Tag Archives: Lucy Bronze

Manchester city book wembley place

Manchester City secured their place in the FA Cup Final with a 2-1 win over Arsenal at The Academy Stadium. Sam Mewis scored the winner with her first goal in English football. Steph Houghton had given City the lead before a stunning strike from Jordan Nobbs leveled the game.

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro commented during his pre match interview that the game would go to who took control early. This turned out to be the case as City started the brightest, getting their passing game going early. Arsenal struggled to gain a foothold in the early exchanges.

City Start strong

City created some early half chances Mewis shooting wide after some good interplay with Lucy Bronze. Sam Mewis was pulling the strings in midfield linking up well with Chole Kelly as City continue to work down the right side. A long cross field pass from Houghton finding Kelly deep inside the Arsenal half, but her shot from the right side went over the bar.

Despite their good work down the right, City’s opening goal came from the left. City won a freekick five/six yards from the Arsenal 18 yard box, just left of the goal. Houghton fired the ball over the wall and into the corner of the goal giving Arsenal keeper Zinsberger no chance.

City 1-0 Arsenal 19′

Arsenal struggling to get their passing flowing and were chasing shadows for long periods of the first half. Vivianne Miedema cut a lonely figure as the Gunners were unable to get the dutch forward in to the game. They did get level slightly against the run of play. Jordan Nobbs with a stunning first time strike looping the ball up and over Ellie Roebuck from 30 yards.

City 1-1 Arsenal 38′

Arsenals parity lasted just two minutes as City fired straight back. A fast pass cross along the six yard box form Chole Kelly towards the incoming Ellen White, who was blocked from goal by Leah Williamson. White managed to play the ball back towards the incoming Mewis who fired home. Arsenal players clamed a handball as White pulled the ball back but the referee gave the goal.

City 2-1 Arsenal 40′

Arsenal pressed for a second equaliser in the second half, Miedema latched on to a through ball and looked to be clear. Demi Stokes followed the run and made a superb challenge in the box, forcing Miedema inside but Stokes was there again to deny the Arsenal forward.

Arsenal kept going and had their best chance in stoppage time. A McCabe free kick straight into the wall fell back to her and she drove into the city box. Whipping a cross along the city six yard box towards Miedema charging in for a free header. With the goal wide open for Miedema to level the game, City keeper Ellie Roebuck’s outstretched hand pushed the ball away from the Arsenal player.

Full-Time City 2-1 Arsenal

After the game Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro told BBC Two:

“They dominated the first 60 minutes, they were better than us and we have no excuses”. “Its disappointing because we had the capacity to play well but tonight wasn’t the night”.

Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs also offered no excuse telling BBC Two:

“They dominated in the first half and were the better team. We didn’t keep the ball very well at times but in the second half we showed we can play football and if we played like that in the first half we would have been the better team”.

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor said:

“We played really well in the first half and I was really impressed with the performance and it could arguably have been a bigger lead going into half time”.

Speaking to BBC Two he went on:

“Arsenal had a really good go in the second half and it was fairly tight at the end but we came through”.

A deserved win for Manchester City that sees them head to Wembley to face Everton in the final. Arsenal gave a decent showing in the second half but overall the better team won.

Player of the Match

Sam Mewis gave a player of the match performance getting the winning goal but also pulling the strings in the middle of the park. She linked up well with Chole Kelly and looks to be one of the star players in the WSL this season.

WSL RoundUp Week Two: Champions Chelsea register first win of the 2020-21 Season

The latest round of Women Super League matches incredibly featured two sides scoring nine goals past their respective opponents. 

Indeed, WSL Champions Chelsea registered their first win of the campaign with a 9-0 win over Tanya Oxtoby’s Bristol City side.  

Emma Hayes’ Blues were ruthless in front of goal in an impressive team display, which saw nine different goal scorers.  England International Fran Kirby opened the scoring with her first WSL goal for 16 months since returning from pericarditis. 

The West London club doubled their advantage 16 minutes later through Norwegian defender Maren Mjelde from the penalty spot after Yana Daniels fouled Ji So-yun. 

Scottish winger Erin Cuthbert then ensured that Chelsea’s impressive performance continued as she provided the free kick for Melanie Leupolz to head home, before she scored herself from a long-range strike just outside the penalty area. Millie Bright then headed in the Blue’s fifth just before half time.

Things did not improve for The Robins in the second half as PFA Player of the Year Beth England tapped in from close range, before new signing Niamh Charles got in on the act by scoring on her first appearance for her new club.  

Record signing Pernille Harder then opened her goalscoring account with an impressive backheel into the net before Australian international Sam Kerr completed the rout.

