FA WSL Development league Cup draw

The FA has disclosed the draw for the Preliminary round of the competiton. There are four games in this round prior to the first round with 8 games and 16 teams.

The preliminary round games are scheduled for the 09th of October, the day after after the last group stage games of the FIFA U17 WWC. I certainly expect some postponements as 14 out of 21 players in the squad would ne eligible to play in those cup games.

The draw is as follows :

Manchester City v Everton

Durham v Liverpool

Arsenal v Millwall

Reading v Chelsea

The remaining 12 teams will enter the competition in the first round.


FA Girls Youth Cup draw

The draw for the FA Girls Youth cup is available on the FA Website. Following the chance from the CoE to the RTC system, the competition is now a U16 rather than a U17 tournament.

The 16 games are scheduled to be played on the 15th of October

Durham v Leeds

Sunderland v Doncaster

Teeside v Sheffield

Blackburn v Man United

Boston v York

Man City v Liverpool

WBA v Birmingham

Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa

MK Dons v Everton

Stoke v Shrewsbury

Leicester v Derby

Millwall v Southampton

Brighton v Essex

Oxford v Gillingham

Reading v Chelsea

Arsenal v Bristol




The FA WSL triple winners

Following Manchester City’s triumph on Sunday, we now have seven FA WSL triple winners. This is quite a feat to be able to claim half of the trophies that have been handed since the competition creation in 2011.

The seven players are :

Gemma Davison Arsenal 2012, Liverpool 2014, Chelsea 2015. She is the only player to have won three titles with three different teams.

Gilly Flaherty, Katie Chapman and Niamh Fahey have won the trophy with Arsenal in 2011, 2012 and Chelsea in 2015.

Lucy Bronze has won the title with Liverpool in 2013 and 2014 and with Manchester City in 2016.

Jennifer Beattie and Stephanie Houghton have won the title with Arsenal in 2011, 2012 and Manchester City in 2016

I have counted 31 players who have won the title twice, many of them doing the double either with Arsenal or Liverpool in consecutive seasons. That count might be wrong as teamsheets from previous seasons are missing on the FA WSL website.

Two players have won the title with different teams :

Laura Coombs Arsenal 2011 and Chelsea 2015, Marie Hourihan Chelsea 2015 and Manchester City 2016.

The FA WSL 2 promotion race ep7

This week-end the top four teams played each other and the top two teams prevailed and are looking good for promotion now.

Bristol 1 Durham 0

Yeovil 1  Everton 0



1 Yeovil 33 pts + 20 pl 16

2 Bristol 33 pts + 15 pl 16

3 Everton 28 pts +15 pl 15

4 Durham 27 pts +7 pl 15


The remaining games are :

Durham v Everton  09/10

Everton v Bristol 29/10

London Bees v Yeovil 30/10

Watford v Durham 30/10

Durham v Millwall 06/11

London Bees v Everton  06/11

Oxford v Bristol 06/11

Yeovil v Sheffield 06/11


Durham v Everton will be crucial as the loser will be  99% out of the promotion race. While the winner will be back into it, being two or three points behind the leaders and ready to pounce on any of their mistakes.

There is every chance that the promotion race will go to the final day.



The FA WSL relegation battle ep 9

Things are going bad to worse for Doncaster while Reading can start breathing again and Sunderland have to look behind their back again.


Doncaster 1 Reading 4  leaves us with the following situation :

7. Reading 9 pts  – 9 played 14

8. Sunderland 9 pts -18 played 14

9. Doncaster 0 pt -31 played 11


Sunderland are back into the relegation race following their defeat away to Notts County by two goals to one. They are nine points ahead of the Belles and virtually safe but football is a strange game.


The remaining games are :

Doncaster v Arsenal 06/10

Doncaster v Liverpool 09/10

Doncaster v Notts County 16/10

Sunderland v Notts County 29/10

Arsenal v Doncaster 30/10

Chelsea v Reading 30/10

Reading v Doncaster 06/11

Sunderland v Birmingham 06/11


Doncaster have three consecutive home games and need to collect at least six points out of nine to keep the pressure on Sunderland and Reading.

Can they keep it tight at the back and finally score against an Arsenal side with virtually nothing to play for except maybe a new contract or a chance to stay next season for certain players.

