FA WSL

FA WSL Game Day 5 (30th May)

Bristol 2 Arsenal 3

Goals : Natalia, Yorston, Houghton, Little, Flaherty

Assists : Heatherson, Little, Davison, Yankey

Bookings : McCatty, Yankey, Beattie

Red Card : McCatty

Everton 2 Doncaster 2

Goals : Parris, Boye-Hlorkah, Williams, Foster

Assists : Hinnigan, England, Foster

Bookings : None

Red card : None

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FA WSL

FA WSL Game Day 5 (28th of May)

Birmingham 2 Chelsea 1

Goals : Isobel Christiansen, Josanne Potter, Hannah Blundell

Assists: Kirsty Linnett, referee, Danielle Buet

Bookings : None

Red card :  None

Table

1. Bristol 9 pts (3) +5

2. Chelsea 7 pts (5) +2

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3. Liverpool 6 pts (3) +4

4. Birmingham 6 pts (4) +1

5. Everton 4 pts (3) +1

6. Lincoln 2 pts (4) -3

7. Arsenal 1 pt (2) -4

8. Doncaster 0 pt (2) -6 (R)

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Game reports

Birmingham v Chelsea

A very important win for Birmingham that keep their unbeaten status allow them to climb up the table and join the Champions League battle with Bristol, Liverpool and Chelsea. There are currently 4 teams vying for those positions and with Everton and Arsenal looking for a win this week to join up the race.

3 good goals scored yesterday :
Birmingham scored 12 seconds into the second half as Chelsea were sleeping. The ball went to the right wing to Linnett who passed it on the edge of the area to Christiansen who went round a defender and fired it low past Telford.
Then Potter hit a missile from 30 yards with the strangest build up to the goal : Chelsea were playing from the back with a center back playing to their midfield, the referee with one perfect unvoluntary angled touch put it straight into Potter’s path and took out the whole Chelsea team at the same time. Potter had time and space to unleash a rocket in the top corner.
You won’t see many goals this season that will be better than this one.
Chelsea got one back via FA WSL debutante Hannah Blundell who got a pass from Dani Buet on the corner edge of the penalty area, she managed to beat a defender and had a powerful shot from 15 yards.

Birmingham had the predicted line-up with Harrop replacing the long term injured Unitt at left back with Westwood coming at center back. Up front the 3 youngsters were deployed Linnett, Christiansen and Lawley behind Williams or “Big willy” as she gets called from the touchline.
Hourihan, Weston Bassett Westwood Harrop, Moore Potter, Linnett Christiansen Lawley, Williams.

Chelsea made a few changes with Carly Telford back after her injury problems. A couple of players moved positions or were dropped from the Liverpool game :
Telford, Susi Davies Holtham Vidarsdottir, Gadarsdottir Buet, Bleazard Lander Aluko Jakobssson.
As usual a very attacking line-up from Emma Hayes with 2 wingers and 2 center forward.

In the first half, the two teams were semi-direct to direct in their approach to the game with Birmingham pressing high on the pitch. There were a few half chances and shot but nothing super conclusive as both side defender well enough to keep a clean sheet at half time. Birmingham using the wingers and Williams’ pace to try to run behind Chelsea’s defence. While Chelsea seemed to be playing with a handbrake in term of build up attacking football and relying on 2nd ball wins to find space and opportunities.

All that changed in the 2nd half with the early goal and the game became more open with more commitment going forward on the ball. And when the second goal was scored in curious fashion the game opened totally and it was the classic attack v defense with Birmingham defending deep and hitting on the break.

In term of sub used, Torkildsen replaced the tired Linnett as expected and Wilkinson came on for the injured Williams. Ester came on early in the second half for Gadarsdottir, Spence on Bleazard to give a better balance in the central midfield area and Blundell for Vidarsdottir at left back. The latter move immediately paid dividend with a goal.

It looks like Birmingham has now more or less found a settled starting 11 with the only change in the future being Carney for one of the 3 youngsters. Speaking of Carney, she is still very much a doubt for the Euros with her ankle ligaments injury.

Chelsea still seems to be rotating players in the starting 11 and the best line-up is not there yet. What was noticeable at the game is some players are not really performing well and the attacking duo Ward-Aluko has 2 similar players and it does seem to work well alongside 2 wingers. I wonder why Longhurst does not get a game alongside one of those 2 girls with her different center forward profile. No doubt Ogimi will be starting in the 2nd half of the season (if she is signed).

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FA WSL

FA WSL Game Day 5 preview

Birmingham v Chelsea 28/05 both side went out of the Conti Cup, so will be eager to make amend for that. Chelsea on a 2 defeat run with 0-6 goals scored. Birmingham still looking for their first win in the League after 3 draws and desperately needing 3 points to climb up the table. It would not be a big surprise if that game end up with a draw.

Liverpool v Lincoln 29/05 this will be a rehearsal for the Conti Cup semi-final. Liverpool attacking style against Lincoln superb defence. Lincoln very solid recently with a double 1-1 draw v Arsenal and Birmingham. Liverpool lost to Chelsea 2-1 in the League and got their revenge 4-0 in the Conti Cup. It will be a real test of Liverpool’s credential and if they manage to put a few goal past the solid Ladyimps defence, they will certainly become favorite for the title and will surely finish in the Champions League places.

