FA WSL1 matchday 7 preview

The top 2 teams are playing tonight and it will interesting to see if they drop any points.

 

Liverpool (4) v Man City (1)

Can Liverpool be the first team to beat City? It will a very difficult task against a side that has yet to concede a goal in the League. Should they manage to get a least a point, it would make the title race slightly more open.

Chelsea (2) v Sunderland (8)

Both side are not in a positive trend at the moment with Chelsea having lost   games in a row and Sunderland nowhere near their level from last season.

Sunderland are in the relegation zone with no win so far and there is question mark about teams having found the way to counter them.

Chelsea will certainly have a lot of possession and Sunderland can hit them on the break as they did last season.

These games are the last ones before the mid-season break. A reminder that some teams will have played seven games while the poor Donnie Belles have played three and sit at the bottom of the table.

 

 

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FA WSL 2 matchday 7 preview

This is the final matchday before the mid-season Summer break and there are plenty of interesting games today sll over the country.

 

London Bees (6) v Durham Women (4)

The Bees have been steadily improving while Durham could go top of the table for a least a couple of hours with an away win. Durham beat the Bees in Cup and League games and are therefore favorite to win. The Bees are on a good run of form and will trouble them at Northwood FC today as the Hive pitch is being rebuilt right now.

Everton (1) v Millwall (7)

Everton are top of theLeague and looking to get promoted at the second time of asking. They played each other earlier in the season and drew 2-2. Millwall need at least a point to reignite their season and a win if they want to come back in the promotion race.

Oxford (8) v Watford (10)

Oxford are on a positive run while Watford are still winless, it should an interesting battle at Abingdon with a clash of style and plenty of goals expected.

Sheffield (9) v Bristol (3)

The promoted team are still looking for their first win in the division against a Bristol side that need points following their defeat to Yeovil in the derby. With such a tight promotion race, dropping points can be costly. The two teams met in Bristol on a rainy day and it was a tight physical encounter that ended with a 0-0 scoreline.

Yeovil Town (2) v Aston Villa (5)

A game with two team who can look at being promoted with Villa needing points to close the gap on the top 4. Yeovil could go top of the league again depending on the other sides results.

There will be a full month hiatus after today’s game and the  FA WSL 2 will come back on the 25th of June with Bristol v Oxford

 

 

Awful scheduling means unfair pressure on Donnie Belles

I think we have reached a kind of new record in the FA WSL with one team at the mid season break with 0 point and three games played out of 16.

So there we are. An unbelievable situation where the Belles are chasing the pack, are under a lot of pressure to get their first points on board and they have three or four games on hand over the other relegation  threatened teams.

In the Premier league that would be the equivalent of having seven games or nine games on hand with the teams above the relegation zone. If you imagine at the half-way break  in the PL Norwich with seven games played during the season  while Sunderland would have played 14 and Newcastle 17 games, there would be a genuine outcry.

I know they have those games on hand but these are virtual points while the others have real points. I mean the Belles can collect 39 points in the second half of the season in theory, while Sunderland could get 33 and Reading 30. So in theory, the Belles are in a good position at the moment.

But the fact is the Belles have been continuously rooted to the bottom place of the FA WSL since the 24th of March ( except for one day on the 24th of April) and therefore will be there for a total of three months, with no real chance to get points on board and relieve the pressure is a disgrace.

The Belles result so far:

24th of March H Chelsea L 1-4

27th of April A Birmingham L 1-2

2nd of May A City L 0-6

Two games lost against the top two teams for a promoted side is an expected result result, while the Birmingham away was certainly a winnable game for the Belles. And in the meantime other sides will have played five, six or seven games overall at the mid season break.

This an horribly unfair competition and it cannot be more wrong than that. I know a nine team league format does not help but the whole fixture list has been an horror show since the beginning of the season.

Luckily for the Belles, Notts County with four points, Reading with four points and Sunderland with three points are very much within striking distance from them and a single win would see the relegation battle heat up seriously. But as long as they cannot find that elusive first win, the relegation threat will be looming large.

#doncaster-belles, #fa-wsl-schedule

The FA WSL 2 promotion race ep 2

We have now reached matchday 6 out of 18 ie a third of the League and there are four clear contenders for promotion all within one point of each other.

Durham 1 Sheffield 0

Yeovil 2 Bristol 0

Aston Villa 0 Everton  2

An important win for Everton who are top of the table for the first time this season and also push Villa to the fifth place and open a four points gap with them.

Yeovil win the derby against Bristol and climbs up to the second place.

Durham win a  tight win against Sheffield consolidate their place in the chasing pack as they are a point behind the leaders.

The top 5 table :

1 Everton 13 pts + 10 pl5  2.6 ppg

2 Yeovil 13 pts + 8 pl 6 2.16 ppg

————————

3 Bristol 13 pts +6 pl 6 2.16 ppg

4 Durham 12 pts + 6 pl 5 2.4 ppg

5 Aston Villa 9 pts -1 pl 6 1.5 ppg

 

Next games before the Summer break

London Bees v Durham

Everton v Millwall

Sheffield v Bristol

Yeovil v Aston Villa

 

FA WSL relegation battle ep 3

Liverpool with a 4-0 win at Sunderland and Birmingham with a home draw to Reading are now flying away from the relegation battle as they are 8 and 7 points clear of the Doncaster Belles.

