2017 games attended

Here are the games I have and plan to attend in 2017.

1 – 08/01  Spurs Ladies 3 Gills Ladies 0 FA Women’s Cup Round

2 – 11/01 Middlesex 3 Kent 4

3 -15/01 Aston Villa 2 Durham Women 0 friendly

4 – 24/01 France U17 2 v England U17 0 international friendly

5 – 26/01 France U17 2 v Germany U17 7 international friendly

6 – 29/01  Reading dev 4 v London Bees dev 1  FA WSL Dev League Southern

7- 01/02 Juvisy 0 Olympique Lyonnais 1 Division 1 Feminine

8 – 05/02 Millwall 1 v London Bees  0 FA Women’s Cup R3

9-11/02 London Bees 1 v Brighton  1 FA WSL 2

10-12/02 Arsenal Development 8 Brighton Development 0 FA WSL Development League

11-19/02 Arsenal Ladies 4 v Kelly Smith All Start XI 2

12-25/02 Montpellier 0  Lyon 3 Division 1 Feminine

13-26/02 Watford 2 London Bees 3 FA WSL 2

14-04/03 London Bees 3 v Oxford 1 FA WSL 2

15-07/03 Scotland U19 0 Germany U19 3 La Manga

16- 07/03 England U19 4 Italy U19 0 La Manga

17- 07/03 France U19 0 USA U19 2 La Manga

18-12/03 Arsenal Res 2  Sunderland Res 0  FA WSL Dev League cup semi-final

19-19/03 Arsenal 10  Tottenham 0 FA Women’s Cup R5

20-25/03 England U17  2 Poland U17 0  UEFA Elite round

21-26/03 Birmingham 1 Arsenal 0 FA Womens’ Cup pR6

22- 27/03 England U17 2v Germany U17 1 UEFA Elite round

23- 01/04 London Bees 2  Sheffield 1

24- 02/04 Millwall 2 Everton 1

25- 06/04 France U19 3  Portugal U19 1 Elite round

26 -07/04 Netherlands 1  France 2 International Friendly

27- 08/04 France U19 4  Slovenia U19 0 Elite Round

28- 09/04 Watford 1 Birmingham 4 Friendly

29- 15/04 London Bees 1 Millwall 2 FA WSL 2

30- 16/04 Arsenal Ladies dev 10 Watford Ladies 0 FA WSL dev League

31- 17/04  Birmingham 1 Chelsea 1 *(4-2 pso)  FA Women’s Cup SF

32- 22/04 Bristol 1 Reading 3  FA WSL 1

33- 30/04 Chelsea 6  Yeovil Town 0 FA WSL 1

34- 03/05 Reading 0 Chelsea 4 FA WSL 1

35- 05/05 Germany 2 France 1 UEFA U17 Euros

36- 08/05 France 1 Spain 1 UEFA U17 Euros

37- 08/05 England 0 Norway 2 UEFA U17 Euros

38 – 10/05 Watford 2 Spurs 0 Friendly bcd

39-13/05 Manchester City 4 Birmingham City 1 FA Women’s Cup final

40- 14/05 Millwall Lionesses Dev 5 Arsenal Ladies Dev 5 FA WSL Development League

41-17/05 Chelsea 2 Arsenal 2 FA WSL 1 Spring Series

42 – 20/05 Arsenal 4 Birmingham 2 FA WSL 1 Spring Series

43- 20/05 London Bees Everton FA WSL 2 Spring Series

44- 21/05 Brighton 3 Sheffield 1 FA WSL 2 Spring Series

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Manchester City v Birmingham City

It was an easy 4-1 victory in the end for Manchester City as they dominated for most of the game and took advantage of the chances they got in the first half, then stayed in control in the second half.

On paper it looked like a promising encounter with Birmingham’s defensive strength and City’s attacking football. Unfortunately, a lot of Birmingham players offered underwhelming performances on the day and you cannot win games with an opponent like City under those circumstances.

What was really surprising to me was the manner in which the three first half goals were conceded. Three errors that you do not normally associate with Birmingham City.

1 Poor marking from a free kick at the near post with two players unmarked and it ended up with an own goal.

2 Then a ball lost from building up from the back with a careless giveaway, full credit to City for taking advantage in transition with the Birmingham defense out of position and punishing this error with a killer goal.

