Tag Archives: Women Super League

WSL weekly round up and predictions for week eight

The top five sides in the Women’s Super League all won in this week’s round of matches, while 10-player Reading pulled off a remarkable 3-2 comeback against West Ham United.   

Convincing wins for the WSL top two

League leaders Chelsea thrashed Birmingham City 6-0 thanks to a brilliant free kick from Ji-So- Yun, a striker’s finish from centre back Millie Bright doubled the Blues advantage. Two goals a piece from England striker Beth England and Drew Spence followed this.

Title challengers Manchester City put five past West Midlands side Bristol City to claim their sixth win of the season from seven games.  Belgium’s Tessa Wullaert scored the only goal of an otherwise uneventful first half.

The second half saw Nick Cushing’s side run away with it however, England’s star striker Ellen White doubled the visitors lead before German striker Pauline Bremer scored two late goals either side of Caroline Weir’s long range finish.

Defending Champions grind out win

The Gunners meanwhile stay in third place following a 1-0 win over bottom side Liverpool.  Last season’s top scorer, Vivianne Miedema scored the only goal of the game mid-way through the first half.

Joe Montemurro’s side however were wasteful in front of goal with Beth Mead and Danielle van de Donk wasting good chances, while Leah Williamson struck the cross bar from long range.

Liverpool meanwhile has still to score from open play this season with their only goal coming in the 1-1 draw with Bristol City from the penalty spot.

Toffees prove too good for Spurs

Everton secure their third league win in a row as they produced an impressive display against Tottenham.  The Toffees captain, Lucy Graham scored one and had a huge influence in forcing the own goal.

This win moves the Merseyside club up to fourth in the table just three points behind Arsenal in third.

United record their biggest WSL win so far

Leah Galton starred in an impressive 4-0 win for Casey’s Stoney’s Manchester United side against Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion.  The United striker scored two and set up the opening goal for winger Lauren James. Katie Zalem then secured all three points for the home side from the spot late on.

This win means that the Red Devils have won four of their past five matches in the WSL and currently sit fifth in the table.

Royals pull off stunning comeback

The most entertaining match of the weekend involved last season’s FA Cup Finalists, West Ham.  The Hammers went 2-0 up through goals from Katharina Baunach and Irish striker Leanne Kieran, in between the goals; Reading’s Welsh midfielder, Rachel Rowe was shown a straight red card.

The Royals however, went on to score three goals in seven second half minutes to complete a remarkable 3-2 win. They could have even added to their tally as England midfielder Fara Williams and Sophie Howard both hit the woodwork.

Preview and Predictions for Week 8

Friday November 29th

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Reading Kick-off (19:45)

The Royals won both meetings between the sides last season and have been impressive away from home this campaign so far having won three of their four away matches.

Hope Powell’s team meanwhile have only won one match at home all season, however that win came in their last home match against Birmingham City.

Prediction: Reading 3-1

The Royals are coming off an impressive victory against West Ham last week and have the momentum, I can see them claiming all three points in this one.

Sunday December 1st

Everton vs Chelsea (12:30)

In the four meetings that have taken place between these two sides so far Everton are yet to record a victory.  The Toffees however did draw this corresponding fixture last season 0-0 back in September 2018.

Both sides are also in terrific form at the moment as Everton have won three WSL games in a row against Brighton, Liverpool and Tottenham.  While the Blues have yet to loose a match all season and have so far only dropped points against Brighton, where they drew 1-1 in matchday two.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1

This is a tough game for league leaders, Everton are playing well at the moment however I can see Emma Hayes’ side just sneaking the win.

Arsenal vs Bristol City (12:30) – Live on BBC Red Button and online

This is the second meeting in the space of two weeks between these two sides.  Arsenal won their league cup meeting with Bristol City 7-0 so the West Midlands club will certainly go into this match with trepidation.

