This weekend sees the Barclays FA Women’s Super League take centre stage, with some mouth-watering match-ups on an exciting Women’s Football Weekend. It all kicks off on Saturday as Tottenham host Arsenal within the North London derby, earlier than struggling Birmingham tackle Aston Villa – and former supervisor Carla Ward – on Sunday afternoon.Sky Sports can even play host to two of the blockbuster fixtures as Everton host Manchester United and champions Chelsea journey to Manchester City.With loads to get caught into this weekend, we check out the storylines to look out for throughout the league… Can anybody cease Arsenal?Jonas Eidevall’s facet head into Saturday’s North London derby in actually formidable type. Arsenal are but to lose or draw within the WSL this season, scoring 23 targets and conceding simply two – each coming in opposition to Chelsea within the opening recreation of the season.The Gunners supervisor has received each WSL Manager of the Month awards this season, with Beth Mead and Katie McCabe scooping up the participant accolades. McCabe additionally received the WSL Goal of the Month award for October too.Appearing on the Essential Football Podcast – Women’s Football Weekend preview, West Ham captain and former Arsenal defender Gilly Flaherty stated: “Arsenal have at all times been an incredible group, however through the years, they’ve not been ending the place they need to be ending. I feel it is that consistency they’ve lacked too – they received the title a couple of years in the past after which dropped again down the next season.
“But now, it is their play off the ball. When we performed them the opposite night time and we received the ball, there was simply immediate stress on us. It wasn’t only one participant, they had been coming in numbers and it was so tough to play out.”You’ve additionally seen them being extra direct. They’ve not had that in earlier years, and now they don’t seem to be afraid for Leah Williamson to play a protracted ball and it is not successful and hope, it is a selecting out the move. They understand how good their midfield is and it is about beating that and getting to the targets as fast as they can.”It’s all trying slightly rosy for the purple facet of North London. But they face a Tottenham facet who’ve been one of many surprises of the season.
Having completed in seventh and eighth of their first two seasons within the WSL respectively, Spurs discover themselves sitting third below Rehanne Skinner, simply two factors behind Chelsea in second. If they ended the season in the identical spot, they might qualify for the Champions League first spherical.”Rehanne clearly has the respect, all of the gamers have purchased into this entrance foot, possession-based philosophy at Spurs,” Sky Sports’ WSL presenter Caroline Barker additionally informed the podcast.”She had the tip of final season simply to get that below method, after which seeing what they’ve performed in the beginning of this season reveals how they’ve purchased into it.
“You’ve simply obtained to give managers the time, consider in what they need to do, give them that help too. The services Spurs have gotten too are phenomenal, Rehanne talked about wanting to deliver in additional of her group too, to broaden the squad and going full-time into the coaching services has clearly helped.”But I feel all that she learnt as assistant boss at Arsenal, taking that in now to Spurs with the way in which she talks and the way in which she has obtained them going, I feel it has been good, an actual revelation this season.”Jean-Luc Vasseur faces another check
Everton dismissed Willie Kirk in the course of the worldwide break and landed an unimaginable coup to substitute him – Champions League-winning supervisor Jean-Luc Vasseur.The Frenchman joins Everton after a wildly profitable spell at Lyon, profitable nearly each trophy obtainable throughout his two years on the membership. He additionally received the UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award within the 2019/20 season.But Vasseur has already had a wake-up name in his first WSL recreation. Everton had been overwhelmed 1-0 by Brighton final weekend, and the assignments don’t get any simpler as they welcome Man Utd on Sunday, stay on Sky Sports.”The likes of Everton and United are going to be pushing increasingly,” Man City right-back Lucy Bronze informed the Women’s Football Weekend preview podcast.
“The funding is there for these groups. You noticed that at Everton, the funding was put in, the membership had excessive expectations and sadly, they did not see what they felt was these being met so that they modified the supervisor.”It’s what you see in males’s soccer, it is so cut-throat. It’s not good to see it as a result of you don’t need individuals to lose jobs, however that is the expectation stage now. If you are not performing how the membership desires, then they want somebody that can try this. These golf equipment are chasing after trophies or sure membership positions.”Marc Skinner’s United shall be searching for a contact of redemption of their very own. They have drawn their final two WSL video games, with their 1-1 draw in opposition to Tottenham a very powerful capsule to swallow.Ria Percival scored a last-gasp free-kick to safe some extent for an in-form Spurs, holding Man Utd in fifth. They are two factors behind Rehanne Skinner’s facet in third.