Then with a short turnaround, they will face Liverpool, who are still fighting for the third place and finally Notts County who made sure of their presence next season in WSL 1 by beating Sunderland.

Manchester City win the FA WSL for the first time, what’s next for the other teams ?

Congratulations to Manchester City they really deserve to win the title. Unbeaten in 15 games with one to go to finish the season unbeaten.

Now the other teams will have to regroup and think of the way to challenge the citizens.

First, there is no doubt that having a huge budget and infrastructure is the way forward and other clubs should try to follow suit if they want to compete… or not.

The City model should not the single business model to follow to be succesful. I mean not every team can have the same level of resources offered to them.

Hopefully the FA do not want all WSL1 teams to be funded by their parent men’s club with millions of pounds spent.

Alternative business model should be allowed and able to flourish, although finding money via sponsorship and else is certainly difficult.

I would hope that FA WSL teams would follow Leicester City’s Premier League lead and build up a squad through clever recruitement with players that complement each other.

Then it is just a question of developing the team’s football via a solid gameplan and stick to it.

And for those who think City bought the title simply by spending money and nothing else. I can only say this another side had quite a bit of money and were nowhere near winning the title.

They actually were out of it by matchday 3. Money does not buy titles but it certainly contributes in a positive way. It’s up to the other sides to find a way to compete either with more money or better ideas.

Trapdoor to relegation now opened for the Belles

Reading Women won the 6 six pointer last night by four goal to one which means Doncaster Belles are now close to relegation to FA WSL 2.

Goals by Emma Follis x2, Nia Jones and Rachel Rowe for Reading while Emily Simpkins scored for the Belles.

Considering she has been the leading attacking player for Reading I would expect Emma Follis to get a call up for England seniors soon. Good to see Nia Jones who has worked hard this for not game time or not enough for her talent score a goal and also get a start.

Mathematically the Belles are far from down, with five games to play they can collect 15 points and that would probably be enough to save them.

I have not managed to see them this season, so have no idea and cannot comment on their play. The highlights on FA tv are not conclusive on the quality of football played. They do show a huge number of individual and team errors  in the goals conceded.

After all letting 36 goals in from eleven games tells a story as well as scoring only five in eleven. We know that the main center forwards were either injured or left the club and it did not help on the scoring front.

On the defending side,  if there were some repetitive patterns of errors on the team defending and also from individual players, you would have expected them to be dropped. Although I know a WSL1 club where players gets dropped after making mistakes but it has  not brought much results that way either.

So the Belles have not been clinical enough in front of the goal and have the following games to win to save their bacon : Arsenal H, Liverpool H, Notts County H, Arsenal A and Reading A.

If the Belles avoid relegation, it will be the greatest escape ever IMO, but you do wonder what if Glenn Harris had not been sacked mid-season after three games were played.

FA WSL relegation battle ep 8

Reading home defeat to Chelsea gives Doncaster a chance to come back in the relegation race next Saturday with a relegation decider.

Reading 0 Chelsea 3 l;eaves us with the following situation :


8. Reading 6 pts  – 12 played 13

9. Doncaster 0 pt -28 played 10

The next game is crucial as Doncaster will host Reading. Should Reading win that one, they will be nearly safe, because to see Doncaster get a miminum of  ten points in five games after getting 0 in 11 would be just illogical.

Should Doncaster win the game, the pressure will turn to Reading as Doncaster would have five games to catch up four points ( in reality three but to close out a 16 goals difference is huge)

If it is a draw, Doncaster would still have to make up seven points ( again it is  really six points with a huge goal difference)  in five games not the easiest task.

The remaining games are :

Doncaster v Reading 24/09

Doncaster v Arsenal 06/10

Doncaster v Liverpool 09/10

Doncaster v Notts County 16/10

Arsenal v Doncaster 30/10

Chelsea v Reading 30/10

Reading v Doncaster 06/11

Doncaster will catch up on their remaining games by playing three games in a row while Reading will have to wait until the 30th of October when they are away to Chelsea and Doncaster away to Arsenal.


Olivier Echouafni’s first squad list

There it is the first squad  list from  France WNT’s new manager and there are some players’ return and a newbie.



