The FA Women’s Championship promotion race Matchday 7

Spurs have opened a five points lead on Manchester United and are now solid League leaders. Charlton are now level on points with United and Durham are just one point behind.

It turns out that the League is not as foregone conclusion as it was expected before the season started. Obviously the promotion race is wide open as there are many many teams worthy of a promotion place.  Remember promotion is only granted if a team has the infrastructure and cash in place for professional football.

Spurs pulling away from United with a five points lead is unexpected. Charlton have also performed very well and are level on points with United  after their dismantling of a young Millwall side. Durham also got three crucial points with their win away at London Bees. The chasing pack of Leicester and Lewes did not have a game last week-end and therefore lost ground on the top teams. Lewes with the bye and Leicester’s game postponed due to the tragic incident at the King Power stadium.

Results

Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 1

London Bees 0 Durham 1

Millwall 0 Charlton 8

Leicester – Man United P-P

 

Table

1 Spurs 18 pts pl 6 +16

2 Man United 13 pts pl 5 +23


3 Charlton 13 pts pl 6 +12

4 Durham 12 pts pl6 +5

5 Leicester 10 pts pl 6 +1

6 Lewes 9 pts pl 6 -1

 

Next Sunday will be an early title decider with Man United hosting Spurs with an expected record attendance crowd for the Championship. Both side are unbeaten with Spurs boasting an 100% record. United are favourite because they train full-time and they have strong attacking options. Spurs are also doing well on that count and United’s defense did not look to me as strong as their offense. I would expect both teams to score a couple of goals at least.

Durham will be at home to Lewes with both side hoping to capitalise on one of the top team  potentially dropping points. Charlton will hope to do the same as they will host a London Bees side depleted with a third of their squad out with injuries. Leicester will be away to Sheffield and you would expect a physical game with two strong sides.

 

Advertisements

The FA Women’s Championship promotion race matchday 6: all change at the top

Manchester United have been dethroned for the first time this season as the top spot has been taken over by Spurs who won 8-0 at home to Millwall.

Spurs Ladies took advantage of a non playing week for United to overtake the Red Devils. It is important to note that both sides have played five games so far and Spurs are ahead because they have performed better than United overall with five wins in five while United only have four wins and a draw.

There are four teams chasing the top two teams and still in for promotion. Charlton beat Sheffield 2-0 while Leicester could only managed a draw with Aston Villa. Those two teams are three points behind United and five points behind Spurs.

Durham beat Palace and get back into the chasing peloton while Lewes lost 3-2 at Bees and are level in points with the wildcats four points behind United.

Results

Spurs 8 Milwall 0

Charlton 2 Sheffield 0

Durham 2 Palace 0

London Bees 3 Lewes 2

 

Table

1 Tottenham 15 pts pl 5 +15

2 Manchester United 13 pts pl 5 + 23


3 Charlton 10 pts pl 5 +4

4 Leicester 10 pts pl 6 +1

5 Durham 9 pts pl 5 +4

6 Lewes 9 pts pl 6 -1

 

 

Serious injuries: in game and post game disciplinary management by the FA needs a quick overall and improvement.

Kim Little’s injury that leaves her out for at least 10 weeks is the third long term one in two match days in the FA WSL/FAWC. The referees performances are not good enough and the disciplinary process is clearly flawed with players are getting away scot-free after injuring their opponent.

First let’s look at the refereeing problem. The pattern is always the same in those games.

One and sometimes both teams are testing the referee by being very/over-physical if not brutal. The referee responds in typical fashion by showing leniency instead of strength by keeping his cards in his pockets.

Players then deduct they can do as they please and start getting more and more dangerous, taking no prisoners. Then one player gets hit and seriously injured. You can sometimes also add a bit of pushing shoving and mass brawling to that mess

The disciplinary side of the game then should come in but  sometimes it does not come in at all. Nothing is given, maybe a yellow card is produced  and if we are lucky a red card is shown.

Obviously, at that stage it is now too late, the damage is done. And in most cases it could have been prevented.

