WSL: Roundup of the weekend’s Super League action
A 40,000-strong Manchester derby at Old Trafford and Lauren James strikes three – two of the big moments from this weekend’s WSL action.
Manchester Derby at Old Trafford
Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City
The big weekend match was the Manchester derby which saw United and City battle it out at Old Trafford in front of a record 43,615 crowd. Despite a positive start from United, Manchester City quickly took control of the game, wiping out a United lead in just a few minutes. United went 1-0 up in the 21st minute from the penalty spot, only for Jill Roord to equalise at the 34th minute and Lauren Hemp to put City ahead one minute later.
Manchester United still have a lot of work to do to get near the top 3 of the WSL. They have now slipped down to fourth and are seven points of WSL leaders Chelsea.
Lauren James lights up Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 5-1 Liverpool
WSL leaders Chelsea took on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in front of a crowd of 12,802. Lauren James won player of the match, scoring a hat trick and exciting fans with her intuitive link-up with Niamh Charles. James showed off her talent and progression and after the match noted that she’s playing to win for Emma Hayes this season – the Chelsea coach is off to the USWNT at the end of the WSL season. On James, boss Hayes said: “She’s the most naturally gifted footballer in the country.”
“The work Lauren did out of possession was outstanding. The way she back-pressed, the way she counter-pressed … I think her forward play was unstoppable.”
Arsenal setting attendance standards
Arsenal 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton reached new attendance heights this weekend, with a record turnout of 4,921 against Arsenal.
Arsenal have regularly sold out their away allocations and on Sunday, fans packed into the Broadfield Stadium, which only has a capacity of 6,134.
Arsenal won 3-0 thanks to goals from Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum – but most impressive is their travelling fans, and an insight into the future of women’s football and its growth across England.
It was the fourth consecutive time that the Gunners have featured in breaking attendance highs this season. “It’s huge for us because the support is tremendous and helps us so much,” their manager, Jonas Eidevall, said.
“With what we’re trying to build and what we as a club can capitalise on, it’s unique and special. That momentum for the club and that investment that so many fans have in the team is so important.”
West Ham close to relegation zone
West Ham 2-3 Aston Villa
Things are going from bad to worse for West Ham having only claimed four points from a maximum of 21 and only registering one win in seven this season so far. The Hammers are hovering very close to the relegation spot. They sit just above Bristol City on goal difference with Villa boss Rehanne Skinner acknowledging that her side is in a transition period, a young and inexperienced squad lacking vital seasoned players. West Ham needs to tighten up in defence otherwise expect to face relegation this season.
Everton throw away win
Everton 2-2 Bristol City
Everton twice took the lead, and twice lost the lead, ending the game in a draw, once again failing to win at home this season.
After a lively start and debut WSL goal from Martina Piemonte things were looking up for Everton, but Amy Rodgers’ wonderful strike saw Bristol City equalise. A goal from Megan Finnigan put Everton back in front before a poor choice from Courtney Brosnan, coming off her line, allowed Amalie Thestrup a late equaliser. Everton have now conceded five goals in the last 15 minutes of games. This leaky defence is a problem from Everton who need to sort it out to have any hope of remaining in the WSL.