The 23 players squad from the new manager is quite classical with only one newbie and many players who have been capped before.

There are so many injuries at the moment, it probably explains why the squad is a bit more open than usual. There are also probably two or three players from the France U20 squad who are preparing their World Cup  to be played in PNG that could have been called up ( Karchaoui, Katoto, Leger)

Goalkeepers : absolutely no change, these are the usual three goalies. The big question will be if the hierarchy has changed among those three.

Defenders : Houara, Boulleau and Majri are injured. Delannoy is dropped. Georges comes back after missing the Olympics due to injury. Soyer, Butel and Gadea come back after missing out for months and years. The newbie is Perisset who has just moved from Lyon to PSG. She was a regular in the youth teams and has played for the B team as well.

Midfields : Thomis injured, Cadamuro retired, the BIG news is Thiney coming back to the squad after being banned by Philippe Bergeroo. Thiney was actually endorsed by Wendie Renard on Eurosport on Sunday. Toletti and Dali were alternates at the Olympics

Forwards :  Continuity with the Olympic squad with the two forwards and the alternate from Rio.


Clearly there was some politics behind Thiney’s eviction under Bergeroo as she is back as soon as the former manager is gone. It will be interesting to see the reaction from some of the older and senior players.

Obviously Renard is pleased to have her back as she could have been useful in attack at the Olympics  but some other senior players might not be happy to see again.


Update 1 : Sabrina Delannoy has announced her retirement from international football on twitter.  She is the second player to retire post Olympics after Louisa Cadamuro.

2 Griedge M’Bock Bathy has been withdrawn due to an injury and is replaced by Aissatou Tounkara from Juvisy.

3 Wendie Renard has been withdrawn and replaced by Sakina Karchaoui from Montpellier who was with the U20 squad

Olivier Echouafni is the new France WNT manager

The 44 years old former midfielder who has played for about 20 seasons at professional level in the top division in France and has managed two club for one season each time is taking over the France WNT job.

As expected following the Rio olympics debacle, the FFF has sacked Phillipe Bergeroo because of the bad results and also because many players were unhappy with the coach post Canada press conference.

Bergeroo spoke about mental weakness, something that upset the senior players and one of them was tasked to call Noel le Graet the FFF president to ask him to act swiftly.

It is quite funny in a way that players complain about such a statement, because at the end of the day, two managers have been sacked since 2009 and the problem remain the same.

Of course, Bini and Bergeroo have some responsibilities in the lack of medal in all those tournaments ( 2009, 11, 12,13,15 and 16),  but the players should also have a good look at themselves.

I mean the France WNT went from one management style under Bini to very much the opposite under Bergeroo but the finishing problems stayed the same. Different playing style, different training style, a different organisation around the team and the same problems happened again and again.

There is something that is clearly  not manager related here, so it is obviously players related. And you really wonder if Olivier Echouafni will be able to find a solution.He has been given a two year deal  which makes absolutely no sense. The 2017 Euros will happen at the end of the season and the World Cup will be played at home in 2019.

With a contract ending in 2018, the coach might leave halfway through the World Cup preparation. The fact behind this is clearly that the FFF wants to win the 2017 Euros and not looking at preparing the World Cup, as younger players will only play friendlies for two season and could lack competitive game experience. Especially if the “golden generation retires” at the end of the tournament.

The first squad list will be given on Sunday straight after the D1 feminine matchday one and we might see some surprises, some returnee or just some continuity with Bergeroo.

Note that the girls born in 1996 and younger are called up by Gilles Eyquem in the U20 squad in the preparation for the U20 World Cup at the end of the year in Papua New Guinea and therefore should not be available.

The only player that retired from football after the Rio Olympics is Louisa Cadamuro, so she could be the only one missing out among the 18 players who were selected for the tournament in Brazil.

With a friendly against Brazil and a dead rubber of a Euro qualifier against Albania, the new manager might be tempted to experiment and open the team to newbies like the players who played for the B team or any unknown quantity.

Echouafni’s first squad list will be interesting to see what kind of team he wants to take to the tournament, if the formely banned by Bergeroo Gaetane Thiney will get a chance again. He will also choose his coaching staff and it will be another interesting moment to see who will be alongside him.