I watch enough women’s football games in England ( 50 per season at least) and there is a systemic problem here.

Referees don’t have the feel of the game enough to anticipate and being proactive to avoid those problems developing. It is always the same, they don’t stamp their authority early on and gradually lose control of the game. And then, it is way too late.

On Sunday, the Chelsea player had done enough stuff so many times to collect three yellow cards, before she finally injured Kim Little. An Arsenal player was also involved multiple times in pushing and shoving incident and got away with it.

The in-game management is flawed. The disciplinary decisions by the referees are not good either.

Three serious injuries resulted in one yellow card. If you look at the Laws of the games law number 12, it is quite clear what the referees decisions should be doing in those cases.

Note:  I have not seen the Galton injury, so can only comment on the other ones, but people at the game mentioned the injuring players repeatedly fouling during the game. She has long history of injuring players, for example an Arsenal player while in the FA WSL and a Reading player while in FA WSL2.

So the injuries that can be avoided are not prevented, the referees do not punish the players properly according to the Laws Of The Game.

You would then  hope the disciplinary committee would then do the right thing and suspend the players responsible for those injuries.

I mean the FA charges players all the time for many different types of incidents, but rarely for those ones. And indeed the two players responsible for the injuries in the Championship were not charged and started their next team’s game.

I don’t expect the Chelsea player to be charged either because she was ( wrongly imo as it was too lenient) booked during the game.

So what kind of message does the FA sends to the players and fans? Feel free to injure an opponent and you won’t be punished or barely slapped if you are unlucky.

We saw many similar cases in the men’s game, although you get the feeling that the media pressure forces the FA to take disciplinary action. And players sometimes end up with a three games ban but nothing more. Not good enough.

It is still a cheap price to pay if you have managed to put an opponent out for three months or the whole season. The only team penalized is those situations is the injured player’s team. The asset is not available, the opposition teams also benefit from it.

If you think about it, the FA WSL teams are better off playing Arsenal without Kim Little. Same for the Championship teams playing against Bees without Paula Howells.

So the disciplinary process need to be overhauled. The FA has videos of all the FA WSL/FA WC games and need to review them properly. Especially as the referees miss stuff during the game at nearly every game.

At the end of the day, it is a recurrent problem that must be tackled at every level by the referees and the FA because the players’ behaviour will not change as long as strong punishments are not given.

 

 

Analyzing the FA WSL and FA WC 2018/19 rules part 1

The FA have finally uploaded the 2018/19 rules, more than a month after the Competition has started. This is the time to analyze if there are any special or unusual rules for this season.

The first five chapters are quite boring to be honest, so we will just go for the juicy stuff.

The chapter 6 is interesting because it shows that certain teams that play in the women’s pyramid third tier are still not allowed to play either in the FA WSL or in the FA WC.

This is obviously aimed at teams like Cardiff City Ladies. It is funny that Swansea and Cardiff can play in the Premier League but not in the top women League. Same with Glasgow City who were rumored to be interested a few years ago.

6.2 Notwithstanding any provision of The FA Rules, a Club must be incorporated in England and will not be entitled to participate in the Competitions if it is not so incorporated. Any amendments to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of a Club must be notified to the Competition Secretary in writing within 14 days of the passing of the resolution together with a copy of the change(s).

Chapter 7 on grounds

7.1.1 Each Club shall have a Ground and such Ground shall be situated in England. The Competition Secretary shall send the names and particulars for each Ground to The FA annually by the date appointed by, and in the format required by, The FA.

I think one club last season played a game in a ground situated in Wales (?) or at least half of the ground.

7.1.2 Unless otherwise specified in these Rules or as provided in the Club Licence, a Club shall not play home Competition Matches at a ground other than its Ground, without the prior approval of The FA.

