FA Women's Cup

The FA Women’s Cup Round 5 draw

Those schoolkids in Hornsey decided that Round 5 would be derby day with a Merseyside, Brummie and North London derby. Hopefully games will be competitive on the 19th of March.

The draw in full :

FA WSL 1 v FA WSL 1

  • Notts County v Yeovil     Notts County will be huge favourite against promotd team Yeovil as they have an excellent head to head record.  It will be the first game for both teams so it will be interesting to see who will hit the ground running first.
  • Man City v Reading   City will also be a huge favourite against Reading. It will be interesting to see if the away team park the bus as usual or will play a more expansive game concisedring they got rid of nearly all their forward during the transfer window. There will be a question mark on City’s line-up with the Champions League quater-final away to Brondby four days later.

FA WSL 1* v FA WSL 2

  • Liverpool* v Everton  The Mersyside derby with both side playing in their home ground. First competitive game for Liverpool so obviously Everton will try to take advantage of the reds relative lack of sharpness if there is any.
  • Sunderland* v Aston Villa  A clear potential banana skin for Sunderland and their new semi-professional regime that puts them on par with the FA WSL 2 teams. So no competitive advantage and first competitive game against a Villa side with three wins out three in all competions.
  • Bristol* v Millwall the home side will be favourite and will come again a fighting side with an in form and experienced striker in Ashley Hincks. Again the lack of competitive action so far for the FA WSL 1 makes it an interesting game.
  • Chelsea* v Doncaster Chelsea will be huge favourite after beating Doncaster 4-0, 4-1 and 4-1 last season. Their pre-seasons eem to have gone well while Doncaster scheduled has been derailed by the weather and the bad planning by the FA.

FA WSL 1* v FA WPL

  • Arsenal* v Tottenham  The North London derby should be interesting with a flying Spurs team in the FA WPL Southern and getting big results in the cups as well. A first competitive game for the Arsenal who had a bad pre-season in term or results until the Kelly Smith celebration game.

There will be probably be a lot of entertainment in the stand as it is a North London Derby and        the  FA ‘s respect campaign will go out of the window in the stand.

Couple of seasons ago I witness a Spurs v Arsenal reserves game at 10am and the young Arsenal girls were subjected to abuse from a minority of idiots.  If you consider that it will be the first NLD in the women’s side for nearly six or seven years, there might be some work to do for the stewards and police on the day.

All you need is a couple of idiots on both side abusing the players and insulting the opposition fans for things can kick-off. If you go to Borehamwood, you know who will be there and up for anything. Hopefully, there will be fans’ segregation on the day.

  • Birmingham* v West Brom West Brom are the only team that can really compete with Leicester for the FA WPL Northern Division title and could reach the promotion play-off again if they can win all their games in hand. The quality gap between the two teams might be too much for the away side. It will Mark Skinner’s first game as the Blues manager.

As someone mentioned, FA WSL 1 teams are all at home except for the two teams that are away to FA WSL 1 teams. What were the odds of this to happen ?

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FA WPL, International football

March 2017 FA WSL/FA WPL international call-ups

For those who are not familiar with the FIFA Women’s International match calendar, there is an international window for teams where they can play up to four games from the 27th of February to the 8th of March.

The following tournaments involve players from the FA WSL 1&2  and FA WPL. The club have to release the players to their national team as per the FIFA regulations and FA WSL clubs with games during the tournament can request a postponement.

Of course, the FA have blocked the dates so that no FA WSL 1 games are being played but they put the FA WSL 2 Matchday 4 in that period of time , for some unknown reason.

