Country before club or the crazy scheduling in the WSL

The next round of Euro qualifiers is coming soon and those are decisive games for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Games are spread between the 16th and 21st of June with double headers for those countries. All those games will be decisive for direct or play-offs qualification for Euro 2013.

Nothing unusual so far except that 3 teams are playing on Thursday the 21st of June. And then comes the “FA WSL Day 7”  games : 2 days later on the 23rd of June. 3 out of those 4 games are played on Saturday the 23rd while the last game will be shown live on ESPN on Sunday the 24th.

Saturday 16 June  Scotland v Israel and Ireland v Wales

Sunday 17 June  England v Netherlands

Wednesday  20 June Wales v  Israel

Thursday 21 June  Ireland v Scotland 1900 and Slovenia v  England 1930

And then barely 41 hours later with all the travel to be made to come home :

Saturday  23 June at 2 pm Lincoln v Chelsea and Doncaster v Liverpool, at 6 pm Bristol v Everton

Sunday 24 June Live on ESPN Arsenal v Bitmingham 2pm


The players likely to be involved in those games :

Arsenal

Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Ellen White, Rachel Yankey, Jayne Ludlow, Hayley Ladd, Emma Byrne, Yvonne Tracy, Niamh Fahey, Ciara Grant, Jennifer Beattie, Kim Little

Birmingham

Laura Bassett, Rachel Unitt, Karen Carney,  Jade Moore, Eniola Aluko, Rachel Williams,

Bristol

Siobhan Chamberlain, Loren Dykes, Michelle Green, Angharad James, Jessica Fishlock, Natasha Harding, Ellie Curson

Chelsea

Carly Telford, Claire Rafferty, Dunia Susi, Sophie Ingle, Helen Bleazard, Helen Lander, Kylie Davies, Katie Sherwood,

Doncaster

Julie Ann Russell, Aine O’Gorman,

Everton

Rachel Brown, Jill Scott, Fara Williams, Toni Duggan, Gwennan Harries,

Lincoln

Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney,

Liverpool

Nicola Davies, Hannah Keryakoplis, Ruesha Littlejohn    

I don’t think it is a really serious to expect girls who have played 90 minutes on a Thursday evening to perform properly on a Saturday at 2 pm or 6 pm for their club side. Especially if they also had 90 minutes the previous Saturday/Sunday.

I would expect Alex Fergurson or Roberto Mancini to be shouting in the media if their players had an international on Thursday and a club game on Saturday.  So they wouldn’t do that schedule for full time  men pro side but semi-pro or amateur girls have got to do it. That is not serious and professional to organise such a schedule. Especially as those international games are planned a year or more in advance !

Well history tells us that the FA WSL is actually a kind of  supporting tool for the England team. Last year 7 games in 5 weeks then nothing for 2 months then again 7 games in 5 weeks plus 1 to 3 games as a bonus in the Conti cup. Why not spread games more ? At least this problem has been solved more or less this season.  I won’t even speak of crucial Champions League semi-final ties sandwiched between important League games like last year, because it was simply unbelievable to put the WSL opener in the middle of those 2 important games.

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Update from the WSL : teams are in discussion regarding the Saturday games. So putting those back to Sunday might be an option.  That would be a good news for the players and the fans.

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Birmingham v Chelsea

A very entertaining game last night with both side trying to attack play football and keep possession. Some excellent goals well taken by Carney, Lander or Potter and some poor defending for some of the other goals.

We also had a funny moment when Birmingham were awarded a free kick for a Marta dive close to the penalty area. Westwood was told off by the referee for interfering on the goalline in no uncertain term and Buet stayed in front of the ball for a very long time to prevent any quick free-kick ( lesson learnt). Not mentioning Potter preparing for the shot in a very strange posture.

The home side had made one change from the team that started the FA Cup final last Saturday with Aluko coming on for Harrop while Chelsea changed 3 players Bleazard Coombs and Sherwood making way for Longhurst Hincks and Spence.

Chelsea in 4-4-2 that needed a few minutes to adapt as they usually play a midfield 3. I believe the 2nd goal was actually due to adaptating to the configuration because Taylor went on the run and the 2 midfielders were caught too high on the pitch and normally the 3rd player at the head of the triangle would have stopped Taylor.

Birmingham with a very fluid 4-3-3 with the front 6 interchanging positions on the wing in the middle with great effect. What I also noted was both side had a special gameplan and had studied very hard the cup final video. Chelsea pressing as high as it could be on every goal kick while Birmingham wasa also pressing on certain area on the pitch.

Overall a good enternaining game with plenty of goals to entertain the crowd.