7.1.3 A Club’s Ground shall be available for all home Competitions Matches which a Club is due to participate in. 

7.1.4 Each Club shall register its Ground and its Pitch dimensions, with the Management Committee prior to the start of each Playing Season. It will be misconduct on the part of a Club to alter its Pitch dimensions during a Playing Season unless it obtains the prior written consent of the Management Committee. The Management Committee may at any time require a Club, at its own cost, to submit a report from a qualified independent source certifying the Pitch dimensions.

If I am correct  when the fixture list was disclosed there were three teams with TBC grounds to be announced.

7.1.9 No alcohol shall be consumed in view of the Pitch before, during or after a Competition Match. Glasses, glass bottles and cans containing alcohol must not be brought into the Ground or taken into any area of the Ground in view of the pitch.

An interesting rule about alcohol, I wonder if this applies to VIP fans ?

There is a provision in the rules for an alternative ground, something that is happening quite often in Women’s football.

7.2 Alternative grounds
7.2.1 If at any point the Ground is or will not be available for home Competition Matches, inspection or falls below the standards required in the Ground Regulations or Club Licence (including in relation to usage), the Club must immediately submit to the Board in writing its proposal for a ground at which its home Competition Matches are to be played (“Alternative Proposal”).
7.2.2 The Alternative Proposal must contain documentary evidence in support of any ground sharing arrangements and evidence that the proposed Ground is demonstrably suitable for the Competitions and Competition Matches and that it satisfies the standards set out in the Ground Regulations and Club Licence

There is also a chapter about moving to a new ground, something we know happened last season for Everton and Liverpool as they had to move out from Widnes.

7.3 Moving to a new Ground
7.3.1 No Club shall permanently move to a ground (other than the Ground) without first obtaining the written consent of the Board; such consent not to be withheld unreasonably. In considering whether to give such consent the Board shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case and shall not grant consent unless it is reasonably satisfied that the move to a new ground:
(a) would be consistent with the objectives of the Competitions;
(b) would be appropriate having in mind the relationship (if any) between the locality with which by its name or otherwise the applicant Club is traditionally associated and that in which such Club proposes to establish its Ground;
(c) would not adversely affect such Club’s Club Officials, Players, supporters, shareholders, sponsors and others having an interest in its activities;
(d) would not have an adverse effect on visiting Clubs;
(e) would not adversely affect Clubs or clubs having their registered Ground or ground in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location;
(f) would enhance the reputation of the Competitions and promote the game of association football generally; and
(g) would ensure a high standard of stadia in the Competitions (including that the proposed ground meets the Ground Regulations).

There are also some chapters on the pitch standards quality and maintenance as well as specifics on artificial grounds. That side of the regulations is not the most glamorous but it is extremely important because if the pitches are not good enough, the players’ health and safety might be at risk.

 

 

The FA Women’s Championship promotion race Matchday 2

There are three teams with an 100% record at the top of the table. Man United, Lewes and Spurs. United are way ahead on goal difference and are likely to cruise at the top the whole season.

One curious statistic, there have been no draw so far in the competition, ten games ten wins.

Results

Man United  3 Sheffield United 0

Charlton 2 Aston Villa 0

Leicester 0 Spurs 3

Lewes 2 Palace 1

London Bees 2 Millwall 1

Big win for Spurs away to Leicester, a difficult place to go to. Lewes won the battle of the ex FA WPL teams and stay in the promotion places. Bees struggled to beat a young Millwall side who played very well on the night, while Bees were under par and a bit sluggish at time.

Charlton recorded their first win in their game opener against an Aston Villa side that currently sits at the bottom of the table, but with no relegation threat as no one will drop down from the Championship due to the current uneven number of teams in the division.

1 Man United 6 pts +15 pl 2

2 Lewes 6 pts +4 pl 2

====================

3 Spurs 6 pts +4 pl 2

4 Charlton 3 pts +2 pl 1

5 Durham 3 pts +2 pl 1

6 London Bees 3 pts 0 pl2

7 Leicester City 3 pts -1 pl2

Tomorrow’s games will see many promotion contenders face-off, so the table might get clearer that it is at the moment where seven teams are currently vying for the top two places.