It was the final round of the group stage in the Conti Cup last week-end and there was some big upset.
In group 1 Birmingham beat Doncaster 2-0 which was expected but the Everton Bristol produced an astonishing scoreline. The biggest ever away win the WSL and probably the heaviest home defeat for the Toffees for a long long time. I dont think many teams have managed a 4-0 win at Everton in the past.
So Bristol topped the group with 7 points and Birmingham finished runner-up with 7 points as well. Everton and Doncaster are out of the WSL Cup.
In group 2 Lincoln beat Liverpool 3-2 in the early kick-off on Saturday, ensuring they finish top of the group with an 100% record a splendid performance that not many would have predicted before the start of the competition. In the other game, Arsenal easily dispatched Chelsea 3-0. A scoreline that was not expected after seeing the FA Cup semi-final a couple of weeks ago.
Lincoln top the group with 9 points Arsenal finishes runner-up with 6 points. Chelsea and Liverpool are out of the cup.
What the Conti cup has shown is the gap between the bottom 2 and top 6 still exists but also that those 6 teams are really close to each other and there is no more the margin of error for the former best two teams that existed in the WPL. A good point achieved by the WSL with the levellling of the teams.
The semi-finals will the be played on the week-end of the 01/02 of September and will see Bristol v Arsenal and Lincoln v Birmingham. I would think Arsenal will be slightly favorite after the recent 3-0 win at Stoke Gifford live on ESPN, the Bristol coaching staff will surely have noted the deficiences on the day and try to find a solution to the problems. Lincoln v Birmingham will be extremely open and with the pitch at Ashby Avenue not allowing to play much football sometimes, it could be a bruising encounter, let’s hope for a strong referee who hasn’t forgotten his card, a regular feature unfortunately in the WSL…