The FA WSL Spring Series rules say :

“A Club having three (3) or more Qualifying Players or one (1) goal keeper selected for international duty in accordance with Annexe 1 of The FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (this does not include Players on standby) by their National Association for senior representative, under 21, under 20 or under 19 national representative matches (or any combination thereof) may request a postponement of any Competition Matches that takes place during the period of time in which the Players are called up by their National Association team or within 2 days of their return from international duty provided that at least 10 days’ notice in writing has been given to the Competition Secretary. The Management Committee shall decide in its absolute discretion whether the postponement shall be granted.    ”

So the FA can actually refuse a postponement and penalize a team that is forced to send their player on international duty by FIFA to field a weaker team. Make what you want of this rule, but if half of your team is on international duty and you have to play a game, the integrity of that competition is simply compromised.

The FA WPL rules say :

“Clubs shall support The Football Association in relation to International Matches in
accordance with the provisions of The Football Association Rules.
A Club having 2 players or more selected for International Duty for their National
Association may request a postponement of its League fixture provided that at least
10 days notice is given to the League Secretary in writing.
If 1 player is selected and that player is the goalkeeper a Club could make a similar
request for the postponement of its League fixture. This will only apply to Senior
and Under 19 matches which are played within the FIFA Women’s International
match calendar.”

Those are the actual tournaments played in the international window :

SheBelieves Cup, Algarve Cup, Cyprus Cup, Istria Cup, La Manga U23, La Manga U19 and players from FA WSL 1&2 and FA WPL will take part is those tournaments. You would certainly expect some games to be postponed or at least requested to be postponed in that period.

The following players from the top two Leagues have been called up so far, file will be updated as soon country relase their news.

international

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FA WSL 2

FA W2 Spring Series Matchday 1

An interesting Matchday 1 with wins for Everton, Durham and Aston Villa and a draw between London Bees and Brighton. Doncaster and Sheffield’s game did not make it and hopefully the FA Cup game on Sunday will go through.

London Bees 1 Brighton 1

Durham 1  Millwall 0

Villa 3 Watford 2

Oxford 1 Everton 2

Sheffield v Doncaster P-P

Goalscorers table

1 Russo ( Brighton); Goddard (Bees); Mc Fadden ( Durham);  Baptiste, Merrick, Richards ( Aston Villa); Nutall, Kerr (Watford); Magill, K Jones ( Everton), Umotong (Oxford)

 

Matchday 2

Doncaster v Villa P-P

Everton v Durham P-P

Brighton v Oxford

Millwall v Sheffield

Watford v London Bees

 

So Doncaster Belles are already unlucky with the fixtures list. First game in the cup H-W, second game yesterday P-P and third game also P-P due to the FA CUp Round 4. It looks like we will end up with the same mess as last season for the poor Belles.

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FA Women's Cup

Millwall Lionesses 1 London Bees 0

It was a very competitive game  as it is always the case between those two teams with a Megan Wynne goal on the 12th minute the difference between the two sides.

 

Here is the goal courtesy to Millwall’s superfan Dion Farnes :

 

Now for the tactical set-up as it was a surprising one from Millwall. Considering they played with a back four for the whole of last season, to see them turn up with a back three was a surprise.

capture

To me there is no doubt that the Lionesses set-up surprised the Bees.

London Bees were on top for the first ten minutes and then things started to change after the initial goal. I am not sure the Bees managed to get behind the Lionesses defence more than twice in the whole game.

This was due to a very good defensive organisation by Millwall and lack of quality passing and clinical finishing from Bees in the final third.

Millwall got a couple of chances to finish off the game, but did not get the second goal that would have put the tie beyond the Bees reach, which meant a tense second half with a lot of foul play, kicking and bookings.

The referee actually could have given a bit more bookings as he was lenient and let things get out of control a bit too much in my opinion. When wild sliding tackles start to appear, especially on a 3G, that’s were you must come in and calm things down.

So tactically, as seen on the diagram Millwall took control of the central area by the virtue of having seven players in a tight space and left the wings free for Bees to control.

Bees therefore should have had full reign on both wings with regular 2 v 1 situations, full-back and winger v wing-back, but that did not happen very often  actually. It was something that puzzled me greatly. The full-backs did not overlap often, probably to protect the defense from waves of Millwall players coming from the central area.