“It shall be fascinating up in opposition to Man United as a result of in addition they have ambitions of chasing that third place this season,” Barker added. “Before the season, many stated each did have potential for that third spot. I’m undecided how I learn it now, however they nonetheless consider.”If you hear to Everton, they nonetheless consider they can make that third spot. With Man City having some issues this season, and Chelsea actually having that intent now to go and beat Arsenal once more, it is going to be tight and that third place shall be up for grabs.”With United hoping to overcome a stuttering Everton, and the Toffees hoping for their very own new supervisor enhance, it is set to be an intriguing contest on Sky Sports this weekend.
Can City continue their current enchancment?
It isn’t an understatement to say Man City’s season has not gone to plan. One of the title favourites in pre-season, Gareth Taylor’s facet have received twice and misplaced thrice, already leaving them 11 factors off Arsenal on the high of the desk.However, a type of victories got here final weekend in opposition to Leicester, profitable 4-1 on the King Power Stadium. It adopted a 3-0 win in opposition to Durham Women within the League Cup – solely their third clear sheet of the season.Bronze defined: “The gamers are working laborious daily, doing their greatest. I feel you can see it within the video games, the gamers are attempting.”Ultimately, leagues can be received and misplaced due to attracts or video games which you must’ve put away, however you did not. It looks like we have had a couple of of them, in addition to some efficiency the place the group we’re taking part in in opposition to has been higher.
“Gareth may be very process-driven, which generally can be good and generally a nasty factor. He’s fairly direct and straight down the road, wanting to get on with what we have. There’s not use in feeling sorry for ourselves with accidents or what have you ever.”But we have nonetheless obtained world-class gamers on the pitch, however a number of issues have occurred to us, whether or not it is inflicted by different individuals or us simply not killing off a recreation. There’s loads of excuses within the guide, however all we can do is crack on and deal with the subsequent recreation.”Despite indicators of enchancment, they’ll face the final word check once they tackle Chelsea on Sunday, stay on Sky Sports.
After the Blues’ opening weekend defeat to Arsenal, they’ve solely drawn as soon as since, profitable the remaining video games. This features a 7-0 thrashing of Servette within the Champions League on Tuesday, having rediscovered their type at each ends of the sector.City and Chelsea are common rivals each on and off the sector, with the ways and risks well-known. Emma Hayes’ facet received their FA Cup semi-final assembly a couple of weeks in the past, beating Man City 3-0 on the Academy Stadium. It ended City’s hopes of defending their FA Cup title for a 3rd successive 12 months.But Man City have by no means misplaced at dwelling to Chelsea within the WSL (W3 D5) – the one group Hayes’ facet haven’t defeated away from dwelling within the league. They shall be hoping to summon the identical spirit when the Blues go to once more this weekend, stay on Sky Sports, as City look to get their season again on observe.Will Ward win on her return to Birmingham?
It’s not solely London that has an enormous derby this weekend – Carla Ward shall be taking her Aston Villa facet the brief distance throughout town to tackle her former group, Birmingham.Ward left the Blues in the summertime to take up the open spot at Villa. It was disappointing for Birmingham followers, with the previous midfielder holding the group within the WSL regardless of tough circumstances. One of those manifested as a proper letter of grievance from gamers to the board, elevating points round services, journey, and funds restrictions.On the sector, issues haven’t improved an excessive amount of below Scott Booth. Birmingham have registered only one level within the WSL this season, and are solely being held off of backside spot by Leicester.Aston Villa additionally had a difficult time final 12 months. Having been promoted from the Women’s Championship, they rapidly discovered themselves in a relegation battle, with supervisor Gemma Davies being changed by Marcus Bignot midway by way of the season.Ward has gone a way to regular the ship. Villa sit slightly comfortably in eighth spot, with two wins this season – nearly matching the whole win whole from final season (3). However, they’ve misplaced their final three WSL video games, although this did embrace matches in opposition to the present high two of Arsenal and Chelsea.
