Tag Archives: England

WSL Update: Storm Ciara forces all Women Super League matches to be postponed…

 The Women Super League matches this past weekend were postponed due to the adverse weather caused by Storm Ciara. 

 The main cause of concern was “crowd safety” that could not be guaranteed because of the extreme weather conditions.

Roughly 20,000 were expected to attend the WSL Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park however due to the high winds on Merseyside, this made travelling to and from the match extremely dangerous.

Details of the rearranged fixtures will be released in the next few weeks. 

Mid-Week Preview

Fortunately the WSL clubs will not have to wait long until they are back in action with a full round of fixtures due to take place on Wednesday 12th February and Thursday 13thFebruary.

February 12th

Chelsea vs Birmingham City (Kick-off 7pm)

These two sides could not have more contrasting form coming into this one.  Chelsea have enjoyed seven wins in a row in all competitions, while Birmingham have lost their last four league games.

The Blues however did win at Sheffield United in the FA Cup and their last league win also came away from home against Bristol City.

The Midlands club will have to keep one of the league’s in form strikers, Beth England has managed six goals in her past seven games including two in her last game in the 8-0 win over West Ham United.

Prediction Chelsea 5-0 win

Predicting another convincing win for the only unbeaten side in the WSL.

Manchester City vs Bristol City (7pm)

This is another game where one of the league’s title contenders meets a team who is struggling near the bottom of the table.

The Robins’ performances have improved in recent weeks and they did spring a surprise last time they visited Manchester where they beat Manchester United 1-0.

In order to cause another upset they will almost certainly have to keep the prolific striker Pauline Bremer quiet.  The German has managed ten goals in the WSL so far this season.

Prediction City 4-1 win

City’s home form is very good so we can’t see them slipping up here. 

Reading vs West Ham United (7:30pm)

There are just five points and two places separating these two teams.

Both these teams have also enjoyed a mixed run of results and have secured two wins in their last five matches. There are certainly more question marks over the Hammers however as they are coming off the back of an 8-0 hammering against Chelsea.

The Royals meanwhile currently sit sixth and managed to secure a draw against Manchester United in their last game.  Lastly, West Ham has managed to come away with the three points in both of their previous league visits to Reading.

Prediction Reading 2-0 win

We fancy Reading to secure their first home win over the Hammers.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (7:30pm)

Spurs are certainly fairing pretty well in their first season in the Super League, while Everton are still flying high in fifth and if results go their way could find themselves in the top four.

The North London side have been strong at home in recent weeks winning four of their last five games, with their only defeat coming against the league leaders Manchester City.

Following a strong start to the campaign the Toffees are starting to struggle and have lost three of their last four Super League matches, including a 1-0 defeat to strugglers Brighton.

The Merseyside club will be looking to their star striker Chloe Kelly who recently scored a hat trick in their 3-1 win over Reading.  Kelly has managed eight goals in the WSL this season.

Prediction: Draw 2-2

We are going for a score draw in this one.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United (7:45pm)

Hope Powell will certainly be far happier with her sides’ displays in recent weeks.  The Seagulls have particularly enjoyed some strong showings in front of their home fans recently having won three of their past five matches.

Manchester United meanwhile are going through a tricky spell in their season, having been knocked out of two competitions in a space of a few days against Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.

Casey Stoney’s side are also still awaiting their first away win of 2020.

Prediction: Brighton 2-1 win

We think that Hope Powell’s side have what it takes to spring another surprise and take another step towards safety. 

February 13th

Liverpool vs Arsenal (7pm)

At the start of the year Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool looked the clear favourites to be relegated from the WSL.

Since securing a surprise 1-1 draw with Chelsea the reds have managed two wins in their last three, including a crucial 1-0 win over relegation rivals Bristol City.

Arsenal however are now certainly up against it if they want to retain their WSL title having lost to their rivals Manchester City last time out.  Joe Montemurro’s team cannot afford any more slip-ups if want to maintain their faint title hopes.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 win

It was a surprisingly close game between these two sides back in November with the Gunners winning 1-0, so we are anticipating another tight match with Arsenal just coming away with the three points. 