Bristol City are still yet to win a match in the Super League this season and have never beaten Arsenal in their previous six meetings with the Gunners.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-0

The Gunners were wasteful in front of goal against Liverpool and should have scored more last weekend, Bristol City however are struggling and can’t see them proving too much trouble for Joe Montemurro’s side.

Manchester City vs Liverpool (14:00)

Liverpool have only beaten Manchester City once in their seven encounters between the two sides, that victory came back in May 2018, a 1-0 win curtsy of a goal from Beth England, who now plays for Chelsea.

This season the citizens are currently unbeaten at home and have won every Super League home match so far.

Prediction: Manchester City 4-0

I am predicting another comfortable afternoon for Nick Cushing’s side. 

West Ham United vs Manchester United (15:00)

This is the first Super League match between these two sides; the Hammers however have been struggling at home so far this season having only won once.  That was on match day two against Birmingham City 1-0.

Casey Stoney’s team meanwhile have been in good form in the last few matches and were unlucky to loose their last away match at Chelsea 1-0.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1

Expect the red devils to keep their impressive start to WSL life going.

Wednesday 4thDecember

Birmingham City vs Tottenham Hotspur (19:30)

This game has been moved from it’s orginal date due to Solihull’s FA Cup Second round match with Rotherham at Birmingham’s SportNation.Bet Stadium on the 2ndDecember.   

This is the first ever-domestic meeting between these two sides as Tottenham are newly promoted to the Super League this season.

Both sides are coming into this game out of form having lost their last three matches in all competitions.

The midlands side struggles show how they have missed the influence of former striker Ellen White who scored 21 super league goals in 26 appearances for the club before departing for Manchester City in the summer.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0

Birmingham City are a team that are struggling to replicate their form of the last campaign and lost comprehensively against Chelsea last time out. I think that Tottenham will be the team that gets back on track in this one. 

Women’s Super League Round Up: Week Three

Spurs defeated London rivals West Ham in front of the second–largest attendance in Women Super League history, at the London Stadium.

Title favourites Arsenal and Manchester City meanwhile both continued their impressive starts to the season by beating Brighton and Everton respectively.

Elsewhere Manchester United won their first ever Super League match against fierce rivals Liverpool

Finally, Chelsea proved to be too strong for West Country side, Bristol City.

Spurs spoil West Ham’s London Stadium debut

A crowd of 24,790 watched Tottenham beat London rivals West Ham United 2-0.

Striker Rianna Dean scored the opening goal on her first start of the season in the 36th minute with a brilliant header before Birthday girl, Lucy Quinn came off the bench to make the points safe seven minutes from time. This secured Spurs’ first away victory in the Super League.

The hosts however, were made to rue missing a number of second half opportunities that included Adriana Leon wide header from six yards.

Arsenal and Manchester City continue hundred per cent starts

Both Arsenal and Manchester City kept up their perfect records after three Super League matches.

City however were made to work hard for their 1-0 victory over Everton, with England captain Steph Houghton grabbing the only goal of the game in the seventh minute from a corner.

The Toffee’s almost grabbed a late equaliser at the death through Lucy Graham, however Canadian forward, Janine Beckie was able to clear her header off the line.

The Gunners’ achieved a much more routine victory as they put in an impressive 4-0 display against Brighton.

Club Captain Kim Little provided the early break through for her side, before last season’s top scorer, Vivianne Miedema opened up her account to double Arsenal’s advantage.

Miedema then turned provider for her Dutch teammate, Danielle van de Donk, who made it 3-0.  Finally England midfielder, Jordan Nobbs rounded off the scoring with an 18-yard strike.

United win first Women Super League game

Manchester United secured a 2-0 win against rivals Liverpool in their first-ever Super League meeting.

Second half goals from Lauren James, sister of Chelsea full back Reece James, and a late penalty from Katie Zelem ensured the Red Devils of their first points of the campaign.