The other team to score nine goals past their opponents was Arsenal, who secured a 9-1 win over London rivals West Ham. 

The match was selected as a test event for the reintroduction of crowds and the 734 fans certainly got their money’s worth. 

The two sides were evenly matched in the first part of the game as Jill Roord put the Gunners ahead with a side-footed finish before the hosts equalised through a Kenza Dali half volley just outside the area. 

The game, however, was effectively over as a contest when Hammer’s captain Gilly Flaherty was sent off just after Arsenal had retaken the lead through Dutch international Vivianne Miedema.

Midfielder Kim Little finished off a fine team move before England striker Beth Mead made it 4-1 to the North London side just before the break.  

The second half saw further misery for the home side and their fans as Roord scored a further two goals to ensure she went home with the match ball for the second game running.  

In between Roord’s goals Miedema was able to add another to her tally before Leah Williamson and Caitlin Foord completed the scoring, which saw the Gunners move to the top of the table, with two wins out of two and managing to score 15 goals in the process.    

New signings Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood meanwhile were unable to inspire Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City side, who, were held to a 0-0 draw in their first home match of the campaign by a stubborn Brighton team.

The other side of Manchester, however, had no such problems as they achieved their first three points of the campaign away at Birmingham City.  Casey Stoney’s Manchester United were successfully able to overturn a 2-1 half-time deficit thanks to two goals from Kirsty Hanson, who inspired United to a 5-2 win.  

Elsewhere, Reading were able to recover from a disappointing 6-1 opening day defeat to Arsenal with a strong first half display against newly promoted Aston Villa.  Goals from Amalie Eikeland, Laura Bruton and a Fara Williams penalty ensured The Royals of a commanding 3-0 lead at half-time.  

Although a penalty from Stine Larsen 11 minutes from the end offered the midlands side a way back into the game they ultimately never looked likely to threaten to get back into the match. 

The final WSL game saw Everton maintain their impressive start to the season with a 1-0 win over Tottenham.  The North London club were minus their new marque signing Alex Morgan, and ultimately did not offer much going forward.  Subsequently, they slumped to defeat on Merseyside, thanks to a header from England international Izzy Christiansen. 

What next?

The Women Super League takes a two-week break with the next round of games being played on Sunday 4thOctober.

Before that though, the weekend of the 26/27thSeptember features Women’s FA Cup Quarter Finals, which includes a North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham. WSL Champions Chelsea, meanwhile, travel to in-form Everton, while Championship side Leicester City take on Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City. 

The remaining Quarter Final sees Hope Powell’s Brighton host Midlands side, Birmingham City. 

Women’s FA Quarter Final Ties

Saturday 26thSeptember

Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Women (12:30pm)

Everton Women vs Chelsea Women (1pm)

Leicester City Women vs Manchester City Women (1pm)

Sunday 27thSeptember

Brighton & Hove Albion Women vs Birmingham City Women (3pm)

Should Lucy Bronze now be considered the best England player of all time?

This week England full back Lucy Bronze returned to the Women Super League, signing a two-year contract with her previous club, Manchester City. 

Bronze concluded her three-year stay with Olympiqe Lyon Feminine by lifting the Champions League last month as the French side secured the trophy with a 3-1 win over Frauen Bundesliga Champions VlB Wolfsburg in San Sebastian. 

During her remarkably successful time with the French Champions, she won all that was available to her: claiming three Champions League titles, three league titles, two Coup de France Feminine and a Trophee des Championnes.

Indeed, the 28-year old also secured a number of individual allocates, including the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2019. 

On Bronze’s return to Manchester, Head Coach Gareth Taylor said:

“She is an unrivalled talent and her endless individual and team awards only scratch the surface of what a superb player she is, not only at Club level, but also internationally with England.”

For the Three Lions Bronze has also produced some memorable moments, one that immediately springs to mind is that stunning goal against Norway in their last 16 game back in 2015.

This, however, begs the question, should she now be considered the best female player that England has ever produced?

Well, when you think of great England Women footballer’s one name that immediately springs to mind is Kelly Smith.

Smith was able to successfully represent the Three Lions for the best part of two decades earning 117 caps. She was one who arguably blazed a trail for future England footballers such as Bronze. 

During her club career she scored a remarkable 125 goals in 144 games for Arsenal Ladies over three separate spells with the Gunners. 

Smith also played for a number of American football teams such as New Jersey Lady Stallions, Philadelphia Charge and New Jersey Wildcats in her eight years in the USA. 