Nottingham Forest 2 – Leeds United 0

Nottingham Forest produced a fine display in front of a vibrant sell-out City Ground crowd to close the gap to the automatic promotion places to just a single point.

Sabri Lamouchi made one change from last weekend’s defeat to Birmingham City as the returning Samba Sow replaced Ryan Yates in the centre of the Forest midfield. There was also a place on the substitutes’ bench for new signing Gaetan Bong following his arrival from Brighton and Hove Albion.

The match started fairly slowly, Forest’s first effort on target coming from Thiago Silva whose long-range shot was easily saved. Forest also had a good penalty shout when Joe Worall was pulled to the ground from a corner kick.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men were looking dangerous coming forward but as is so often the case lacked the cutting edge in attack. Ezgjan Alioski came close as his effort deflected off Joe Lolley on the edge of the Forest box but fortunately for The Reds, it drifted wide of Brice Samba’s goal.

Forest made the most of that scare as they hit the front two minutes later. Ameobi got his head down and drove into the Leeds penalty area Forest made the most of that scare as they hit the front two minutes later. Ameobi got his head down and drove into the Leeds penalty area following a good one-two with Yuri Ribero, Ameobi had the option the cross to Lewis Grabban who was in a good position but lashed a shot beyond Casilla who looked as if he was expecting Ameobi the cross to the delight of the ecstatic Reds supporters.


Arguably, Forest deserved their advantage and they certainly should have doubled the lead ten minutes into the second half. A superb driving run from Lolley made space inside the final third, he laid the ball off to Lewis Grabban and despite shifting it cleverly to the right, he then drilled his shot straight at the legs of a floored Casilla.


Forest keeper Samba produced an outstanding save to keep Forest in front with 15 minutes to play. Liam Cooper was left unmarked inside the Forest penalty area and he met a left-wing corner and despite Samba being on the floor at the time, he stretched a hand up into the air to miraculously claw the defender’s header off the line. From some angles, in the crowd, the ball looked over the line but TV goal-line technology showed the ball was plum on the line when Samba punched it away.


In the final minute of stoppage time, Joe Lolley did superbly well to win the ball inside the Leeds half, powered on into the box and squared it to the supporting Walker who tapped home into Casilla’s unguarded net. It was a dream return to Forest for Walker who came on as a late substitute for Lewis Grabban to make his first City Ground appearance in around 2 years, during which he has enjoyed excellent scoring form in loan spells at Mansfield and Lincoln.

There was a big-game feel on Trentside and Forest were the team who left with all the glory. It was an absorbing, entertaining end-to-end contest, despite Leeds predictably having 70% possession they struggled to create a cut chance, with Forest once again proving they are hard to break down and looked by far the more threatening in an energetic, resourceful and clinical counter-attacking display.

Nottingham Forest boss, Sabri Lamouchi: “It was a massive result and a massive performance against a fantastic team. Leeds made more mistakes than usual, but we disturbed them without the ball. My players played with fight and determination and they played so well today. The players made me so proud and happy. We have 15 more games and we play again in three days. This league is crazy and you must be ready each game. My goal was to finish the season, the last time a [Forest] manager did that was 11 or 12 seasons ago.”

Match Stats

FORESTLEEDS
POSSESION30%70%
SHOTS1413
SHOTS ON TARGET61
CORNERS 38
FOULS 1114
Click above to watch match highlights on youtube

WSL Update: Nick Cushing signs off with a win against Arsenal

Departing Manchester City manger Nick Cushing ended his six-year stint with the club this past weekend by completing a 2-1 win over Arsenal.

Cushing was presented with an achievement award before the game by current club captain Steph Houghton.

During Cushing’s time with the club he led them to one league title, two Women’s FA Cups and three Women’s League Cup’s.

In form striker Pauline Bremer scored the opener for City just before half time from close range. Lauren Hemp doubled their advantage with a looping header.

Danielle Van de Donk pulled a goal back for the Gunners but it was not enough to deny Cushing a dream send off.

