sitting a point behind the Manchester club they crucially had a game in hand on their title rivals before the season ended prematurely.

On being announced champions Chelsea Women Manager Emma Hayes said:

“Of course we would have preferred to play the remaining games, but players’ welfare was always our priority, and finishing the season was ultimately not possible.  We have to respect the decision of the FA, clubs and people involved in the game who have decided this was the best and fairest outcome.

“I also want to congratulate Manchester City and Arsenal on wonderful seasons.  The title-race was shaping up to be one of the best this country has ever witnessed and we look forward to competing again when WSL resumes.

“To our fans, I’m sorry we can’t celebrate with you but we will hopefully see you soon at Kingsmeadow.”

The new campaign is currently set to begin in September, however, FA Director Kelly Simmons has already had to deal with wide spread frustration that the Barclays Women Super League did not follow the example of the Frauen Bundesliga restart and the NWSL in the USA. She explained:

“The season ending early gives us the time to plan to come back bigger and better for the 2020-21 season, and we are determined to ensure we don’t lose the momentum generated before the country went into lockdown.

“The Barclays FA Women’s Super League is the only fully professional women’s league in Europe, and we are incredibly proud of how far it has come on, but we have to remember that it has only been professional for two seasons.”

Following all the momentum that women’s football has built up in this country the past few years, the agonising prospect of not having the WSL and the Championship on our screens until September means that it will be the best part of six months before the sport returns to the public eye.  Unfortunately this may inevitability mean having to build up people’s interest in the game again. 

How does the FA plan to complete the Women Super League season?

These are certainly challenging times for the sporting calendar across the board.

Particularly it seems for women’s football, this appears somewhat remarkable given its raised profile in this country over the last few years and when the FA announced the Women Super League as the first fully professional division in Europe back in 2017.

It looked as though the only way was up with the prospects of improved publicity and clearer career paths for young talent emerging through the ranks.

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown attendance records for women’s matches were rising significantly as 38,000 fans turned out at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium to see Arsenal’s 2-0 win over their North London rivals back in November of last year.

This in mind, 24/7 football decided to examine what the Football Association’s current plan is for completing the WSL season.

How many games are left?

There are 45 games of the current season still to be played and no WSL fixture has taken place since the 23 February, following an international break for the SheBelieves Cup involving England, Spain, Japan and the USA.

Current situation?

Already the tiers three to seven of the women’s football leagues in England have been declared null and void and subsequently the decision was confirmed on 9 April.  There is the prospect of the top two leagues in the Women’s game following this same line depending upon health advice given by the Government over the coming weeks.

What is the FA’s current plan?

The current plan that the Football Association is looking into is playing out the remaining fixtures all at one central venue behind closed doors with St.George’s Park, the FA’s English National football centre, currently being talked about as a possible location.

The earliest the campaign could begin however would be the weekend of the 6-7 June depending on the government’s advice and would rely on the players being able to begin training in the final week of May.

The completion date being targeted would therefore be the weekend of 18-19 July and would require each of the 12 WSL teams to play two matches per week.

It is understood that the FA would want any decisions made on the top women’s division to follow along with any similar choices made by the Premier League and the European Football governing body, UEFA.

How do the managers and players feel about this?

Manchester City and England striker Ellen White is hoping that the ‘crazy’ Super League season will be completed when the coronavirus is lifted.  White said:

“First and foremost I just want everyone to be healthy. I think everyone would love to finish the season but everyone’s health is the top priority.

“It’s been a pretty crazy season already and it’s a massive fight for who is going to win the league.”

Despite losing their manager Nick Cushing to New York City FC Manchester City found themselves a point clear ahead of their nearest rivals Chelsea. However their title rivals have a game in hand, which had set up an exciting finish until COVID-19 stopped all sport.

The Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes meanwhile has said:

“When the men’s professional game resumes the WSL should consider doing that but I understand if the season does not resume and life is ultimately more important. Hopefully when the times come to lift the restrictions we can all do it in the same way.”

While the Bristol City Women’s manager Tanya Oxtoby has recently expressed concerns that some players may in fact be struggling with anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 lockdown.  Oxtoby said

“Athletes like structure, routine and to be around each other.  So I think from a mental health point of view that’s probably very difficult.

“There’s also been the added stress in terms of finances and families, those are all factors that will affect individual players a little bit differently.”

This observation can certainly be applied to all sports personnel during this time. FIFA Pro recently carried out a survey alongside Amsterdam University on both male and female footballers which showed 22% of female players and 13% of male players have reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression.

What next?

The Football Association is determined to complete the current season but wants it finished by no later than early August.

The FA Women’s Director Kelly Simmons, supports this by saying:

“We are determined to finish the FA WSL, Women’s Championship and the FA Cup in the most appropriate way while it is also the intention of UEFA to complete the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

“We are doing everything we can to plan for the return of football but for now safety and welfare remains are primary concern.”