A crowd of over 2,800 at the Leigh Sports Village watched what was a rather tense affair with United hitting the woodwork on three occasions. The Red Devils proved good value for their win.

Chelsea too good for Bristol City

The Blues moved into third place with a comfortable 4-0 win at Bristol City.

Norway midfielder, Guro Reiten scored twice in the first ten minutes, before Ji So-Yun added Chelsea’s third seven minutes later.

Sophie Ingle then finished off from close range in the second half to leave Chelsea with seven points from three matches. Winless Bristol City meanwhile is down in 10th position.

Birmingham City versus Reading – Postponed

There was meant to be a sixth match for the week, however it was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Birmingham.  The new date for the fixture is yet to be announced.

What next?

Round four of the Women Super League features a top of the table clash between rivals Chelsea and Arsenal at The Cherry Red Records Stadium. 

Newly promoted sides Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United meet at Spurs’ Hive Stadium.

While Liverpool plays fellow strugglers Bristol City, both sides will be looking for their first wins of the season. 

Manchester City will look to take advantage of their title rivals facing each other as they host Birmingham City.

The final two games see Reading against Everton and Brighton take on West Ham United.

Dates of next WSL Fixtures

Saturday 12th October

Manchester City vs Birmingham City Kick off (2pm)

Sunday 13th October

Liverpool vs Bristol City  (12pm)

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United (12:30pm)

 Reading vs Everton (2pm)

 Brighton & Hove Albion vs West Ham United (2pm)

 Chelsea vs Arsenal (3pm)

Womens Super League Round Up: Week Two

Title contenders Manchester City and Arsenal both maintained their unbeaten starts to the season with wins at Reading and Manchester United respectively. Fellow title hopefuls Chelsea however could only manage a draw at Brighton.

Meanwhile surprise package Everton also made it two wins from two games against Bristol City, having only won three games in the league all of last season. 

Elsewhere Tottenham picked up their first ever points in the Super League against Liverpool and last year’s FA Cup finalists, West Ham picked up their first win of the campaign by beating Birmingham.

 Everton’s (The Toffees) unexpected start

The place to begin with is The Toffees, who maintained their unbeaten start to the season by beating Bristol City 2-0.  Two terrific strikes from 21 year old, Chloe Kelly either side of half time secured the points, as the Merseyside club backed up their 1-0 win over Birmingham on the opening day of the season in impressive fashion.

Their unbeaten run however will certainly be put to the test when they next face Manchester City at home.

Manchester City continue to impress

German international, Pauline Bremer continued her prolific start to the season, following up her two goals in mid-week during the 7-1 Champions League win over Lugano, with a double in a 2-0 victory over Reading at Adams Park.

Bremer’s recent displays is certainly a major plus considering the fact that they will be without star player Georgia Stanway for the next six weeks through injury.

Arsenal (The Gunners) made to work

The Gunners left it late against newly promoted Manchester United It took a 89th minute winner from substitute, Danielle Van der Donk to maintain Arsenal’s perfect start to the season, following up on their 2-1 victory over West Ham on the opening weekend.

Casey Stoney’s side have now given a good account of themselves against both of last season’s top two Super League sides, Manchester City and Arsenal.  They will hope to get their first points of the season when they face winless Liverpool in the next round of matches.  Arsenal’s next Super League match is against Brighton at home.

Chelsea (The Blues) held by Brighton

Chelsea had to rely on a stoppage time equaliser from substitute, Adelina Engman after Aileen Whelan had put Brighton ahead with just six minutes to go.

The Blues however, will certainly see this as dropped points and will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Bristol City.

Tottenham and West Ham pick up first wins

Tottenham meanwhile picked up their first ever Super League win, 1-0 against Liverpool, thanks to a Rachel Furness penalty just before half time.

Liverpool also had to play the last 30 minutes with ten players after centre-back Niamh Fahey was sent off for a foul on Rosella Ayane when the forward was clean through on goal.

