Montpellier v Soyaux

Last Sunday, I travelled from Lyon to Montpellier to watch another Division 1 feminine game. It was a top of the table clash between champions league chasing team MHSC and 5th place Soyaux. It has to be said Soyaux season has been fantastic so far and they have just been promoted and to be leading the not big 4 table is a splendid achievement.

I mainly went to the game to watch 2 players Jennifer Beattie the former Arsenal player now at MHSC and Alice Benoit the France U19 international and former U17 captain.

Montpellier have a very friendly and welcoming coaching staff and their banter is great. They try to build a possession based attacking football mixing skills and pace. They had a few players injured for the first game in 2014 : Japanese midfielder Utsugi, Winger Makanza and the Swedish center forward Oqvist.

The game was played under bad conditions on a 3G pitch at the men’s training ground under rain and wind and was tight with Montpellier winning 2-0 with 2 late goals in the last 5 minutes. Full credit to Soyaux who were excellent defensively and threatened to score on the break.

An own goal and an oqvist finish on the break won it for Montpellier and it was very hard for them break a stubborn and resilient Soyaux side. A dreadful referee and assistants did not help either.

A quality game with 2 strong teams and many French senior and youth team players on display. Jennifer did not play much coming on as a late sub at defensive midfield while Alice played 90 excellent minutes in the defensive midfield position as well.


Olympique Lyonnais v PSG

On Saturday, I went to Stade Gerland in Lyon for the top of the table Division 1 Feminine game between Lyon and PSG.

The press area is huge over there, bigger than any press area at any ground I have been so far. For example, at Parc Y Scarlets the size is about a third of Lyon’s one.

Lyon were favourite as they had not lost a game for about 4 years in the League and were quick off the block getting early chances. Tactically OL were in 4-2-3-1 with Le Sommer on the right wing, Abily in the playmaker role and Necib on the left. Schelin the lone forward.

PSG were on the defensive and could not really get out of their half, they indeed produced 2 shots on target in the first half and nothing else. They played in a 4-5-1 with Horan up front very isolated when the ball was won back and a packed midfield to resist and battle Lyon’s superb attacking power. They did park the bus for most of the 1st half and managed to ride their luck in a couple of occasions where a penalty could have been given : Boulleau and Le Sommer colliding and the ball touching Krahn’s hand. There was also a penalty appeal for PSG but it was not given in a consistent manner by the referee.

So we were going to the half time break and PSG were offered a set piece on the left side from 35 yards. The ball was sent by Hamraoui in the penalty area. And…boom Georges headed it into the goal as Bouhaddi arrived too late to punch it. 1-0 PSG at half time. It was clearly under the run of play.

The second half started about the same with OL willing to attack then Patrice Lair made 2 early subs in the 56th minute with Schelin and Franco off for Majri and Thomis. 4 players moved position in the process.

A minute later Farid Benstiti put experienced player Shirley Cruz in for Hamraoui to add her experience and reading of the game to a team under a lot of pressure. Cruz had been injured prior to the game.

5 minute later on the 62nd Benstiti withdrew Horan from the field probably as she had just come back from the U20 WC qualifier from the Cayman Islands and was a bit tired. He added Kaci a central midfield player and put Asllani up front which allowed PSG to use her pace and threaten a lot more on the break.

Then Lair made his final substitution on the 67th minute which is really early replacing defensive midfield Bussaglia with center forward Tonazzi. Again 3 players moved position in the process Lyon tried to put more pressure on Paris but it seemed a bit disorganised and lacked a cutting edge. Although they hit the post with a Kumagai header. With 11 minute to go Benstiti withdrew Asllani and replaced her with Houara a defender/midfielder leaving PSG to play the last part of the game in a 4-6-0 system with no forward and trying to soak the pressure.

Unfortunately for them Dali was sent off for a 2nd booking 3 minutes later and Paris ended up playing in a 4-5-0 system for the last 8 minutes plus added time while Lyon whent in 3-0-7 for the same period of time with Renard up front doing an excellent job of flicking and heading balls. We saw Bouhaddi come up twice at set pieces to try to force home an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and PSG defended Fort Alamo until the final whistle.

It was a very surprising result considering Lyon had been unbeaten in the League in 87games and PSG were missing attacking players like Heath and Delie. They managed to take their chance on a set piece rode their luck in defence at time but managed to keep OL out something that had not happened for a very long time.

My player of the match : Benameur in goal for PSG who came big on all the aerial balls when Paris was under pressure in the 2nd half and was solid and reassuring.


Chesham v Larkhall FA Cup 2nd round

Today I visited a new ground, the home of Chesham United. Quite a nice ground, as one of my friend says a typical English ground.

We had an FA Cup upset as the underdog won 2-1 away. It was a bizzare game that started late because the away team arrived at kick-off time. The weather was cold and became very rainy in the second half.

The game was very entertaining, end to end stuff with both teams trying to attack and score as many goals as possible. One thing that surprised me was both side triend to stay as compact as possible, a feature of the highest level football but by doing do both side left a lot of space behind their defense. It meant there was often 30 meters between the defense and the goalkeeper rather than the usual 10-15 meters.

This meant a lot of space for runners and wingers hence a lot of chances created as forwards were in general faster than defenders.

The 3 goals came early in the first half and despite many chances nothing else was scored in the 2nd half. One Larkhall girl did a goal saving line clearance that would have meant extra-time.

Overall a very entertaining game, congratulations to Larkhall and all the best for the 3rd round draw when the FA WSL 2 teams enter the competition.

As usual if you want to read a proper report please go to and for the game’s pictures :


Arsenal Ladies players’ twitter

1. Emma Byrne @emmbs30

Siobhan Chamberlain @Sio_Chamberlain

8. Jordan Nobbs @JordanNobbs8

15. Danielle Carter @DC15_x

Casey Stoney @CaseyStoney

20. Caroline Weir @itscarolineweir

31. Sophie Harris @sophieh1207

24. Freda Ayisi @FredaAyisi

22. Alex Scott @Alexscott2

18. Emma Mitchell @emsmitch3

30. Bianca Bragg @Bianca_Bragg

10. Kelly Smith @Kelly_Smith10

FA WSL players extending contracts

Players extending contracts as per the team’s website/twitter,  post updated 10/01


Danielle Carter, Jordan Nobbs, Emma Byrne, Freda Ayisi, Jade Bailey, Alex Scott


Karen Carney


Laura Del Rio, Natasha Harding, Natalia Sanchon, Jemma Rose, Grace McCatty, Jasmine Matthews, Lauren Dykes


Rachel Brown-Finnis, Lindsay Johnson, Alex Greenwood, Fern Whelan,  Vicky Jones, Michelle Hinnigan, Jody Handley, Kelly Jones, Amy Kane, Nikita Parris,  Paige Williams, Lucy Whipp, Danielle Turner, Chaney Boye-Hlorkah, Simone Magill, Billie Murphy


Amanda Da Costa

Notts County

Jessica Clarke, Sophie Bradley

Southampton Saints 1 University of Portsmouth 2

For a full match report, please look at and for the match pictures

It was my first game in 2014 and with not many games played in the South East due to the waterlogged pitches all over the area.That game was one of few that survived on the day.

Met my friends at Farnborough  and we made our way to the ground near Southampton. Weather was freezing but was quite ok for the 1st but turned for the worse in the 2nd half with gales and heavy rain.

The game was good entertainment and both side tried to play some good football from the back. Full credit to both side that tried play attacking football in those conditions. It was quite a change from the FA WSL or international games but as enjoyable as any big game.

For those interested in those teams, the South West Combination table is here