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Women Super League – 24/7 Football weekly round-up and predictions

Women’s Football Weekend: 16-17thNovember

WSL attendance figures soared as the first ever Women’s football weekend proved a huge success and as the Tottenham co-head coach, Karen Hill expressed,

 “ It shouldn’t be a moment – it should be something that hopefully becomes the norm.”

More than 70,000 attended the six matches on show last weekend that included a Super League record 38,262 fans at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium watching Arsenal’s 2-0 win against North London rivals Tottenham.   This surpassed the previous record that was set on the opening day of the campaign at the Manchester Derby by a further 5,265.

In terms of the League itself after six games played only a point separates the top three of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The league leaders, Chelsea secured a 1-0 win against newly promoted Manchester United in front of a sell out 4,790 crowd at the Cherry Record Stadium, thanks to a penalty from Norway defender, Maren Majelde in the 68thminute.

Casey Stoney’s United side were unfortunate not to get anything from the match as their striker, Ella Toone was denied by the woodwork eight minutes from the end.

England’s Georgia Stanway featured heavily in Manchester City’s 5-0 win over West Ham United, the midfielder scored twice but was then sent off in the second half on what was her 100thappearance for the club.

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool are still searching for their first win of the campaign after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton, in the first ever Super League match to be held at Anfield.

A mistake from Liverpool keeper Anke Preuss, who fumbled Lucy Graham’s strike into the goal before half time ultimately proved the difference between the two teams.

Brighton & Hove Albion however were able to secure their first win of the season at the Amex Stadium as they beat Birmingham City 3-0 thanks to two goals from striker, Kayleigh Green.  Bristol City meanwhile twice came back from two goals against Reading at the Madjeski Stadium to draw 3-3.

Preview and Predictions for Week Seven – Sunday November 24th

Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion (12:30pm)

Following Brighton’s first win of the campaign last weekend; the seagulls travel to face Casey Stoney’s Manchester United at the Leigh Sports Village.  Hope Powell’s team have now won their last two games in all competitions, having also won 5-0 against the London Bees in the Continental Tyres Cup on Wednesday and look to have turned a corner after a difficult start to the season.  United however will be determined to bounce back from last weekend’s set back against Chelsea.

Prediction: 2-0 Manchester United

Despite Brighton’s recent upturn in form I think Manchester United played well last week and were unlucky to not get anything. I can see them returning to winning ways in the league.

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur (12:30pm)

Spurs come into this game having lost back-to-back games against their London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea in all competitions. Everton meanwhile won a closely fought Merseyside Derby and are one of this season’s surprise packages having won four of their six games in the league so far and are currently sitting fourth.

Prediction: 2-1 Everton

I reckon that the Toffees will maintain their impressive start to the season, Tottenham are currently going through a tricky period and I believe that will continue at Everton’s Haig Avenue.

Bristol City vs Manchester City (12:30pm) – Live on the BBC Red Button and Online

Bristol City is one of two sides in the Super League who have yet to record a victory this season.  Their were however signs that things are started to turn around for them as they showed plenty of character to claim a point at Reading last time out.  Nick Cushing’s City side have been very impressive so far this campaign, despite being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid last month they have only lost once in the league so far this season.

Prediction: 3-0 Manchester City

Despite an improved display by the West Midlands side in their last match I cannot see them getting anything against one of the leading sides.

Arsenal vs Liverpool (2pm)

The Gunners head into this game in fine form having won five out of their last six matches in all competitions.  Their opponents, Liverpool however are in desperate need of a win having lost three matches and are still to win in the league this season. Vicky Jepson’s side however did play well against their Merseyside rivals last time out that demonstrates a first win might not be too far away.

Prediction: 4-0 Arsenal

Joe Montemurro’s team are on an impressive run and think that will continue against the league’s bottom side.

Birmingham City vs Chelsea (2:45pm) – Live on BT Sport 1

The Midlands side have proved to be a tough nut for the league leaders to crack in recent times. Emma Hayes’ team lost their last league meeting 3-2 back in January of this year at the Cherry Red Record Stadium and they could only draw the corresponding fixture 0-0 last season. Birmingham has however struggled to replicate their form of the last campaign having only managed one win in the league this season against the bottom side, Liverpool.