One thing is however clearly apparent; this is certainly an unprecedented time for all those involved and ultimately tough decisions will need to be made about the future and growth of the women’s game in the days ahead.

WSL Update: Week 10 round-up and Week 11 preview

The Robbins stun Casey Stoney’s United to record first league win, Sam Kerr makes a successful WSL debut for Chelsea and Nick Cushing’s Manchester City record a convincing victory against Tottenham

Bristol City enjoyed a fine start to the New Year as they secured their first league victory of the WSL season. City beat Manchester United 1-0 at United’s Leigh Valley Stadium. 

Former United player Ebony Salmon scored the only goal of the game in the first half by slotting the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Mary Earps.

Sophie Baggaley also performed a starring role for the West Country club in goal, as she pulled off a string of outstanding saves in the game’s closing stages.

Chelsea meanwhile had to come back from a goal down to see off Reading 3-1 at Kingsmeadow.

England’s most-capped international, Fara Williams had given the Royals an early lead before Reading keeper, Grace Moloney was sent off for a late challenge on Chelsea’s Australian debutant Sam Kerr.

Kerr is the Australian and American League record goal scorer who signed for the blues in November but was only available to make her first appearance for her new club in January.

Although she missed a few chances she was involved in the equaliser, producing a classy backheel to create the opening for Beth England to score.

Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert completed the scoring in the second half, securing the win for Emma Hayes’ side.

Elsewhere, two goals from Pauline Bremer helped Manchester City to a 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.  Rianna Dean managed to score a penalty for the home team, however further goals from Ellen White and Lauren Hemp put the result beyond any doubt.

The league leaders Arsenal were able to maintain their three point advantage by completing a 2-0 win over Birmingham City.  While Liverpool remained winless as they lost 1-0 to Hope Powell’s Brighton.

The final match between West Ham United and Everton was called off due to a flu outbreak within the East London side’s squad. A rescheduled date is to be confirmed.

Week 11 preview: Saturday 11thJanuary

Manchester City vs Everton (Kick-off 17:30) – BT Sport

The weekend kicks off with Nick Cushing’s team hosting an Everton side that have lost all of their six league matches against Manchester City.

It is set to be one of Cushing’s last games in charge of City as he is going off to take over as assistant manager at New York City in the MLS in February.

The Toffees will have to watch out for City’s top goal scorer Pauline Bremer, the German has scored three goals in her past two games.

Prediction City win 3-0

Predicting that Manchester City will maintain their strong start to 2020.

 Sunday 12thJanuary

Liverpool vs Manchester United (12:30)

Both of these sides are coming off the back off disappointing results last time out. Liverpool did manage a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in their last home game and are currently unbeaten in their last three home matches.

Manchester United however won the reverse fixture in the league back in September 2-0.  They will most likely be looking to their midfielder Lauren James to provide that spark.  James is currently United’s top league goal scorer with five goals.

Prediction: United win 2-1

Think that Manchester United will return to winning ways against Vicky Jepson’s team.

Brighton vs Arsenal (12:30)

Brighton have recently enjoyed an upturn in form in recent weeks aside from the 5-0 loss against Manchester City that is their only defeat in the past five matches.

The defending champions Arsenal meanwhile are on an even better run and have scored 28 goals in their last five games.

The Seagulls will have to pay close attention to Scottish international and Gunners captain Kim Little.  The midfielder has contributed three goals in her last three games and has been an integral part of the North London Club’s impressive run.

Prediction: Arsenal win 2-0

Anticipating that the Gunners will have too much for Seagulls.

Chelsea vs Bristol City (14:00)

The West Country side finally secured their first league win last time out against Manchester United.  They have also won their last two away games in all competitions that indicate that they are starting to turn a corner.

Chelsea however are the only unbeaten team left in the Women Super League and young English midfielder Beth England in particular has been impressive in recent weeks.

Prediction: Chelsea win 4-1

Reckon the blues will put on another strong showing in front of their own fans.

Reading vs Birmingham City (14:00)

Birmingham come into this game not in the best of form having lost three of their past four league matches.  The midlands side however have never lost to Reading in seven matches.

The Royals will most likely look to their England midfielder, Fara Williams to make the difference.  Williams made two assists in Reading’s last home win against Tottenham Hotspur back in December.

Prediction: Reading win 1-0

Believe that home advantage will give The Royals the edge against Birmingham this time around.

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United (14:00)

Tottenham are going through a bit of a tricky period as they have lost their last two league games.  They did however win the reverse fixture against the Hammers 2-0 at the Olympic Stadium in September.

West Ham meanwhile is going through a frustrating time as well as their last two league matches have been postponed for various reasons and they will hope that their squad has recovered from the flu they suffered last week.

Prediction: Draw 2-2

This is a difficult one to predict. So we are going with an entertaining score draw between these sides.