FA WSL

2015 a tough season for the Vixens ?

3 games into the 2015 season and it looks like it will be a tough one for Bristol Academy. It kind of remind of what happened for Arsenal Ladies last year. Lots of players leaving during the winter transfer window, disaster in the Champions League and a bad start of the League season. Hopefully the League won’t start as badly as it did for the Arsenal girls.

So far, the results have been poor as a result of a tough schedule assignment.

21/03 H Frankfurt 0-5 UEFA WCL quarter-finals

24/03 A Everton 1-2 FA Women’s Cup Round 5

29/03 A Frankfurt 0-7 UEFA WCL quarter finals

There is no doubt that having your first competitive game against a top European side was a difficult task as shown by the result. The FA then scheduling an away FA Cup game in the middle of two tough Champions League game is ridiculous but that’s the FA for you.

They are used not to care about English clubs in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, always scheduling game at the same time as the big European ties or between big games. As early as 2011 when the FA WSL started, the FA scheduled the competition opener Chelsea v Arsenal between the UEFA WCL semi-finals ties OL Feminines v Arsenal Ladies. As if it is not hard enough to play against OL let’s give the English team another hurdle to jump.

With the Champions League return game played yesterday and a 7-0 defeat, that’s 3 games played 1 goal scored and 14 conceded. Out of the FA Women’s Cup beaten by the lower division and out of the Champions League beaten by a superior team ( on the pitch and probably with 15 times the Vixens budget available) .

There was a huge gap between a Bundesliga contender and a semi-professional team like Bristol. We saw the same thing with the other British side in the competition with Glasgow City beaten by PSG 2-0 and 5-0 and spending 180 minutes chasing the ball and defending. Players and managers did  their best but they were competing about a team operating at a different level.

At least they now have a 4 day break to recover and regroup before the League opener at Stoke Gifford against a very ambitious Chelsea side. Then it is Arsenal away on the 15th of April, Sunderland away on the 18th of April, Notts County at home on the 25th of April and Birmingham away on the 29th to end up April.

As usual when there is a huge personnel turnover, the team needs time to gel on the pitch and learn how to play with each other, especially after implementing a certain style with certain players for many seasons. It is a tough challenge with games coming thick and fast.

The Vixens’ boss knows it will be a tough season and is preparing for it :

“Our main priority is to make sure that we are in the top division again next year,”

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FA WSL 2

WSL2 Watford v Villa & Bees v Reading

This week-end I attended two games or rather one and a half as I will explain later.

First on Saturday, I went to Vicarage Road to watch a good game between Watford Ladies and Aston Villa. I previously tipped Villa to be the dark horses in the promotion race behind the 3 favourites alongside Yeovil. Well Villa were superb in the first half on Saturday.

Their attacking play found a lot of space time and time again behind Watford’s defence. Their front 4 of Robinson, Fergusson, Wilkinson and my player of the match Cottam created so many chances and were rewarded with four goals. They made a very good use of Watford’s turnover and had a lot of joy on their left side of the pitch.

Watford fans were very loud. As well as the PA that was extremely loud, I ended up putting my earplugs on. I think Watford have a young side and are rebuilding a bit. Their passing quality was not good enough and they gave the ball back to quickly to often in the first half to devastating effect.

The second half saw Aston Villa in control while Watford made a few chances without getting on the scoresheet. Still better than the Bees v Reading second half.

So today was my second week-end game. London Bees were improving as sees with their goalless draw at Millwall but they were simply abysmal against a strong Reading side.

Put it this way, they shot themselves in the foot. Their 4-1-4-1 system was just bizzare. A center forward at right back that lacks pace. Their regular CB pairing that are not the quickest either. Then 4 midfields including on defensive mid on the right and a central attacking midfield on the left. I find it absurd.

A super quick forward like Kirby roaming everywhere backed up by Bruton and Follis who aren’t slow themselves against 3 defenders struggling against pace, it is a bit of a mismatch. You can still prevent the through ball to happen if the midfield is tight and cut through the dangerous passes. But no, the poor defensive midfield was left chasing shadows on her own.

When the boat has holes, you prevent it from sinking. The Bees rarely managed to get out of their own with the ball at their feet. The lone forward was left up front on her own. You have to question why Anderson who was excellent against Millwall when she came was exiled on the right. You have someone who reads the game so well defensively and can fluidify your attacking game as well and she is stuck on the wing ?

And at the same time your lone defensive midfielder is overcrowded, why not use a double pivot ? Bees could gave gone  4-2-3-1 when they were two nil down after twenty minutes.  But no changes and three more goals duly came.