Prediction: 3-1 Chelsea

I don’t think that Birmingham are playing well enough at the moment to cause the West London side the same problems that they did last season.

West Ham United vs Reading (3pm)

Both of these sides have enjoyed mixed starts to the season so far, the Royals are currently one point and one place ahead of this Sunday’s opponents in seventh.  The Hammers however have won two of the three league meetings between the teams, but the corresponding fixture last season finished 0-0.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Both sides are currently struggling for consistency and both managers will think this is a game that they cannot afford to lose.

Another injury blow for City before the Liverpool clash?

Manchester City could be without Ederson going into Sunday’s clash against Premier League leaders Liverpool after the goalkeeper picked up a muscular injury during Wednesday’s match against Atalanta.

The Brazilian shot stopper was substituted at half-time of the Champions League fixture, and was replaced by 36-year-old Claudio Bravo, who was later sent off, forcing right-back Kyle Walker to finish the match in goal.

And City boss Pep Guardiola is unsure whether Ederson will be fit in time for Sunday’s crucial trip to Anfield.

“Honestly, right now, I don’t know.

“It’s a muscular problem. It was not big but [we took him off] to avoid risk. He didn’t feel comfortable in the last minutes and that’s why we decided to make a substitution.”

Manchester City managed to hold out for a 1-1 draw against Atalanta, despite Walker being summoned to play in goal for the final ten minutes.

The visitors got off to a quick start, taking the lead at the San Siro after just seven minutes – a slick passing move slotted home by English superstar Raheem Sterling.

City looked well in control and had the opportunity to double their lead just before half-time having been awarded a penalty, which Gabriel Jesus scuffed wide of the upright – a miss which proved costly, as Mario Pasalic levelled the scores the other side of the break.

Despite City’s continued possession dominance, they were unable to break through their host’s defence, before the game took an unexpected turn. The Blues replacement keeper Bravo was red carded for a challenge on Josip Ilicic, leaving Guardiola with no option but to place an outfield player between the sticks.

Ederson, if unavailable for Sunday’s match, will add to an ever-growing list of injuries for Pep Guardiola to deal with. Long-term absentees Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane remain sidelined, while David Silva, Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all set the miss out.

City travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to face Premier League leaders Liverpool, with kick-off scheduled for 16:30 GMT.

What do you think the outcome will be?

Premier League teams have two wins and two draws on Matchday 4 of Champions League

In Europe’s biggest club tournament, the Premier League has continued to stamp its mark on the event as their teams have shown strong performances through the four matchdays.

Reigning Champions League winners Liverpool defeated Belgian side Genk 2-1 courtesy at Anfield. These two teams had previously faced off against each other during Matchday 3, where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s two-goal performance helped the Reds to a 4-1 win at Luminus Arena. Jürgen Klopp’s side took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy of a goal from Georginio Wijnaldum but allowed a goal from Mbwana Samatta to have a tied score halftime. Thirteen minutes late, Oxlade-Chamberlain continued his strong string of performances in the tournament with a game-winning goal. Liverpool, who are now in first place of Group E, will host Napoli on November 27 to get revenge after suffering a 2-0 loss at San Paolo Stadium.

Chelsea, who won the most recent edition of the Europa League, hosted a wild battle against Ajax at Stamford Bridge. The visitors, whose fans were not allowed to attend the fixture after crowd trouble in their match against Valencia, got off to a quick start after Tammy Abraham scored an own goal in the second minute, but Jorginho converted a penalty two minutes later. Later, in the 20th minute, Quincy Promes finished a cross from Hakim Ziyech to take the lead and increased the advantage before halftime thanks to an own goal from Kepa Arrizabalaga. Ajax continued to trample the Blues during the second half and had a three-goal lead after Donny van de Beek’s goal in what seemed like an easy victory for the Eredivisie side. However, goals from César Azpilicueta (63’), Jorginho (71’ PEN), and substitute Reece James (74’) helped the Blues tie this match, with Ajax down two center backs after red cards for Daley Blind and Joël Veltman. Frank Lampard’s side, who are second in Group H due to goal differential, will travel to Valencia on November 27 and hope to defeat the La Liga side after falling to them at home.

Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta at the San Siro, but still remain in first place of Group C. City got off to a blazing start after Raheem Sterling, who had a hat trick in a span of 11 minutes the last time these two teams played at Etihad Stadium, scored a goal in the seventh minute. However, four minutes into the second half, Mario Pasalic, who is on loan from Chelsea, scored a header courtesy of a cross from Alejandro Gómez. The game took an interesting turn after subsitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who came into the game after Ederson’s injury, was shown a red card in the 81st minute after a slide tackle on Josip Ilicic, causing right back Kyle Walker to step in goal during crunch time. Pep Guardiola’s squad will battle against Shakhtar Donetsk, who are in second for the group, on November 26.

Tottenham, the runners-up in last year’s edition of the tournament, cruised through Crvena zvezda with a 4-0 victory at Rajko Mitic Stadium. The Spurs got on the board in the 34th minute thanks to a goal from Giovani Lo Celso. In the second half, Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min scored two goals in a span of four minutes in his first match since he caused a severe injury to Everton’s André Gomes. Substitute Christian Eriksen sealed the game for the team with a goal in the 85th minute as they stand in second of Group B, behind German giants – Bayern Munich. Mauricio Pochettino will lead his team in a match against Olympiakos on November 26 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, hoping to improve from their 1-1 draw at Karaiskakis Stadium during Matchday 1.

The Premier League has continued to show a strong string of performances in the Champions League, with hopes that they can have a team in the league win the biggest club tournament in Europe.

Which English side will get furthest in this years competition?

Roma for Rodwell?

Jack Rodwell is reportedly in Italy ahead of a shock medical at Roma. 

Rodwell was a promising youngster starring for Everton at just sixteen years old. The England international was playing for Everton u18’s at just fourteen years old before making his first team debut in the Europa League against AZ.

After two impressive seasons at Goodison Park, Manchester City came calling and the Sky Blues got their man for a large £15million. Unluckily for the versatile defender, his time at the Etihad was scuppered by injuries and he was moved on the then Premier League strugglers Sunderland.

The Black cats acquired his services for around £10million in 2014. The twenty-eight-year-old stayed at the Stadium of Light for four years making sixty-seven appearances in the process. Despite spending four years at the club, it was relatively unsuccessful spell and he was released in 2018. Then, he joined Blackburn on a free and he impressed but was left without a club this summer.

So, after failing to impress since his time at Everton, it is a bit of a shock the Roma have come calling. Roma aren’t famed for having a great defence but even still, Rodwell is a shot in the dark.

If he rediscovers his form and stays clear of injury, can he become a top Serie A player?

Club World Cup, whats new?

The club world cup is undergoing a shake up currently that will see the competition go from seven teams to twenty four starting from 2021. The competition will run every four years and include eight teams from Europe, six from South America, three each from Africa, Asia and North America and one from Oceania, however Many European heavyweights have threatened to boycott.

Being held in the summer months this would significantly impact the European calendar as it would mean players would have to finish a long gruelling season only to have to play more games in the time they should be resting and recuperating.

The European Club Association (ECA) have written a letter to Uefa saying they are firmly against the idea and confirmed that no ECA clubs would be involved. With the potential lack of European clubs this instantly devalues the competition, as how can you have a Club World Cup without arguably the strongest sides in the world?

To further increase the backlash the first edition will be held in China, a place that has seen a multitude of protests and other issues over the past 12 months and right now is in no position to be hosting a global sporting event.

With all its issues and problems, the basic idea of having an expanded Club World Cup featuring all the best teams across the globe to determine who is the best team on the planet sounds good on paper. But logistically the tournament is always going to struggle as long as the different continents have their own football calendars.

The current tournament is well respected outside of Europe and is seen as a very big deal, it has just simply never interested European fans and has often been seen as a distraction to the domestic and Continental campaigns.

After an already shaky beginning can the expanded Club World Cup survive? and possibly outgrow its previous forms?