Record attendances, thrilling matches and last-gasp targets made for a extremely thrilling Women’s Football Weekend.
Saturday’s hotly contested North London Derby, which completed a 1-1 draw as Spurs got here agonisingly near beating arch rivals Arsenal for the first time, was adopted by 5 extra compelling matches on Sunday.
Thousands travelled to stadiums throughout the nation to observe the video games in individual, whereas much more tuned into BBC One and Sky Sports to take pleasure in the Women’s Super League from the consolation of their very own sofas.
Others selected the pub as their viewing location of selection. This was as soon as unattainable for followers of girls’s soccer – matches have been both not on TV, or in the event that they have been, requests to place the sport on the large display screen have been met with appears of confusion.
This is now slowly altering, and Sunday was proof of that. Matches have been broadcast at pubs round the nation, together with Sports Bar & Grill in Clapham, which hosted its very personal WSL watch-along in collaboration with We Love Sport.
The soccer on TV was not simply the foremost attraction. England’s most-capped participant Fara Williams was additionally in attendance, watching her outdated group Everton maintain Manchester United to a 1-1 draw.
The 37-year-old Williams, who formally introduced her retirement from soccer in April, advised GiveMeSport Women who she was backing to take the WSL title this season.
“Chelsea. I mentioned Chelsea from the starting. They’ve now all performed collectively for some time, and solely made one signing final summer time. So, the squad has the know-how.
“They know learn how to win video games when it’s ugly, they know learn how to take management of the sport once they go a objective up. Chelsea will be the group to win the WSL, but Arsenal will push them all the method.”
The Gunners are at present prime of the WSL desk after defeating Chelsea on the opening day of the season, and Williams conceded she “wasn’t essentially anticipating Arsenal to be so good.”
The North London outfit has not been the solely shock of the season to this point, nevertheless. Manchester City have struggled to get going resulting from an damage disaster and at present languish in ninth.
Everton, who have been anticipated to problem for the prime three after a busy summer time in the switch window, are degree on factors with Manchester City in tenth.
“I assumed Everton could be doing so much higher, but I do know that whenever you make investments so closely and purchase so many gamers, it takes time,” mentioned Williams, who performed for the Toffees alongside Chelsea, Charlton, Liverpool, Arsenal and Reading throughout her profession.
“I believe the Manchester City scenario, that’s been the largest shock. I do know accidents have been an element, but even with the beginning 11 they’ve now, they need to nonetheless be beating groups.”
Manchester City’s poor performances have been of profit to a variety of different groups, together with Brighton, Spurs and Manchester United.
These three sides at the moment are seemingly in a battle for third place, but it’s but to be seen whether or not they can keep their kind all through the season.
“Brighton below Hope Powell and Tottenham below Rehanne Skinner are each very organised groups,” Williams defined.
“They will all the time give themselves an opportunity in a sport as a result of they’re very defensively organised, and so they stick collectively of their strategy in doing issues. If you don’t concede targets, you’ve all the time bought an opportunity of getting a consequence.
“I think about when Manchester City get a few of their gamers again slot in the subsequent couple of weeks, they will begin choosing up factors once more as effectively. I believe Chelsea and Arsenal will get the two prime spots, but it’s large open for third place at the second.”
Williams additionally regarded ahead to Euro 2022, which is about to be held in cities round England. The midfielder performed in 4 European Championships whereas making 172 appearances for the Lionesses, but she revealed subsequent yr’s version could be the “best but”.
With the reputation of girls’s soccer followers on the rise, does Williams suppose the nation will prove in assist of the Lionesses?
“It’s a house Euros. England principally hosted the males’s event final summer time, and I’m hoping the ladies’s occasion is simply as large as that.
“Even if folks can’t make it to the matches in individual, they’ll be capable to watch video games in the pub. Hopefully it will be a extremely good showcase for ladies’s soccer, and it will result in an increase in gate numbers for the subsequent WSL season.”
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