Finally West Ham also picked up a 1-0 over Birmingham win thanks to a goal from Canadian international, Adriana Leon.

The London rivals will face each other in the next round of matches at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium.

Dates of the next WSL fixtures

Saturday 28th September

Manchester United vs Liverpool Kick Off (12pm)

Sunday 29th September

Arsenal vs Brighton (12:30pm)

Everton vs Manchester City (12:30pm)

Birmingham City vs Reading (2pm)

West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur (2:30pm)

Bristol City vs Chelsea (3pm)

How Womens Football is beginning to grow within the UK

There seems to be no doubt that the development of women’s football in the UK is beginning to head in the right direction…

For a start, during England’s World Cup Semi-final against the USA the peak audience on the BBC reached a reported 11.5 million.

Opening day of Women’s Super League (WSL) attendance figures

The momentum of the World Cup in France was certainly carried on as demonstrated by the record attendance at the first ever Manchester derby this past weekend in the WSL at the Etihad Stadium. It was revealed that 31,213 attended Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Manchester United.

This is significantly more than the previous attendance record that was set during Arsenal’s league win over Brighton, in which 5,265 visited the Amex Stadium towards the end of the 2018/19 season.

Chelsea Football Club went a step further in trying to capitalise on the recent exposure of women’s football by offering free tickets for their opening day game at Stamford Bridge, a game they won 1-0 against their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in front of 24,000. Meanwhile Bristol City played out a 0-0 draw in front of just over 3,000 against Brighton at Ashton Gate.

Millie Bright, the England and Chelsea centre back, said that “it was not just about the football but a fun day out for the family with fun activities such as face painting and fire engines and police cars to try out.”

Bright however went on to say that “while it was great that more and more people were coming to games, it is a business and fans should be buying tickets with occasional promotional offers.”

The fact  more people chose to watch the match in Manchester at £7 per ticket over the free tickets given out for the game in London shows that the fans are prepared to pay for the day out.

Expansion of the Women’s Super League

The games taking place at high profile men’s grounds such as the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge shows that the Women’s Super League are already trying to improve on the average attendance of games from last season, which averaged 900.

The number of teams in the league also stands at the largest that it has been in the WSL era, at 12 teams. This is one more than last season, where just Yeovil Town were relegated from the last campaign. The addition of high profile clubs such as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to the league can only enhance the profile further.  The new £10 million sponsorship deal that the league now has with Barclays this season will also go along way towards helping with this.

Initial discussions are already reported to be on going to arrange double headers with the men’s games on the same day – following the successful Six Nations rugby model.  In addition, WSL games played at the men’s clubs grounds have already encouraged a wider audiences.

A further Super League match is already set to take place at Tottenham’s new stadium between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur later this year, while Manchester United and Liverpool have also recently announced that they would be interested in hosting women’s football at Old Trafford and Anfield respectively. The problems however with this approach are maintaining the engagement of the newfound family audience. The accessibility of getting to the stadiums where regular WSL matches are played remains a challenge.

The regular WSL grounds are sometimes quite a few miles away from the club’s traditional origin.  For instance Arsenal play at Borhamwood (12.2 miles from the Emirates) and perhaps the most challenging is that Manchester United play at Leigh Sports Village, which does not have access to a train station nearby. In the past also the clubs official websites for the women’s teams have proved challenging to navigate in terms of buying tickets and providing up to date information.

All this shows is that the game is still very much a work in progress, however the potential for growth certainly over this upcoming season is very much there.

Extended media coverage and the role of social media

Adrian Farina of VISA, a key sponsor, added at the recent Growing Women’s Football networking event that the media has a role in promoting increased players salary, wider audiences and improving the take up of the game.

Media publications and broadcasters are starting to embrace this responsibility in promoting the sport.  This includes the Daily Telegraph who have released a new editorial initiative this year to help raise the profile of women’s sport, (TWS).