3 A misjudged cross by the goalkeeper and a simple finish with a header into the empty net. Again two players were unamrked.  What makes it even stranger is Berger was really superb dealing will all the other crosses and high ball during the whole game, but missed that one.

So with 3-0 at half time, there was no coming back for Birmingham, except if there was a huge effort from their side to create more chances as creativity was the missing element in the final third. They are certainly missing Follis in attack who has yet to kick a ball for them and with two defensive win-backs creativity is limited.

Their 3-4-1-2 system  with White in the number 10 position did not seem to work against City’s 4-3-3, but I don’t think the system was the main  problem. They put Wellings on for Ayisi and kept the 3-4-1-2 and it produced a goal with the young forward bringing a good impetus as soon as she came on.

Manchester City  were as efficient and classical in their play as they usually do. A ball possession game with sharp passing using all the strength and technical skill from their players. They also had a lot of experience with a starting 11 full of international players. They went about their business professionally and did the job very well and were deserved winners.

Birmingham clearly had a younger side and maybe that explain why some players froze and did not perform especially in the first half. What was strange was their build up play, the ball went up to the midfield players then straight back at the defenders or at Berger. Just putting the defense and the goalie under pressure and inviting City to press them.

The four Birmingham midfielders were disappointing in the first half. The two wing back faced tough customers with Bronze and Stokes, backed up by Parris and Lawley with the centre backs helping the wing-back when they were in 2v1 situation. The usual and normal tactical situation in the 3-4-1-2 v 4-3-3 was not managed very well.

The two central midfielders faced the three City midfielders Scott, Christiansen and Walsh who was sitting deeper with White coming from her number 10 position to help them main it a 3v3 game in midfield.  Why the two central midfielders did not perform well on the day is a puzzling. It meant Man City dominated the wings and the central midfield area overall. When they are  in control they are extremely dangerous and had three goals at half-time to show for it.

Now I was expecting a Birmingham half-time tactical change, maybe go to a back four, or having White moving to a higher position on the pitch where she could do more damage in a 3-4-3 system or making substitutions for the players who performed badly in the first half.

No change happened and City went into control mode managing the game and making sure, it was well under control. Wellings introduction meant more direct runs and pace up front and it brought a goal and a small light of hope, that was extinguished with another superb City goal in transition from Jill Scott, who turned round Harrop and finished well.

Overall Manchester City were deserved winners on the day performing to the expectations while Birmingham could have given them a harder game but they did not manage to reach the performance level they reached against Arsenal and Chelsea unfortunately for them.

Watford Ladies v Spurs Ladies

I went to Vicarage Road on Wednesday to watch an interesting friendly between Watford currently in FA WSL 2 and Spurs Ladies who have just won the FA WPL Southern Division and will contest the FA WSL promotion play-off against Blackburn Rovers.

Unfortunately for fans, the game was played behind closed door and I guess this is due to cost involved in policing stewarding etc as the matchday revenue would certainly not cover the use of the ground.

I think it was good for both team’s players to play at such a venue rather than their usual ground.  What I noticed is all the players seem to enjoy the venue and not troubled by playing at such a nice ground. Obviously a couple of Watford players had already played there and Spurs recently won the FA WPL title at White Hart Lane.

Watford ended up 2-0 winners in a game where both sides decided to rotate their team. Simona Petkova scored an excellent volley from a corner in the first half and Cherelle Albert added a second goal from the penalty spot.

It was certainly interesting as Spurs are certainly looking to promotion in the FA WSL and from the number of games I saw this year they would not look out of place, the only exception being the FA Women’s Cup North London Derby where they looked like a rabbit caught in the headlight and did not perform at their usual level.

Watford Ladies are obviously in a rebuilding process with Keith Boanas trying new players and he is likely to make even more signings during the Summer break as players become available.

So it was an entertaining game and a real shame, only friends and family were invited to watch it.

Seattle trip to watch the Reign v Arsenal Ladies friendly

I have not blogged about an Arsenal Ladies away trip for a while, so I thought I would put a few words on the Seattle away trip.

 

In the last few years I have not done many away Arsenal Ladies games. Mostly because the timing is inconvenient or the ground is difficult of access by public transport as I don’t drive. Notts County or recently Doncaster Belles come straight to mind.