Clearly there was congestion in the middle and Bees did not manage to put their striker Wilson in shooting positions, while Millwall used their lone striker Hincks as a link-up player to bring in all the midfielders making their runs as well as the wing-backs.

Another interesting fact in that game in both side had many left-footed players with three for Bees and two for Millwall. It actually helped on ball distribution  and build up play. The goal coming from an excellent Gaylor cross from the left-wing.

The key to the game was the Lionesses ability to smother the Bees attacking threats, cutting all the passing lines and defending well the 1v1 situations that happened. On the other side, Bees did not use much the diagonal long balls,  to move it away from the congested area and find the pocket of spaces where their wingers could have done some damages.

So a deserved win over 90 minutes for Millwall Lioness who will at home to Nottingham Forest Ladies in Round 4 on the 19th of February.

 

 

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FA Women's Cup

The FA Women’s Cup 4th Round draw

There are only six games in the Fourth round as 10 FA WSL 1 team will enter in Round 5. There are many local derbies as well as potential cupsets.

 

FA WSL 2 between each other

Durham v Everton

Sheffield FC v Doncaster Rovers Belles

 

FA WSL 2 V FA WPL Southern

Coventry United v Aston Villa*

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion*

 

FA WSL 2 V FA WPL Northern

Millwall Lionesses* v Nottingham Forest

 

FA WPL Northern between each other

West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City

 

We are therefore guaranteed ten FA WSL1, two FA WSL 2 and one FA WPL team in Round 5. Millwall, Brighton and Aston Villa certainly will have to be on their toes against quality opponents from the FA WPL.

We could end up with only 3 FA WSL 2 sides in Round 5.

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FA WSL, FA WSL 2

Doomsday for some FA WSL franchises sooner or later ?

Fulham, Charlton, Manchester United. Three big names in football that let the women’s team down. Are we going to see the same thing happen with one or two FA WSL sides soon ?

Watford Ladies have the constant subject of folding rumours for a while. And they do not seem to get away.

I personally thought, everything was going well for them no later than two or three weeks ago with players taking parts in photo shoot and a tweet coming from the Watford Ladies account about an upcoming announcement that never materialised.

What we definitely know is James Marrs took the manager’s job and was going to bring in many quality players, but for some reasons was quickly let go.  Watford Ladies do not officially have a manager as I write now. The news that they have forfeited the FA Women’s Cup tie away to Belles is a clear indication that something is going really wrong over there.

On the money side the parent club probably does not care because, it is not hard to spare a bit of money like 3% of the £74,000,00 they received in Premier League payments for the 2015/16 season. Obviously, there is no return on investment in women’s football, so teams like Man City, Arsenal or Chelsea invest a lot of money because they don’t mind losing money and want to promote the women’s game.

Now the lack of communication from Watford Ladies is extremely worrying, the announcement came from Doncaster Belles and bot from them. They will be fined according to the FA Women’s Cup rules, but will they still be around to pay that fine ?

It seems are in dark with what is happening as much as the fans and the journalists who have tried to contact the club to no avail. With the Spring Series starting next Sunday, there has to be a decision, to see if Watford are playing those nine games or folding.

And then, you have the Sunderland situation where they are cutting the money to the women’s team. I would not be suprised if they do not get a license when renewal are happening soon. A simple calculation shows the problem, the FA money that teams must match up will go up £30,500 to £62,500 in WSL 2, while it is currently £70,000 for WSL 1 today.

So unless Sunderland’s budget drops to £62,500 and not lower, they will meet the new criteria to WSL2 licensing. Now if they are cutting funds and moving from the full-time model to the part-time model, the budget must be taking a hit. And they also mention they are going back to their succesful old FA WPL business model, so to me it looks like demotion to the FA WPL or below will happen for Sunderland for the 2018/19 season.

And this will open the door wide open for new entrants to come in straight into  FA WSL 1 or 2 but that’s another story…

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