Broadcasters such as the BBC will continue to show England International matches such as qualifiers for the Euros and friendlies.  In addition there is also a Women’s Football Show on BBC Four that provides highlights of the Women’s Super League on Sunday evening and focuses on the topical issues affecting the league.

BT Sport is also going to be showing at least 30 live matches throughout the season, their most yet!  Finally talkSPORT 2 has also launched a new radio show that is dedicated to Women’s football airing every Monday between 6-7pm, hosted by talkSPORT broadcaster Faye Carruthers.

The promotion provided by these media outlets and publications will certainly begin to address bridging the gap between the men and women’s game. It will also promote the stars of the women’s game and will begin to encourage people to follow them on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

What more needs to be done?

It appears that the right actions are being put in place post the World Cup. The key question remains whether or not the bounce from a successful tournament in France can be maintained.

The success of the England team in Canada back in 2015 did not have quite the desired impact on the sport. This may have been due to the subsequent player, manager scandal involving the then England Manager Mark Sampson. An alternative factor could have been the fact the World Cup took place on another continent in Canada, North America.

The promotion of events outside major international tournaments within the game certainly needs to be maintained such as the Women’s Champions League competition and increasing the media coverage of the domestic game. More support from the Premier or Football Leagues could also help with this.

The inclusion of more female pundits within the game is also needed. Former Arsenal defender, Alex Scott being on BBC’s and Sky’s coverage of football is a good start in addressing this.

Finally, by showing more games on free to air TV and making the game more accessible to youngsters results in encouraging increased participation and popularity at schools and clubs.

Overall following on from the 2019 World Cup, women’s football is taking significant steps forward and hopefully by the time the SheBelieves Cup in March 2020 and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo later that year come around, more improvements and developments will be on the way!

Women Super League 2019-20 Season Preview: Part Two

In our second of two posts, 24/7 football looks at the potential prospects of football clubs from Liverpool through to West Ham United ahead of the Women’s Super League that kicks-off on the 7/8th September.

No 7: Liverpool

First match of the season: Reading (H)

Last Season: 8th   Predicted Finish: 4th

I think they will certainly improve this season; they were also showing some good signs and developing quite well towards the end of the last campaign and have looked strong in pre-season.

What happened last season?

It proved to be a difficult season for Liverpool, having to contend with several injuries and a change of manager, Vicky Jepson taking over from Neil Redfern. They also had the challenge of several squad players leaving right at the start of the season.  The reds lost twice to their local rivals, Everton over the course of the campaign, which was a major low point.  One of their best results of the season was a 5-2 win over Bristol City.  They will definitely be looking for improvements this time around.

Key Player last season: Sophie Bradley-Auckland

The current club captain was named player’s player of the year for 2018 and the centre back played every single game for the reds last season. She has provided a huge boost for the club by signing a new contract over the summer.

Player to watch: Melissa Lawley

Signed from Manchester City over the summer.  Melissa is a proven Women Super League player and is also an England international.  The winger has impressed during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the USA and will be looking to continue her good form.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Liverpool scored 58% of their goals in the first half last season.

No 8: Manchester City

First match of the season: Manchester United (H)

Last Season: 2nd  Predicted Finish: Champions

I think they will go one better this time round with Arsenal having to focus on the Champions League this season.

What happened last season?

The Citizens only lost one game all season however ended up finishing seven points behind eventual champions Arsenal.  Ultimately the number of drawn games against the likes of Bristol City and Reading proved costly.

Key Player last season: Steph Houghton

The England and Manchester City Captain was voted player of the year last season and also collected the Goal of the Season award by scoring a crucial late equaliser against Bristol City.

Player to watch: Georgia Stanway

Georgia was named the PFA Young Player of the Year last season, and is one of the most exciting rising talents in the women’s game at the moment.  The 20 year old has been with the club since she was 16 and has recently signed a new deal keeping her at the club until 2022 – definitely one to watch this season.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Steph Houghton was the only Women Super League player to play every minute of the 20 league games in 2018/19.