“That side of it [Ward’s return to Birmingham] provides to it, I feel,” Villa ahead Sophie Haywood informed the Women’s Football Weekend preview podcast.”It’s been nice, she’s a superb character to have round. She’s very assured in us and really vocal in what she thinks we can obtain.”But the most important factor she brings is her realism. She’s assured, however lifelike in the place we’re, the place we wish to be and the way we get there.”We’re lifelike in that we all know the expertise that we have got and the soccer we can play in opposition to sure groups. We go into each recreation wanting to get one thing from it, however we’d like to be lifelike in how we obtain that.”Ward’s weekend return to St Andrew’s is a major likelihood for each Birmingham and Villa to decide up extra very important factors, in addition to metropolis bragging rights.Another 3-0 for Reading?
Just over a month in the past, Reading had been one in all three WSL sides but to register some extent this season. However, one thing has begun to click on for Kelly Chambers’ facet, profitable their final two league video games in opposition to Birmingham and Aston Villa by a 3-0 scoreline.It marked their first WSL targets of the season and their first shutouts. After beating Birmingham, Chambers informed Reading’s official web site: “We’ve entered a window now the place we’re taking part in the groups that we consider we shall be competing in opposition to within the league.”It’s ever so vital that the final two league video games that we have performed, we now have picked up most factors, and now the eye turns to West Ham.”West Ham are an incredible facet, they’ve made some good additions to their group. So, for us, we have to put together correctly, as we do each week, and ensure we go into that recreation on the highest stage.”
Olli Harder’s facet have had an equal begin to the season – profitable two, drawing two and dropping two of their WSL video games. In reality, since their defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, West Ham had been unbeaten since their opening weekend loss to Brighton.”We’re in a significantly better place this 12 months than we had been final 12 months. We checked out our fixture listing and focused video games the place we wished to come away with three factors,” Flaherty stated.”Obviously we obtained an incredible outcome in opposition to Man City, however in opposition to the groups in and round us, that is what price us final 12 months, not selecting up factors in opposition to these groups.”It’s been extra constant and now Olli has had extra time to embed his philosophy, we have made some nice signings too and we have simply obtained nice individuals there.”I say it on a regular basis, I do not care how good a participant is, if they don’t seem to be an incredible individual and so they do not deliver the fitting values, then I’d slightly they weren’t within the group.”Is this the weekend Leicester register their first level?
It has been a troublesome begin to life within the WSL for Leicester. Promoted as Women’s Championship winners final season, Jonathan Morgan’s facet are but to register some extent with six successive defeats.Despite scoring inside 60 seconds in opposition to Man City final weekend, the Foxes ended up dropping 4-1. But striker Jess Sigsworth – who netted the early aim – is seeing enhancements within the facet.She informed the membership’s official web site after the City defeat: “We’re nonetheless fairly new to this league and have nonetheless obtained rather a lot to study, however I really feel like every week, we’re bettering as a group and our performances are getting higher. We simply want to cease conceding foolish targets.”Preparation begins now [for Brighton]. We’ll go into that recreation stuffed with perception that we can win it and we’re excited. Hopefully, we can get off the mark with our first win.”
But they’ll come up in opposition to one of many league’s in-form groups in Brighton, spearheaded by one of many WSL’s most skilled coaches in Hope Powell.The Seagulls have misplaced simply two league video games this season, profitable the remaining 4, together with victories in opposition to Tottenham and Everton.Barker informed the Women’s Football Weekend preview podcast: “I feel they’re settled, they’re organised and so they’re selecting up these factors that you just would not essentially suppose that they might, however beating the groups that you just suppose within the second, they might shade that one.”I do not know if they will hit the highest three heights and keep there, the identical with Spurs. They’ve had good begins to the season, however you suppose fourth or fifth and the way exceptional that might be given what’s a extremely aggressive season.”With dwelling benefit, Leicester will face a troublesome job in recording their first factors within the WSL. But soccer is ever unpredictable and the Foxes shall be hoping to use that to their profit on Sunday afternoon.