Bristol v Arsenal 30/05 the FA Cup final will have an impact on that game. The Arsenal 3-0 victory came with a huge cost for Bristol Academy with Windell and Staniforth coming off with injuries. Let’s hope Lucy is alright and that she will be back soon on the pitch. The Vixens will also hope Del Rio will be fully fit as she was very useful when she came on. This will be the  4th home game in 4 for the Vixens. The person who organised the fixtures was having a laugh. It is a decisive game for Arsenal because they cannot afford another draw or defeat.  If that happens, this will become a kind of transition season for the Gunners. Another victory for the Vixens would maintain their 100% record and make them favorite for a top 2 place.

Everton v Doncaster. 30/05 The Belles will be looking to get something out of this game after doing well at home against Everton in the Conti Cup. Everton are currently 4th with 4 points and really need the 3 points to climb up the table. Doncaster obvioulsy already relegated by the FA will try to climb the table up. Toni Duggan is supended for the game.

Just a reminder on how the table looks like after 4 games played this season out of 14 and the maximum number of points they could reach this season and the 2 previous seasons as well

1. Bristol 9 pts (42-18-16)

2. Chelsea 7 pts (37-17-15)

3. Liverpool 6 pts (39-5-7)

4. Everton 4 pts (37-25-25)

5. Birmingham 3 pts (36-26-29)

6. Lincoln 2 pts ( 32-18-21)

7. Arsenal 1 pt (37 – 34-32)

8. Doncaster 0 pt ( 36-11-9)

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FA Women's Cup

FA Cup final preview

The game will be played Sunday at the Keepmoat Stadium at 3pm Live on BBC for those who won’t make the trip. Arsenal Ladies v Bristol Academy. It will be a repeat of the 2011 final that saw the Vixens qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history. Things have changed a lot since 2011 with many new players at Bristol and a new coach at Arsenal.

So what can we expect from both side ? Bristol will be hoping for a return to full fitness for Laura Del Rio who should partner her fellow Spanish forward Natalia Sanchon. On the wing Natasha Harding and Nikki Watts or Annie Heatherson. 2 central midfield players Lucy Staniforth and Alex Windell although Angharad James might be in contention. In defence, it should be the usual back 4 Dykes, Rose, Matthews and Yorston with Siobhan Chamberlain in goal.

Bristol is an attacking side with the Spanish duo up front who combine well together supplemented by a fast right winger Harding. Staniforth in midfield is good on the ball and controls play. Yorston bring also a lot of the attacking play from her left back position. They should score a couple of goals but might concede more…

Arsenal has been using the same starting 11 for a while now. News of Fahey ACL injury has filtered through although no there was no official announcement unlike Chelsea and Birmingham for Rafferty and Unitt.
Yankey was back as a sub and should be in contention for a start besides this it should be the same 10 other players really.

Byrne, Scott Grant Flaherty Beattie, Houghton Nobbs Little, Davison White Yankey. Personally I would prefer Steph at left back, Jayne in midfield to add some missing leadership on the pitch and Jenny up front either at the start or as a sub as she has a different profile. The usual Arsenal subs should be there and maybe Kelly Smith if her injury has healed, otherwise it will be Spencer, Tracy, Bailey, Ludlow,Bragg, Bruton as usual and little prospects of coming on as per recent games.

So it will be a very good battle in midfield and those attacks v defense should be super entertaining.

My prediction Arsenal 3 Bristol 2

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Game reports, International football

Lyon v Wolfsburg

( For those who don’t know by my nickname I am French so the game is seen by a French supporter’s eyes )

A very disappointing result for the French team, credit to Wolfsburg who showed the same defensive quality as against Arsenal to neutralize Lyon’s attacking play. It is obvious a lot of work was done on the training ground to prepare for the game and the OL player never really found a solution in a very tense game.

It is a pity that the game was settle by a non existent penalty. The LOTG are really clear, it needs to be deliberate to be a penalty. It is obvious it was not, the player said in the post game interview that the ball hit her hand, she cannot do much about it. Football is a game of small margin, sometimes it goes against you, sometimes it goes your way.

In term of players, Lyon played in the usual 4-3-3 with one surprise from the usual starting 11 really.

Bouhaddi : good game, made no real mistake really, no luck on the penalty

Franco : correct game, tried to help going forward as well

Georges : long time treatment in the first half. Solid alongside Renard, unlucky with penalty decision

Renard : very good game as always, Solid as a rock defensively

Bompastor : correct game, could have brought a little more attacking wise

Henry : correct game, usual role had a few shots, tried to energize the midfield

Necib : correct game, tried to create thing, good defensive work

Abily : nothing came off for her on the day, hence her substitution

Thomis : did her usual winger’s job, not the best final ball on the night

Schelin : very isolated on the night by the lack of service and movements from the midfield and wingers

Rapinoe : surprise choice in the starting 11, out of sync with other players, Did not always track back defensively, hooked at half time logically.

Subs :
Dickenmann : tried to bring her energy, runs and attacking skills, subbed out late in the game ?

Le Sommer : a few runs as late sub, tried her best

Majri : on too late to have an impact on the left wing.

Lair : expected starting 11 besides Rapinoe, 2 very logical and needed subs, last one bizzare but explained as an injury to Dickenmann

Wolfsburg : superb defensive organisation, pressing high with up to 3 players in the same pocket of area.
Soaked up the pressure, created many chances as well (5 I think).
Well worth a win on the night.

Overall a tense game, a good game of chess football for the 2 coaches with Kellerman the winner. The physical intensity was really good and it showed in the last 20 minutes when it went down and holes appeared all over the pitch.

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