There are therefore four teams still in the trouble zone although Notts County with four points are clearly safe enough as long as Doncaster do not win a game.

The three remaining teams that have not won a game yet are battling to avoid the bottom of the table and relegation.

Doncaster 0 point in three games so far, they are rooted at the bottom of the table and need points against Arsenal. They have an awful schedule having to play the likely top three teams in their first four games and will reach the mid-season break having player 42% less games than other teams in the League.

Sunderland three points in five. Last season’s surprise team is struggling a little with three draws in five games but no wins. Their next game away to Chelsea will be important for their confidence.

Reading four points in six. They have only lost in the League to Arsenal ( twice) and are now going into the Summer break with total number of points and below teams might come close to them.

The Champions League race ep1

So far the two qualifying champions league places seemed to be promised to Manchester City and Chelsea but the Blues’ defeat at home to the Citizens leaves a door slightly opened for other side to come back in the race.

Latest results :

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 2

Birmingham City 0 Reading 0

Sunderland 0 Liverpool 4

 

Table

1 Man City 18 pts +15 pl 6

2 Chelsea 12 pts +7 pl 5


3 Birmingham 8 pts -1 pl 6

4 Liverpool 7 pts 0 pl 6

5 Arsenal 7 pts -1 pl 5

 

Manchester are very likely to qualify for the Champions League as they are ten points ahead of third placed Birmingham City.

Chelsea see the chasing pack come closer with Birmingham four points behind alongside Liverpool and Arsenal five points behind.

 

Upcoming games before the mid-season break.

Doncaster v Arsenal

Birmingham v Notts County

Liverpool v Man City

Chelsea v Sunderland

Jodie Taylor not cleared to play for Arsenal yet ?

There was a surprising information given by Tony Leighton about Jodie Taylor being not eligible for the FA Women’s Cup final. As of today the England forward has not played a game  for the Arsenal Ladies.

Here is the tweet :

For those who wonder what is an international clearance also known as the ITC ( International transfer certificate), let’s have a look at the FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of the player , October 2015 version which is the latest one.

Players registered at one association may only be registered at a new
association once the latter has received an International Transfer Certificate
(hereinafter: ITC) from the former association. The ITC shall be issued free of
charge without any conditions or time limit. Any provisions to the contrary
shall be null and void. The association issuing the ITC shall lodge a copy with
FIFA. The administrative procedures for issuing the ITC are contained in
Annexe 3, article 8, and Annexe 3a of these regulations

Any player who is registered with a club that is affiliated to one association shall
not be eligible to play for a club affiliated to a different association unless an ITC
has been issued by the former association and received by the new association
in accordance with the provisions of this annexe. Special forms provided by FIFA
for this purpose or forms with similar wording shall be used

At the very latest, the ITC must be requested on the last day of the registration
period of the new association.

All applications to register a professional must be submitted by the new club
to the new association during one of the registration periods established
by that association. All applications shall be accompanied by a copy of the
contract between the new club and the professional. Equally, a copy of the
transfer agreement concluded between the new club and the former club shall
be provided to the new association, if applicable. A professional is not eligible
to play in official matches for his new club until an ITC has been issued by the
former association and received by the new association.

The last sentence would explain why Jodie Taylor has not played a game yet for Arsenal Ladies.

 

Then if we have a look at the FA WSL 2016 Rules, there are some bizarre provisions on players playing without an ITC ie something that should not happen as per FIFA as seen in bold above.

8.7 It is the responsibility of all Clubs to ensure any Player signing a registration form has, where necessary, the required International Clearance Certificate

Then the bizarre rules starting piling in:

Playing an ineligible player 8.65 and 8.66:

Any Club found to have played an ineligible Player in a Competition Match or Competition Matches shall, save in exceptional circumstances, have any points gained from that Competition Match or Competition Matches deducted from its record, up to a maximum of 12 points, and have levied upon it a fine. The Management Committee may also order that such Competition Match or Competition Matches be replayed on such terms as are decided by the Management Committee which may also levy penalty points against the Club in default.

The Management Committee may determine not to impose a points deduction in circumstances where the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an International Clearance Certificate or where the ineligibility is related to the Player’s status

According to this rule Arsenal could play Jodie Taylor and get away without a penalty depending on a vote from the management committee, this cannot be serious ??

The same apply for the FA WSL Conti Cup :

Where a Club is found to have played an ineligible Player in a Competition Match or Competition Matches that Competition Match or Competition Matches shall be awarded to the opposition Club.  Notwithstanding the above, the Management Committee shall have the power, in its absolute discretion, not to order that the Competition Match be awarded to the opposition team only in circumstances where the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an International Clearance Certificate or where the ineligibility is related to the Player’s status. In such circumstances, the Management Committee shall have the power to impose any sanction that it determines.”

I find it baffling that a team can actually register with the FA a player without an ITC and could also play that player in games and potentially get away without being penalised as it only depends on a vote from the Management Committee.