Ultimately, Smith ended her career with 20 trophies in three separate, which included starring in Arsenal’s amazing 2006-07 season where they secured the Quadruple.  She played a key part of this success by scoring 30 goals in 34 matches across those four competitions.  She was also presented the FA Player of Year award twice. 

BBC Match of the Day commentator Jonathan Pearce said:

“She had power, strength, a lovely eye for a pass, finishing of course and was so dynamic in the penalty area. 

“She was a leader because of the way she played, that she demanded respect from her opponents and team-mates.  She was the first England women’s football superstar.” 

In short, what Smith was able to achieve while the English game was not fully professional was terrific but Bronze is certainly on the right path to either match or surpass her.

It is, however, difficult to compare the two players directly as they play different positions.  Bronze is the epitome of the modern day full back, while she can also be utilised in midfield and at times the centre of defence, where as Smith applied her trade typically further forward as a striker.

Overall I would still consider to be Smith to be the greatest player to come from these shores having been able to perform at a consistently high level for a number of years, added to that Bronze has still to win a European trophy with an English club. 

The 28-year old, however, certainly is on the right path and comes back to the WSL at a time when the League has a chance to establish itself as the world’s finest women’s division.  

What do you think? Should Lucy Bronze be considered England’s greatest ever player? Would Kelly Smith still get your vote? Feel free to post in the comments below….

Women’s Champions League : Who are the Last Eight?

The Women’s elite European competition is set to resume this week and just like the men’s tournament, it will be an eight-team knockout format with one-off ties.

The tournament will run from the 21-30thAugust with the games due to be played out in Spain at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao and the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian.

So, with that in mind, who are the remaining sides left in the competition?

Glasgow City

Beginning with Scottish side, Glasgow City, who have been the dominant side in Scotland for the best part of a decade.  They are appearing in the Quarter Finals for just the second time in their history.  Their only previous Quarter Final was against French side Paris Saint Germain back in 2015, which resulted in a 7-0 on aggregate loss.

Scott Booth, who has been in charge since 2015, currently coaches them. The Scottish side beat Brondby 3-1 on penalties in the previous round of 16 to get to this stage, following a 2-2 on aggregate scoreline. It is, however, difficult to see them progressing much further as they face a formidable German outfit in the form of VfL Wolfsburg.

VfL Wolfsburg

The German Champions, VfL Wolfsburg will be out to add the Champions League title to an already impressive 2019/20 campaign. They have previously won the Champions League in 2013 and 2014.  This made them the first German team to successful defend the European crown.

They comfortably saw off Dutch side FC Twente 7-0 on aggregate in the previous round and are rightly considered one of the tournament favourites alongside defending champions Lyon to lift the trophy in San Sebastian.

Atletico Madrid

Spanish side, Atletico Madrid are appearing in the Quarter Finals for the very first time.  In their four previous appearances they have never managed to get further than the last 16 where they have lost to Lyon in 2015-16 and Wolfsburg in 2018-19. They impressively saw off WSL runners-up Manchester City in the previous round.

The Madrid based side have been pretty inconsistent this season even though they managed to finish second in the Primera Iberdrola behind their Quarter Final opponents Barcelona.  Their preparation has also been disrupted after five of their players tested positive for COVID-19 last week leading to the cancellation of their training sessions.  Will subsequently begin their all-Spanish tie as underdogs.

Barcelona

The second of the two Spanish sides in the last eight, Barcelona were in the process of having their most successful season ever. The Catalan club had won 19 of their 21 league matches as well as the Supercopa de Espana.  They subsequently claimed the Primera Iberdrola by a nine-point margin and their first since 2015.

Lluis Cortes’s side saw off Belarus’s FC Minsk in the Last 16 and will start the Quarter Final with domestic rivals Atletico as clear favourites.

Arsenal

The Gunners are set to take part in their first WCL Quarter-Final in six years.  The North London club will need to win the competition to qualify for next season’s Champions League as they finished in third in the Women Super League.

Joe Montemurro’s side will be hoping the Football Writers Footballer of The Year, Vivianne Miedema can fire his team to European glory.  Their tie with Paris Saint Germain, however, is one that could certainly go either way.

Paris Saint Germain

French side Paris Saint Germain have reached the final of this competition twice before, their last of these was back in 2015 where they lost to FFC Frankfurt. Head Coach Olivier Echouafni has been in charge since 2018.

Echouafni’s team defeated Breidablik in the Last 16 and their tie with Arsenal is arguably the hardest to predict.

Olympique Lyon

Olympique Lyon has won the Division 1 Feminine an impressive 14 times in a row since the side was formed back in 2004. They have also won the Champions League a record six-times and are rightfully considered favourites to go all the way again.