So when it was announced that Arsenal Ladies would play a friendly against the Seattle Reign I tought it was a great occasion to do some sightseeing and watch the girls in another country to add to my list.

Obviously, I had to spend a couple of days there to make it worthwhile, so I set up on Wednesday from London and flew back on Friday from Seattle because I wanted to be back on Saturday for the Development cup final played near Birmingham.

So I flew from London on the 25th of May and being a lucky traveller, I spent a lot of time at the airport. First my boarding pass did not go through the automatic gates. I went through the manual ones operated by staff and he sent me back downstairs to the ticketing office to have another one issued as my print at home one was not valid.

Considering I had already spent more than half an hour queueing at pre-check to have my passport pre-controlled before going to security it was a good start of the day. When you consider that I actually did not have any check-in luggage which would have added at least another hour queueing, you understand why it is better to come three hours before flight departure on the way to the USA.

So I went through the normal security, when I had to do the full body scanner, which was fine and then at the gate they had another security layer, where the guy just checked everything in my backpack and my hand luggage. That was about 15 minutes extra checking every item in my possession.

Then I got on the plane, upgraded to premium economy with more leg space and I was close to the toilets which is always a bonus. It means you don’t have to walk all along the plane and queue for a long time. The trip was uneventful, even if long as I managed to watch four movies. It felt longer than the trips I did to Japan to watch the girls over there.

Arriving in Seattle it was the usual long queue for the foreign tourist as US immigrations are very tough on visitors and the questioning can be very long. Luckily enough, they had a queue opened for resident as usual as for those who had already entered the country with their ESTA, something I had done as I came in 2014 for the USA  v France game and the NWSL draft in Baltimore earlier in the year.

So that did not take too long and I was out to find my hotel using one of those courtesy bus that are hidden somewhere in the airport. After a long wait, the courtesy bus arrived and it took us three minutes to get to the hotel. I could have walked actually to it and it would have been quicker.

Interestingly enough the hotel was close to the public transport, the link light rail that goes straight to downtown Seattle so after checking-in and showering I went straight into town as the jet lag effect was not strong enough to send me to bed.

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Off I went to meet a Canadian journo @harjournalist I was meeting that day to give her a Panini Euro 2016 album and a few stickers. While I was waiting for her popped up Danielle Carter, Marta Corredera and Dominique Janssen. Dan recognised me as she has been with the club for many years and had a quick chat. I am not sure if the other players knew who I was and probably thought I was a local fan with an Arsenal shirt. As I don’t do program signing and post game selfies, they cannot recognise the fans like me. They must know the Car Park Crew from Borehamwood though.

So I met Harjeet did some sightseeing and then went back to my hotel as it was about 3am UK time and needed a good sleep.

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The next day was game day. Another day of sightseeing before the main event at 7pm. I went round the town and then back to the hotel in the afternoon to have a nap again as my body clock was messed up as expected. I saw the space needle and many other things. Below is the Memorial Stadium view from the Space Needle and the entrance.

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Then it was game time. The memorial Stadium is quite big with two main stands with the cheapest seats starting at $18, so a bit more expensive that the prices in the England or France. There is some restricted view on those seats as well but the tactical view is superb.

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I met two nice people at the game a Thorns fan Nicole @endibs_rn and another friendly journo @jacobcristobal. It always nice to meet IRL the people that you come across on twitter.

The game itself was interesting in the first half when the Reign put their best team on the pitch and chanegd in the second half when both sides made a lot of substitutions. You can see the full game here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWdWIhRAV_I

For the Arsenal fans, it will be remembered as the first Arsenal game for Jodie Taylor and the ankle injury that put Leah Williamson out for the a few months and maybe until the end of the season.

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At the end of the game, the Arsenal players went to speak to the Cascadia Gooners and there were many Arsenal fans in attendance and they  went to the fan zone behind one of the goal that was extremey busy.

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It was nice to be able to see the Arsenal Ladies in the USA and on Friday I was on my way back to London. I went to the early flights and to my surprise the check-in opens four hours before the flight time because the baggage drop is slow and the TSA queueing is really bad and travellers seem to miss flights because of it.