The win leaves City a point ahead of closest challengers Chelsea, however the Citizens have played a game more than Emma Hayes’ side.

Chelsea maintained their impressive form by scoring eight goals past West Ham United in an 8-0 win over Matt Beard’s team.

Both Maren Mjelde and Beth England scored twice, while further goals from Scottish winger Erin Cuthbert, Sophie Ingle and substitutes Ramona Bachmann and Emily Murphy completed the scoring.

Casey Stoney’s Manchester United were denied all three points at Adams Park thanks to a Fara Williams penalty, which earned Reading a 1-1 draw with the Red Devils. Both sides remain fourth and sixth respectively in the WSL.

Elsewhere Brighton secured a crucial home win against Everton thanks to a goal from Aileen Whelan, who found the bottom right hand corner of the net against her former club.

This win means that the Seagulls are now six points clear of the relegation zone and are in ninth place.

The other two WSL matches, Liverpool versus Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur against Bristol City suffered postponements due to waterlogged pitches.

A Look ahead to this weekend’s fixtures

Sunday 9 February

Everton vs Liverpool (Kick-off 2pm)

Goodison Park is set to host its first Women Super League Merseyside Derby. The previous league meeting between the sides took place at Anfield for the first time last November where Everton secured a 1-0 win.

The Toffee’s recent home form in all competitions has been strong, as they have won three of their last five matches.

Everton’s Merseyside rivals meanwhile have also witnessed an upsurge in form having only lost one of their last five matches.  Although the Reds match with Birmingham City was postponed last weekend.

In terms of the head to head meetings both sides have now won two matches apiece, however the Toffees have won two of their last three encounters with their fierce rivals.

Prediction 1-1 draw

We are anticipating a closely fought encounter between these two sides, predicting that the spoils will be shared on this occasion. 

Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (2pm)

The WSL fixture list has provided another famous English derby this weekend.

Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal side have endured a tricky time of it as of late, having lost to both their title rivals consecutively in the league.

Their North London rivals however are also going through a difficult spell, particularly away from home where they have lost four of their last five matches.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 win

Predicting the Gunners to get back to winning ways.

Birmingham City vs Brighton & Hove Albion (2pm)

Only one place separates these teams in the table ahead of this weekends matches.

Hope Powell’s Brighton got a big win against Everton last time out, though they are still to record a victory away from home in the WSL this season.

Birmingham meanwhile is also struggling for results, having lost four of their last five games.  Their last league win came against fellow strugglers Bristol City at the start of December.

The Seagulls have got a slight edge over their relegation rivals in terms of head-to head encounters having won two of their three meetings.

Prediction: Birmingham 2-1 win

We think due to the fact the pressure is on Birmingham to win this weekend that they will get the result they need.

Bristol City vs Reading (3pm)

This is a crucial game for the league’s bottom side, with two of their relegation rivals playing each other this weekend.

Bristol City are still to win a home league game in this campaign and they have also lost their last five matches in all competitions so the signs do not look good for Tanya Oxtoby’s team.

Reading also have enjoyed a lot of success against the West Midlands club having won five and drawn just once against them in the league.

Prediction: Reading 3-1 win

We believe that all signs seem to point to a relatively comfortable Reading victory.

West Ham United vs Manchester City (3pm)

The WSL leaders Manchester City begin life without Nick Cushing with a trip to East London.

Alan Mahon, previously the assistant manager, is taking interim charge until the end of the season and he will be determined to get off to a good start.

West Ham meanwhile are coming off the back of a heavy 8-0 defeat to City’s title rivals Chelsea, so they will be coming into this one looking to avoid further humiliation.

The reverse fixture between these sides resulted in 5-0 for Manchester City so it promises to be a tough afternoon for the Hammers.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 win

Manchester City has won all three previous encounters with West Ham in the league and we believe they will get the three points in this one to get Mahon off to a winning start.