Managed by Jean-Luc Vasseur their squad includes the likes of England international fullback Lucy Bronze, winger Nikita Parris and BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year for 2019, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich are coached by Jens Scheuer, who has had the unenviable task of playing catch up with VfL Wolfsburg, who have won the Frauen Bundesliga crown for the past four years.

Last season’s Semi Finalists, however, were confidently able to dispatch BIIK- Kazygurt in the last round. The German side have a tough ask to progress any further as they face last season’s winners, Olympique Lyon next.

Tournament Schedule

Friday 21stAugust

Glasgow City vs Wolfsburg (5pm kick-off Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian)

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona (5pm kick-off San Mames Stadium, Bilbao – BT Sport 3 HD

Saturday 22ndAugust

Arsenal vs Paris Saint Germain (7pm kick-off Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian) – BT Sport 1 HD

 Lyon vs Bayern Munich (7pm kick-off San Mames Stadium, Bilbao) – BT Sport 2 HD

 Tuesday 25thAugust

Glasgow City/Wolfsburg vs Atletico/Barcelona (7pm Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian) – BT Sport 1 HD

 Wednesday 26thAugust

Arsenal/PSG vs Lyon/Bayern (7pm San Mames Stadium, Bilbao) – BT Sport 1 HD

Sunday 30thAugust

Final (7pm Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian) – BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate

How to watch?

All the matches will be available to watch on BT Sport.

Who do you fancy to go all the way to lift the trophy in San Sebastian on Sunday 30th August?

Man City Women snap up Chloe Kelly on Free Transfer from Everton

Man City Women have bolstered their ranks ahead of the upcoming WSL season with the signing of talented striker Chloe Kelly from Everton.

The England international, rejected a new contract with the Toffees to sign for the Citizens on a three year deal. She will wear the number nine shirt at City, and is new manager Gareth Taylor’s  first signing since taking charge.

The 22 year old started her career at Arsenal, scoring just 22 minutes into her debut against Watford in the Continental Cup in July 2015. She made a further 12 appearances for the Gunners, scoring two more goals, before heading to Everton on loan.

The club were in the WSL 2 at the time and Kelly made nine starts, netting twice, as Everton finished top of the table in the Spring Series. She then returned to Merseyside for a second spell when Everton were promoted to the WSL 1 in 2017.

She made the move permanent in January 2018 and hasn’t looked back since, playing 32 games and scoring 11 goals, earning plaudits for her terrific performances up front.

The majority of those strikes came in 2019-20 as Kelly enjoyed a stellar season. She bagged nine goals in just twelve games in the WSL before the campaign was abruptly ended due to the coronavirus pandemic as Everton finished sixth.

She declined to extend her stay on Merseyside, citing her need to challenge for trophies and to play in Europe as a determining factor in her switch to City.

Kelly is also experienced on the international scene having featured for the Three Lions from U15 level right through to senior level, making her debut for the Lionesses as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Austria in November 2018.

She was also part of the England U20 side who won bronze at the 2018 FIFA U20 World Women’s Cup and has since won three more caps for England.

Upon putting pen to paper, Kelly told City’s official website of her delight at joining the club:

“I’m unbelievably excited. I’m just so happy to have the deal sorted and I can’t wait to get going – I’m honoured to be a City player.

“Manchester City are a hugely ambitious club whose aspirations match my own and as soon as I had my initial discussions with the staff, I knew there and then that it was the place I wanted to be.”

She credits new manager Gareth Taylor, who has taken the reigns after Nick Cushing’s departure, for persuading her to choose Manchester as her new home, stating:

“Having spoken to Gareth too after he joined the team, I could sense immediately what a great manager he is and I was excited by the idea of working with him.”

The signing represents a huge coup for Man City, who were cruelly pipped to the title this season on points per game by Chelsea, who had a game in hand before the curtailment of the WSL.

Taylor expressed his delight at the signing to City’s official website:

“We’re thrilled that Chloe has put pen to paper to join us here at Manchester City.

“She is an incredibly exciting young talent who has broken onto the scene in the Women’s Super League and the England set-up in recent years, but there’s still so much more to come from her.”

City also announced that defender Gemma Bonner has penned a two year contract extension, with the 28 year old telling City’s site:

“I’ve had a really good two years, especially last season. I played some of my best football with some incredible players around me, so I can’t wait to continue that journey.”

The Telegraph has reported that City are close to further strengthening their squad, having agreed deals for Lyon duo Lucy Bronze, who left City for France in 2017 and Alex Greenwood who previously featured for rivals Man United.

They signed short term contracts to allow them to play in the Champions League with the French champions but they are set to leave once the tournament is concluded in August.