I went in the queue at H-4, got to the desk at H -3.30 to be told the flight was full and my ticket was not valid. For those who understand the jargon my PNR was not linked to the ticket number and the girl at check-in could not be bothered doing it and had no time doing anyway. They were actually looking for voluntary passengers to get on the next flight, the famous DBC passengers.

So I missed the morning flight and my chance to make it on time to London and go the Development team Cup final which annoyed me greatly. For the record the Dev Team beat Sheffield 2-1 aet to complete a cup treble with the 1st team and the u17 team.

After a few hours being bored at the airport, I went to the check-in desk and the supervisor linked my ticket to the PNR and confirmed I would get on the next plane as there were 20 seats available.

So I got wandering in the airport waiting for my plane and bumped into a few players who were all going to eat and a funny scene with Jordan pushing Leah around who was in a wheelchair. Then I went to collect my seat ticket and the whole team was also waiting to board at the gate.

They did a few pictures with some Reign fans who were really appreciative and we all went on the plane. Most of the players were seating a few rows behind me actually but I did not bother to speak to them.

Firstly, because I had a window seat besides two old German people who were asleep most of the flight and every time I wanted to go out, I had to wake them up and they were not happy bunnies lol

And secondly because when you are on a long trip home for the USA I am sure the players don’t need to be bothered by a fan, while they tried to rest and sleep. Saying that I bet if the Car Park Crew had been on the plane, they would not have been so considerate for the players 😉

In the end, I managed to get Jemma Rose to sing my shirt on the shuttle train at Heathrow Terminal 5. I remember well when Jem was a promising player back in 2009/10 with Birmingham City Ladies. She is a good centre back and need to be back to her best while Josephine Henning is unavailable due to the Olympics in August.

Overall a nice trip to Seattle and it was a competitive game to watch.

 

 

 

 

2016 game count : 44

1. 10 Jan Fulham Foundation 0 Lewes Ladies 10 FA Women’s Cup Round 2 POM  Khassall

2. 24 Jan Crystal Palace 1 West Ham 2 FA Women’s Cup Round 2 POM Edwards

3. 31 Jan Arsenal Ladies 2 v Millwall Lionesses 1 FA WSL Dev League Southern POM : –

4. 06 Feb Arsenal U17 5 Middlesex U17 1 FA Girls Youth Cup QF POM : –

5. 07 FebWatford Ladies 1 Millwall Lionesses 3 aet  FA Women’s Cup Round 3 POM :  Heaslip

6. 14 Feb Yeovil 2 Bradford 0 FA Women’s Cup Round 3 POM : Williams

7. 17 Feb PSG 1 Chelsea 5  friendly POM: –

8. 21 Feb London Bees dev 3 Watford dev 2 POM : –

9. 27 Feb Arsenal U17 3 Chelsea U17 0  U17 LSE POM : James

10. 28 Feb Spurs Ladies 2 Aston Villa Ladies 3 aet FA Women’s Cup R4 POM : Baptiste

11. 05 Mar Arsenal U17 4 Liverpool U17 3 FA Girls Youth Cup SF POM: –

12. 07 Mar France B 0 USA U23 2 Istria Women’s Cup POM : Lavelle

13. 08 Mar West Ham Ladies 1 Spurs Ladies 0 FA WPL  POM : Keown

14. 13 Mar Chelsea 7 Bristol 1 Friendly  POM : –

15. 20 Mar Reading Millwal FA Women’s Cup R5 POM : Robe

16. 23 Mar Arsenal 3 Reading 1 FA WSL POM : Carter

17.24 Mar Oxford 3 Millwall 5 FA WSL 2 POM : Hincks

18. 26 Mar Bristol 0 Sheffield 0 FA WSL 2 POM : –

19. 27 Mar Arsenal Dev 2 Reading Dev 3 FA WSL Dev League POM : –

20. 03 Apr Arsenal 2 Notts County 2 FA Women’s Cup QF POM :

21. 10 Apr  – v  – ( behind closed door) POM : –

22. 14 Apr Spurs 0 Charlton 0 ( 4-3 pso) POM: –

23. 16 Apr Arsenal 5 Man United 1 FA Girls Youth Cup final POM : –

24. 17 Apr Arsenal 7 Sunderland 0 FA Women’s Cup POM : Van de Donk

25.  20 Apr Arsenal dev 11 Oxford Dev 0 FA WSL dev League POM : Filbey

26. 21 Apr Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2 F WSL POM : Kirby