Manchester United vs Chelsea (4:30pm) – BT Sport

The final game of the weekend promises to be an intriguing one.  Both of these teams met in the Continental Tyres Cup Semi-Final just a week ago with Chelsea coming out 1-0 winners on that occasion, setting up an all London final with Arsenal next month.

In the league’s reverse fixture the Blues also ran out 1-0 winners so all signs seem to point to another close encounter.

Casey Stoney’s side has also only lost twice in the league at home this season.

Prediction Chelsea 2-1 win

We believe this will be another close game with the title favourites Chelsea just coming away with the win.  

WSL Update: Chelsea’s title to lose?

The Blues took what appears to be a giant step towards the title against London rivals Arsenal last time out. 

New Australian signing Sam Kerr scored her first goal for the club as Chelsea scored three times in 20 minutes at the home of the defending champions on their way to a 4-1 victory.

Emma Hayes’ side now have a game in hand over their title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal and are just a point further back in third.

At the other end of the table meanwhile Liverpool finally got their first victory of the season to leapfrog Bristol City.

The reds secured a 1-0 victory over the West-Midlands side thanks to a 13thminute strike from their new signing, Rachel Furness.

Both the Manchester clubs also won, Manchester City kept their title hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City.

Ellen White scored against her old club in just the first minute of the match and midfielder Keira Walsh completed the scoring with a strike from the edge of the area.

Manchester United’s captain, Katie Zelem scored twice as the red devils got the better of Tottenham Hotspur, emerging 3-0 winners.

Elsewhere, Chloe Kelly scored a hat trick as Everton beat Reading 3-1 to secure their first victory in four matches and Alisha Lehmann’s two late goals helped West Ham come from behind to beat Brighton 2-1.

Matchday Previews and Predictions

Sunday 2ndFebruary

Liverpool vs Birmingham City (Kick-off 12pm)

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool team have enjoyed a revival of late by winning three of their last five games in all competitions. They also secured their first league win of the campaign against fellow strugglers Bristol City.  They also put eight goals past Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup.

Birmingham City by contrast have lost four of their past five games and are currently only a point and a place ahead of Liverpool.

The Blues however did win the reverse fixture back in October 2-0 thanks to goals from their captain Kerys Harrop and Lucy Staniforth.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0

We fancy Liverpool to continue their recent impressive run and secure their second victory of the season. 

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton (2pm)

Everton have won their past two games in all competitions after suffering back to back 3-1 defeats against both Arsenal and Manchester City.  The Toffees currently sit fifth in the table and just goal difference separates them from Manchester United above them in fourth.

Brighton meanwhile could certainly do with a win to ease their regelation concerns, Hope Powell’s team are currently only three points off the bottom. Since beating Liverpool 1-0 at home at the start of January the Seagulls have lost their last three league matches.

Prediction: Brighton 1-0

The Seagulls are under pressure to get a result and we think with home advantage they have what it takes to cause an upset. 

Chelsea vs West Ham United (2pm)

The Blues are flying at the moment, having beaten the defending champions Arsenal last time out they have also secured their place in the Continental Tyres Cup Final by beating Manchester United in the week.

The London side also find themselves in prime position for the WSL title with a game in hand and their two title rivals playing against each other this weekend.

The Hammers’ form has been very up and down in recent weeks and they have also never beaten their London rivals in four previous encounters.  They did however manage to get a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season.

Prediction: Chelsea 4-0

We anticipate another comprehensive Chelsea victory.

Manchester City vs Arsenal (2pm)

This is certainly the game of the weekend.  The match also marks Nick Cushing’s final game in charge of Manchester City before he heads off to become Assistant Manager of New York City FC.

The sides met in mid-week with Arsenal emerging victorious in their Continental Tyres Cup Semi-final 2-1 to secure a place in the final against Chelsea at the Nottingham Forest City Ground at the end of next month.

Not only is it the Manchester City manager’s final game in charge, this match certainly has huge ramifications for both teams in terms of their title chances.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-2

We are just giving the edge to Manchester City due to home advantage and the fact that it is their manager’s last game in charge.  Anticipating an open game with plenty of goals.