Suffice to say I did not stay for the second half. Reading were superb on the day finiding holes in a gruyere Bees defence but I don’t find it interesting to watch such a non competitive game. And I have been watching some of the Bees girls for many years when they were with the Arsenal youth teams abd sometimes first. They did not deserve that kind of humiliation, so I just went home at half time in protest at the bad team management.

Reading first fourty five minutes were in contrast :  superb. The forward line interchanging place regularly with Bragg, Bruton and Kirby movement creating trouble on every occasion. Follis and Jane combined superbly on the right as well. A top performance and deservedly top of the League.

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FA WSL

The FA WSL 1 table after Matchday 1

Arsenal and Bristol have a game in hand due to the Champions League quarter finals tie involving the Vixens.

1. Chelsea 3pts +1
2. Sunderland 3 pts +1
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3. Birmingham 1 pt 0
4. Man City 1 pt 0
5. Arsenal 0 pt 0
6. Bristol 0pt 0
7. Liverpool 0 pt -1
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8. Notts County 0 pt -1

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FA WSL 2

The FA WSL 2 2015 table after Matchday 2

Here is the table after Matchday 2

1. Reading Women 6 pts + 9 pl 2

2. Doncaster Belles 6 pts  +4 pl 2

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3. Everton Ladies 4 pts +1 pl2

4. Aston Villa Ladies 3 pts +2 pl

5. Durham Women 3 pts 0 pl 2

6. Oxford United 3 pts -2 pl

7. Millwall Lionesses 2 pts o pl2

8. London Bees 1 pt -7 pl 2

9. Yeovil Town 0 pt -3 pl2

10. Watford Ladies 0 pt -4 pl2

Reading and Doncaster starting a two horse race already while Yeovil and Watford are still without a point.

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FA WSL 2

FA WSL 2 Matchday 2 statistics

Watford Ladies  1 v Aston Villa Ladies 4

Goals : M Wynne; K Welsh, A Robinson x2, K Wilkinson

Yellow card : S Mayling

Red card

Doncaster Belles 2 v Yeovil Town 1

Goals : C Sweetman- Kirk x2; P Stewart

Yellow card : –

Red card : –

Durham Women 3 v Oxford United 0

Goals : A Pereira, R Beech, C Corrie

Yellow card : C Bruce, S Osborne-Ricketts, G Simmonds

Red card : –

London Bees 0 v Reading Women 7

Goals : F Kirby x5, B Horwood, L Bruton

Yellow card : –

Red card : –

Millwall Lionesses 1 v Everton ladies 1

Goals : R Ayane, J King

Yellow card :-

Red card : –

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FA WSL

FA WSL 1 Matchday 1 preview

Liverpool 1 Sunderland 2

Arsenal v Bristol P-P

Birmingham v Manchester City

An early test of the credentials for both teams. Their first competitive games ended up with a win, against Liverpool for the Blues and against the Belles for the Citizens funnily enough on the same scoreline. The big question is how quickly the City squad has gelled as a team and can they produce quality football straight from the start of the season. Blues will be without Chelsea Weston on a long term injury and Karen Carney still suspended after her incident with Natalia Sanchon while City will miss Abbie McManus who was sent off for violent conduct against Chelsea in the final League game was season.

Notts County v Chelsea Ladies

Another game with two teams expecting to compete for a top two place. Both side have recruited well during the winter and have won their FA Women’s Cup tie last week-end. As they have big ambitions, this another game where loosing is not a real option if they want to win the title.

As a reminder, the previous FA WSL champions were crowned three times with only two defeats and the other time with an unbeaten side.

We actually might see two draws this Sunday and Sunderland might still be top of the League by Sunday evening.

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FA WSL 2

FA WSL 2 Matchday 2 preview

Saturday

Watford v Aston Villa

The game will be played at Vicarage Road and with both teams defeated on matchday 1, they need to kickstart their season.

Both will be looking for a win to get their promotion hopes back on track

Doncaster v Yeovil

Doncaster are the early leaders and will look to consolidate their place at the top of the table while Yeovil will try to upset one of the promotion favourites, having failed to do so on Matchday 1

Sunday

Durham v Oxford

Durham are currently bottom of the table while Oxford had a good win on Matchday 1 and seem to have found their feet quicker than last season. It should be a close game.

London Bees v Reading

Reading will look to consolidate their top 2 place while the Bees will be trying to better their result from the previous season. The Bees have improved defensively and will try to snatch a point or more.

Millwall v Everton

Everton will also be looking to consolidate their promotion push while Millwall will try to bounce back from their defeat in the Cup.

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