27. 25 Apr France U16 2 England U16 1  friendly POM: Lakrar

28. 27 Apr Reading 1 Arsenal 2 FA WSL POM: Carter

29. 30 Apr Millwall 0 Yeovil 4 FA WSL 2 POM : Wiltshire

30. 01 May Arsenal 0 Birmingham 0 FAWSL POM : –

31. 02 May Reading 1 Sunderland 1 FA WSL POM : Earps

32 08 May Watford 0 London Bees 2 Conti Cup POM : Anderson

33 14 May Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0 FA Women’s Cup final Pom : Carter

34 15 May London Bees 1 Yeovil Dev 1 POM: –

35 16 May Watford 0 London Bees 5 FA WSL 2 POM : Cooper

36 19 May Chelsea 0 Man City 2 FA WSL POM  :-

37 21 May Peterborough 1  West Ham 5 friendly POM : –

38 22 May London Bees 2 Durham  2 FA WSL 2 POM : –

39 26 May Seattle 1 Arsenal 1 International friendly POM : Nobbs

40 29 May Brighton 4  SCA Ladies 2 Women 1 POM : –

41 02 Jun England U19 0 France U19 2 POM : Gavory

42 04 Jun England 7 Serbia 0 Euro qualifier POM: –

43 12 Jun Arsenal Ladies Dev 7 West Ham Ladies 2 friendly POM : Brunton-Wilde / Dean

44 25 Jun Arsenal Ladies 5 Sunderland 1 FA WSL POM : Van De Donk

Old Actonians 1 Cambridge United 4

Last Sunday was the FA WSL Continental Cup final day and as an Arsenal fan, I could have gone there and enjoy that 3-0 trashing of Notts County, but as I was on work duty, I instead went to a local game. Old Actonians v Cambridge United.

The first thing you notice is the ground has quite a big slope. The gradient is not as big as Barnet’s Underhill but it is not bad. I choose to watch that game because, it was local with Greenford very close to Ealing and also I have met Cambridge’s manager Steve many time through the years. I also used to live in Cambridge and go to the Abbey Stadium to watch games there.

So I was interested to see how Cambridge would do. Their warm up was good with some drils where the movements and passing were excellent. It was my first game of the 2015/16 season watching the south east division 1 level. I had previously watched the FA WPL Southern division among the games I have attended in 2015.

It is always interesting to watch various football levels from the international game to the lower divisions because you always see different things and the entertainment is there.

First I have to say that assistant referee on my side was absolutely rubbish, he was walking not on line with the last defender by two or three meters at time. It is not possible to judge an offside if you are not on line, so he got a few decisions wrong.

Anyway, Cambridge opened the score on the 22 minutes from a right wing attack and a cut back that was finished from six yards. They scored an excellent second one on the break with a 2v2 well finished at the half hour mark. Half -time was reached with that 2-0 deserved scoreline for Cambridge.

Barely a minute after the game restarted, Cambridge went through the middle and scored their third goal. At that point, I though the game was dead and buried. After all when you are three nil up, you should be cruising and controlling the game.

Well that did not happen, Old Actonians went on full attacking mode and put waves after waves after waves, putting pressure on Cambridge who could not get hold of the ball and counter attack very often. Their team were stretched with acres of spaces between the defense and midfield. I was expecting at any minute to see a midfielder drop in front of the defense to stabilise things but it never happened. The game became more and more tense but a bit of fouling and kicking and a booking.

Old Actonians scored a peach of a goal to get back to 3-1. The shot went in the top corner as close as possible from the angle between the crossbar and the post. A beautiful shotindeed . They tried to put even more pressure to score the second goal and you could feel that the momentum had totally changed and  an equalizer could have happened late in the game had a second goal come in.

In the end, Cambridge United got a fourth goal on the break late in the game and went home with the 3 points that they fully deserved

Old Actonians’ Cree and Williams impressed me, while Mills, Crook and Jenkins played well for Cambridge. Paige Logie a former Watford Ladies player was also in great form and scored a brace.