No 9: Manchester United

First match of the season: Manchester City (A)

Last Season: Women’s Championship Champions  Predicted Finish: 9th

This season will certainly prove a step up in class for The Red Devils, think they will have enough to stay in Super League however the loss of last season’s captain, Alex Greenwood to Lyon is a blow.

What happened last season?

In Casey Stoney’s first season as a manager, The Red Devils clinched the Women’s Championship title with two games to spare.  They were beaten just once in the league all season losing to Durham in December.

Key Player last season: Katie Zelem

Katie proved a crucial part of Manchester United’s Championship winning side last season.  She scored 11 goals from 23 appearances last season resulting in her winning the Player of the Year award.

Player to watch:  Jackie Groenen

Jackie became Manchester United’s first overseas signing this summer.  The 24-year-old Dutch Midfielder has already achieved over 50 caps for her country and played a pivotal role for them at the Women’s World Cup. This included scoring the winner against Sweden in the semi-finals.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Last season Manchester United scored 98 goals in the Women’s Championship and conceded just seven times.  This resulted in them finishing with a goal difference of 91.

No 10: Reading

First match of the season: Liverpool (A)

Last Season: 5th    Predicted Finish: 8th

May struggle to match what they achieved last season.

What happened last season?

Last season proved to be a success for The Royals, achieving a fifth place finish in the league as well making a first ever appearance in the FA Cup semi-finals against West Ham United.

Key Player last season: Rachel Furness

The Northern Ireland midfielder played a key role for The Royals over the course of the season. This included scoring a header in the FA Cup Semi-Final against West Ham United.

Player to watch: Rachel Rowe

The Welsh midfielder has recently made her return in pre-season from a serious cruciate ligament injury that kept her out of most of last season.  Rachel will be looking to repay the faith that the club have shown in her by offering a new contract at the end of the last campaign.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Reading achieved a record attendance in the FA Women’s League Cup Quarter–final last season against Manchester United, 4,835.

No 11: Tottenham Hotspur

First match of the season: Chelsea (A)

Last Season: Women’s Championship Runners– Up     Predicted Finish: 12th

 Not sure they have what it takes to remain in the Super League this season.

What happened last season?

Tottenham secured promotion to the Women Super League for the first time by finishing runners-up in the Championship.  Karen Hill’s side managed it with a game to spare following a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Key Player last season: Rianna Dean

Rianna was the Championship’s joint top scorer last season, scoring 14 goals in 19 appearances, including a hat trick against former club Millwall.  She will be looking to continue that impressive scoring form in the Super League.

Player to watch: Ashleigh Neville

Ashleigh started 19 of Spurs’ 20 games in the Championship last season and scored four goals, including two against Charlton back in April.  This result proved crucial in Tottenham securing promotion to the Super League.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Tottenham Hotspur only had one draw in the whole of the Women’s Championship last season and that was in the second to last game against Aston Villa.

No 12: West Ham United

First match of the season: Arsenal (A)

 Last Season: 7th     Predicted Finish: 10th

Another club who I think may struggle to match expectations and performance from last season.

What happened last season?

The high point of the Hammers’ season was reaching the Women’s FA Cup final where they ended up losing to Manchester City.

Key Player last season: Gilly Faherty

Gilly was chosen as The Hammers’ Player of the Season and the club captain played a crucial part in their run to the FA Cup final.

Player to watch: Alisha Lehmann

The Swiss international was signed from Young Boys last season and is coming from an impressive first campaign for the Hammers.  She contributed nine goals and eight assists in her first campaign, resulting in her being nominated for Young Player of the Year for her efforts.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Managing Director of West Ham United Women, Jack Sullivan – son of West Ham United owner David Sullivan is currently the youngest football boss in football at the age of just 19.