Reading vs Manchester United (2pm)

Both of these sides have suffered two defeats in their last three games.  Manchester United in particular have gone out of two-cup competitions in the space of a few days to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.

The Royals meanwhile have lost their last two league games against Arsenal and Everton, however they were both away from home. They did win their last home match against Birmingham City 1-0 thanks to a goal from Amalie Eikeland.

The Red Devils secured a 2-0 win when the sides met back at the end of October.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-0

We think that Casey Stoney’s Manchester United will bounce back from their recent disappointments in this one. 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bristol City (2pm)

The final match sees Spurs hosting bottom side Bristol City.  The London side won emerged victorious in the only encounter between the sides earlier this season in a hard fought 2-1 win.

Bristol City’s form has improved in recent weeks as they have won three of their past five matches including a 1-0 win against Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspur however have lost three of their past four games, but their one victory did come at home against fellow London side West Ham.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1

We believe that Tottenham will come away with the three points. 

 

 

Brentford 0-1 Forest – Match Report

On a massive night in the race for promotion to the Premier League then 4th placed Nottingham Forest took on 5th placed Brentford at Griffin Park. The match was a big test of both teams’ promotion credentials, Brentford were on a 6 game winning streak at home and the Forest boss said pre-match that it would be a tactical battle.

It was he who won the battle with a slight change to the way he lined his side up; Joe Lolley moved from his normal wide birth to a number 10 role and Tiago Silva moved to the left-hand side. This move worked a treat and caught Brentford by surprise – as not only was Lolley causing danger running through the centre of the pitch, he was stopping Brentford deep-lying playmaker Christian Norgaard from getting on the ball. It was Lolley himself who got the goal in the 14th minute. A Forest corner was half-cleared to Lolley who had time to get his shot away which took a deflection into the top corner.

Brentford started and continued to dominate the possession but Forest have shown this season they know how to deal with pressure away from home and hit teams superbly on the counter-attack. Brentford were put off by Forest’s physicality and perceived time-wasting, with goalkeeper Brice Samba getting booked for taking too long to take a free-kick after just 24 minutes.

The match was being played at frenetic tempo with action at both ends of the pitch. Forest should have had the chance to go 2 up when Lewis Grabban was tugged back in the area but for some reason, the penalty was not given, Brentford broke from that incident to create their best opportunity for Ollie Watkins but their top scorer blazed over.

Brentford pushed on after half time in pursuit of an equaliser but again Forest were a threat on the break and Lewis Grabban had a great chance when a long ball dropped for him in the box but keeper David Raya saved at point-blank range. Brentford’s famous “BMW” frontline were superbly managed by the Forest defenders and although Brentford had chances, they didn’t come off.

The victory saw Forest climb to third in the table, with West Brom losing 2-1 at Cardiff, and just 2 points behind the baggies in 2nd place. Leeds went back to the top after a thrilling three goal comeback from 2-0 down.

Forest face Leeds at home in 10 days and West Brom a week later in two vital and exciting games. The opportunity is there for Forest to overtake their rivals. Of Course, it is exciting to be in with the chance of automatic promotion, but a play-off spot would be great.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank said after that match:

” It was a 0-0 game and not a good game of football for both sides. Forest are a good side and they are where they are for a reason. They are well organised and set out to make it scrappy from minute one. When you see them time-wasting so early you know you have done something good at Griffin Park. They paid us a lot of respect and didn’t let us get any tempo in the game.”

Nottingham Forest’s Sabri Lamouchi:

“[It was a] massive win on a difficult pitch against one of the best teams in the league. The players’ attitude, character, and personality was perfect. We were lucky to score early on and this changed the game, but to be honest the team deserved this result.” He added in an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham that he was hoping for a good surprise in the transfer market and chose to rather praise his current squad than talk about possible incomings.

Forest are desperate for a striker to ease the pressure, workload and help Lewis Grabban. Nakki Wells has been heavily linked and would be top of the list. It will come down to how much forest are willing to pay and if Wells is happy enough to possibly be the second choice to Grabban.