 

 

Behind closed door England games, a missed opportunity to promote the game ?

The FA has just announced the squad for the Nordics U23 tournament to be played in June and England will play the USA, Norway and Sweden behind closed door.

There is no domestic women’s football played in June, so you would think in term of promoting the women’s games, having top quality U23 international teams in England would be a great opportunity to showcase women’s football at a high level ?

But the unfortunately the FA does not see it that way :

“The Nordic Tournament matches will be open to friends, family and invited guests only”

It just reinforces the feeling that if you are part of the in-crowd, you can get access to the games and see the England youth teams play. If you are not in, well, tough luck.

I note also that when the Nordic tournament is played abroad, you don’t seem to have a problem attending the games at all. I have seen those games in Sweden and other fans saw them in Norway as well without problem.

The same thing happened with the recent UEFA U16 development tournament played behind closed door in England and then a month later England played a six nations tournament in Italy and I attended the England U16 v France U16 game without trouble.

I think the FA has used Loughborough University, the Lilleshall’s National Sports Centre and St George’s Park of course for those behind closed door international games in 2016. I saw also a couple of games at Bisham Abbey in 2015 as well.

It does make sense in term of logistics and costs to use those grounds and save money. If you have good facilities available, why not use them rather than spend money on hiring a ground, security etc.

It is just a pity that fans are not allowed to come and watch. There are certain capacity problems for sure.  For example at St George’s Park, where I recently managed to attend the FA Girls Youth Cup final. The stand next to the pitch where the game was played was so small, it was packed to the rafters.

That game was tickets only to the FA guests and the two finalist teams also got a small allocation. I was lucky enough to get a ticket from one of the club but my fellow supporters and friends who wanted to attend the game, did not manage to get in.

So having a quality tournament on English soil with top teams and not make it available to fans probably due to logistics constraints is a bit disappointing.

I think I could probably get a ticket to those games, because in those situations, it is simply a question of knowing someone who can get you access to the games, but is it really what women’s football is about ?

Having the lucky few allowed to watch youth international games, while other fans get frustrated or angry that they are not given access because they don’t know the right persons ?

Luckily enough, the England fans will able to watch the senior team against Serbia around that time.A  game played on Saturday the 4th of June at Adams Park.

But for those  for example who wants to see Beth Mead tested against top quality U23 international teams, the answer is no.

England U19 double header against France

England U19 will have a training camp and play a double header soon against France U19 at St George’s Park.

From the FA news on the website :

Head coach Mo Marley has named an 18-player squad for the encounter which will take place at St. George’s Park on Thursday 2 June. The match will be open to friends, family and invited guests only.
As usual, the game is played behind closed door with friends and family invited with up to 4 guests  allowed at the game per player.
That information is in contradiction with the FFF information given by France U19 manager Gilles Eyquem :
“End of May beginning of June we will play two friendlies against England.”
So who can we believe, the FA or the FFF ? Is there a ghost game somewhere?
Then if you look at the right place you can find the following information :
Tuesday 31st of May
Match day
17.30 England v France Behind closed door – No spectators
 Thursday 2nd of June
Match day and depart
15.00 England v France St George’s Park
So there is definitely a double header with an hidden game by England for some reason. I am hoping to be able to attend the game on the 2nd of June, pending approval of course.  The ghost game on the 31st of May, well it is a no spectating one.
The France team will be preparing for the Euro finals in Slovakia while England will certainly test some younger players, who will be in the squad next season although they also have a U18 camp lined-up for the younger players.

FA WSL relegation battle Ep 2

With those catch-up games today, there were some big points won today in the relegation battle.

Birmingham City : a huge win at competitor Notts County means there are getting closer  to safety. They now have seven points and therefore seven points ahead of the Belles who have two games in hand.

Notts County : a disappointing home defeat to Birmingham, they are four points ahead of the Belles who have a game in hand.

Liverpool : heavy 6-3 defeat at Chelsea leaves them with four points ahead of the Belles who have two games in hand over them

Sunderland :  no game this week-end, still three points ahead of the Belles who have a game in hand over them

Reading : no game this week-end, still three points ahead of the Belles who have two games in hand over them

Doncaster Belles : no game, no points so far but games in hand over all their competitors. Next League game  at home to Arsenal is crucial to kickstart their season.

 

Virtual table if the teams win all their games in hand and all have played 5 games

Arsenal 7 pts

Birmingham 7 pts

Notts County 7 pts

Doncaster 6 pts

Sunderland 6 pts

Liverpool 4 pts

Reading 3 pts

 

Liverpool and Reading are the teams most  at risk if the Belles start winning games.

 

Upcoming games :

18/05 Sunderland v Liverpool

19/05 Birmingham v Reading

21/05 Doncaster v Arsenal

22/05 Birmingham v Notts County

25/05 Liverpool v Man City

25/05 Chelsea v Sunderland

 

And then a month off….

Number of games played before the transfer window opens overall

Man City 7, Birmingham 7, Liverpool 7, Chelsea 6, Arsenal 6, Sunderland 6, Reading 6, Notts County 5 , Doncaster 4