Cambridge United have their match report here  : http://www.cambridge-united.co.uk/news/article/match-report-old-actonians-ladies-1-united-wfc-4-2782171.aspx, while Old Actonians have their line-up and goalscorer name here : http://www.clubwebsite.co.uk/oldactonianslfc/83401/Matches/report/5929653

Norway v Wales analysis

Here what I have seen and noted from Wales 4-0 defeat on Friday at the Color Line Stadium in Alesund.

The starting 11 was surprising considering regulars like Angharad James and Hayley Ladd were dropped as well as new captain Sophie Ingle. Natsha Harding was named captain for the game. Lack of high intensity level in the previous game against Austria ( a 3-0 defeat) has been mentioned as a reason behind those changes.

The line-up was : Alice Evans, Rhiannon Roberts Kylie Davies Nia Jones, Laura May-Walkley Jess Fishlock Rachel Rowe Natasha Harding, Loren Dykes Charlie Estcourt Helen Ward.

Wales were defending deep with in a 5-4-1 formation with Estcourt as a lone striker and the two wing level with the back while the wingers dropped to play alongside the two central midfield. Attacking wise, it was 3-4-3 the starting 11 system.

There is no doubt that the team was set-up with a defensively minded orientation to frustrate Norway.The players were well prepared into their respective roles with many hard workers especially the wing backs and central midfields.

Fishlock and Rowe covered miles and miles while Harding from very deep and May-Walkley roamed down the flanks. Dykes and Ward were also very disciplined and tracked back leaving Estcourt as a lone striker chasing the defenders on her own.

Considering the set-up and its use, Ludlow was justified in ringing the changes. If it had not been for some individual errors related to  positioning within the defensive block, the game could have reached half-time with a 0-0 scoreline has the back three were not very much under pressure, besides a few crosses coming from the wings.

The downside of that set-up is that attacking wise Fishlock was very isolated in trying to organise counter-attacking raids and there only one chance for Ward to score from 20 yards

Maybe a third midfield player with an older more experienced head would have helped attacking wise as some of the forward / attacking passing was quite poor throughout the game. But it would have meant a 3-5-2 system and no possibility to double up defending on the wings against the Norwegian wingers and full back in their 4-4-2 system.

There were also a few times when Estcourt was hard working at annoying the defenders and Fishlock initiated a pressing high on the pitch but nobody else followed up as all the players stayed in their respective place. It is a shame as the ball was there for the taking with a quick win high on the pitch and a real chance to do damage in transition.

But that kind of experience to press together with 3 or 4 players, you need the experience to feel the right moment and that’s were Ladd, James or Ingle could have helped. Overall the damage limitation tactic was working in the first half with two goal conceded via errors, but there was a clear problem up front as Estcourt was doing a very good job as a defensive center forward but was too isolated and not pacy enough to run behind the defenders.

At half-time Wales made a  welcomed tactical switch as they needed to score goals to get back in the game. Estcourt and Harding exchanged their position giving Wales the pace option up top. It had a positive mechanical effect has it allowed Wales to play higher of the pitch and forced the Norwegian defensive line deeper.

The Norwegian block was very compact in the first half as their defender only had Estcourt to face and played high and close to their midfield. Harding stretched them a little bit more and allowed Wales more breathing space and time on the ball.

Ward was replaced on the 56th minute by Fletcher on the left wing probably to make a bigger attacking impact but it did not really worked well and James replaced May-Walkley in the 74th minute as the poor girl had no energy left after running up and down the wing.

It was definitely a better second half for Wales for threatened more attacking wise rather than defend to the full like in the first half. Overall as someone mentioned to me on twitter, it is the same kind of result against big team ie large defeat but I can safely said that there has been a certain improvement compared to the 4-1 defeat to France 4 years ago or the defeats to England in the World Cup qualifiers.

We all know Jayne Ludlow like players who can run longer and harder because that is what is needed at international level. France coach Bergeroo did exactly the same when he took over from Bini in 2013. He added a physical preparation specialist to have the French girls compete physically with the USA, Sweden or Germany.

Once the players will reach a good enough international level, then it will be time to introduce a more passing / attacking kind of football.

1-0 The ball on the left side of the penalty area is played between Fishlock and Rowe who is on the wrong side of Mjelde who can shoot from 20 yards. Evans parries the ball with her knee but it goes towards Herlovsen who taps it in.

2-0 a simple overlap on the left side behind May-Walkley and a cross to Ada Hegerberg who heads it well past Evans.

3-0 an excellent lofted through ball from Ronning behind the Welsh back line and a cool finish by Herlovsen

4-0 an 18 yards free kick from Mjelde that hit the near post and gets in. Only 3 players in the wall which is strange ans the fourth one moved away to mark a Norwegian player.

All four goals are the product of a team and  individual mistakes.

A decent Wales performance, with some improvement to makes to be competitive against the best teams in Europe.

Reading v Yeovil

This is a game I will describe as curious. First we had two drumming band competing for noises.
I think I still have headaches from those and they actually prevented me from concentrating properly on the game.
Reading more or less won the first half and Yeovil won the second half.

I had a very interesting conversation with another fan about the result especially the second half. He says Yeovil wanted it more, won most of the second balls and pressurised Reading into making mistakes. I said Reading did not do enough with their passing quality to unlock Yeovil’s defense. I think both of us were right and it was a combination of Yeovil excellent work rate and Reading not finding solutions.

There was a semi controversial moment when Reading were chasing an equaliser at 3-2 when there were
strong calls for a penalty for a handball. Ellie Curson made a sliding tackle to prevent a close range shot and the ball went into corner. Did it hit her hand ? It might have …but the rule says it is a penalty only if there is intent. So right decision no penalty.

I have to mention the pitch looked bobbly and the grass quite high, this was not the best for passing football but Yeovil adapted much better to this particularly in the second half.

What surprised me most in the second half was Reading inability to do something with the ball under great pressure from Yeovil. If you are pressed, there area are to hit to find space and move the game away from your own half. This is something you see in rugby when a team just kicks the ball into the open area to find breathing soace. Or you raise the quality level from your short passing and improve off the ball movement.

Reading were smothered by Yeovil as a snake would do with their prey. Great tactics and organisation won the game.

Liverpool 1 Sunderland 2 The armchair view

A big upset to start the 2015 season. It was a curious with a well drilled Sunderland team and a sub par Liverpool side that struggled to break them down.

Having missed the pre-game due to having my dinner and IT problem, I actually didn’t clock for the whole game that the Reds were playing with a back 5. I did wonder why they had 3 full backs on the pitch and thought they were playing a back 4. They probably told us during the commentary but I didn’t put the sound on due to another IT problem.

People in the ground will certainly have a more realistic and true to the game picture as the tv focuses on part of the pitch around the ball. Check the match report from @lfcladiesfans and @girlsontheball.

So what did I see on tv or what I did not see ?  I struggled to understand Liverpool’s attacking pattern. Their structure seemed clearer when I saw them against the Belles a few weeks ago. Besides Dowie in the 9 slot and Williams in her usual 6, the other players seemed to be popping all over the place.

At that early stage of the season, Sunderland squad stability seems a important advantage and they looked more compact as a team and found spaces between Liverpool lines easily at times.

Rebuilding an attacking system with new players and different profiles is a slow process. Arsenal struggled earlier last season with the same process and you would expect Bristol to follow suit.

Sunderland’s gameplan worked very well. You could see they had done some good analysis as they prevented Liverpool from taking some short goalkicks by pressing the defenders especially the full backs. Credit to them for hitting the ground running and getting 3 big points.

It was nice to see Lucy Staniforth come back after her double ACL injury. I also enjoyed watching the former Arsenal Academy player known as Trev in the winning team. And when there is talk of homegrown players lack of chances in England, you can see it as a positive that the England U17 full back Pacheco that I saw in a recent friendly got a game yesterday.

On the 3 goals :
The first one is bizzare as both the goalie and the center back miss the ball while Mead with her scoring instinct is perfectly placed to head it into the net.
The second one comes from physical play. Someone actually mentioned on twitter that it is the second penalty she gave away in a week. It was a superb shot from Chaplen, you will not see many better penalties taken.
The third one, I thought there was an obstruction on Laws as there is a Liverpool body on the line that prevents her from catching the ball. If the goalie’s movement is hampered, it must be a foul….or not ? I will check the Laws Of The Game for this one. It was an intelligent flick from Smorsgard to set-up Murray. Credit to the Norwegian forward.

Overall a deserved win for Sunderland and clear indication that the battles for champions league places and relegation will be very open this season.

2015 games attended & planned

1. Charlton v Cardiff, FA Cup, 3-2 aet 11 Jan  2 red cards for dissent

2. Arsenal U17 v Brighton U17, COE U17, 9-0  17 Jan cold game with snowfall

3. Old Actonians v Charlton, County Cup,  1-2 18 Jan 1 red card for dissent

4. London Bees dev v Bristol Academy dev, Dev League,  3-2 25 Jan 5 goals in 2nd half

5. Herts Uni v Cardiff Uni 2-3 , BUCS League, 27 Jan bad central midfield pariring for Herts Uni

6. Arsenal U17 V Hampshire U17 10-0 COE U17, 31/01 easy win for the Arsenal girls

7.  Millwall dev v Arsenal  dev 1-4 , Development Cup,  01/02  superb first half performance for the Arsenal girls

8.  France v USA 2-0  International Friendly, 08/02 first ever win for France v USA

9.  England v USA 0-1 International Friendly 13/02 one wrongly disallowed goal for England

10. London Bees dev v Arsenal dev 5-4 Development League 15/02 goal galore

11. Fra U17 v Ger U17 0-5 18/02 clinical germans

12.  Eng U17 v Fra U17 1-1 9-10 pso 20/02

13.  PSG V OL 0-4 21/02 clinical OL hammers PSG

14.  Glasgow v Chelsea 22/02  0-2 Easy win for Chelsea

15. Watford v Chelsea 0-4 27/02 another good win for Chelsea

16. Arsenal U17 v Chelsea U17 7-1 28/02 big win for Arsenal U17

17. France B v Wales 1-0  04/03 a bad referee

18. France B v Costa Rica 0-0 06/03 same bad referee

19.  Liverpool v Doncaster 1-1 14/03 cold evening

20. Arsenal v Yeovil Town  4-2 15/03  behind closed door

21. Millwall Lionesses v London Bees 0-0 lack of clinical finish on the day 18/03

23. (Glasgow City v PSG 22/03 )

24.  ( Watford v Aston Villa 28/03)

25. ( London Bees v Reading 29/03)

26. ( Reading v Watford 02/04)

27. (France U19 v Iceland U19 04/04)

28. ( France U19 v Romania U19 06/04 )

29. ( Arsenal v Bristol Academy 15/04)

30. ( Reading v Yeovil 18/04)

31. ( Man City v Arsenal or Chelsea Liverpool 19/04 )

32. (Reading v Oxford 23/04)

33.  ( Bristol v Notts County 25/04)

34. ( Arsenal v Sunderland 26/04 )

35. (Chelsea v Arsenal 30/04)

36. (Bristol Academy v Arsenal or Reading v Everton 09/05)

37. ( Millwall v Yeovil 10/05)

38. ( Millwall v Watford 17/05)

39. ( Reading v Millwall 23/05)

40. (Watford v Yeovil 24/05)

41. ( London Bees v Millwall 27/05)

42. ( France v England 09/06)

43. ( France v Colombia 13/06)

44. (FIFA WC QF 26/06)

45. (FIFA WC SF 30/06)

46. (FIFA WC F 05/07)

47. (Reading v Durham 11/07)

48. ( Arsenal v Liverpool 12/07)

49. ( Bristol v Man City 18/07 )

50. ( Birmingham v Arsenal 19/07)

51.( Reading v Villa 22/07)

52. ( Arsenal v Notts County 26/07)

53. (FA Cup Final 01/08)

54. ( Arsenal v Man City 09/08)

55. ( Reading v London Bees 22/08)

56. ( Arsenal v Chelsea 23/08)

57. ( Liverpool v Arsenal 05/09)

58. (Chelsea v Notts 06/09 )

59. (Sunderland v Arsenal 26/09)

60.  (London Bees v Doncaster or Watford v Reading 27/09 )

61. (Arsenal v Birmingham 04/10)

62. (UEFA WCL 07&08/10)

63. (UEFA WCL 14&15/10)

64. ( Watford v London Bees 18/10)