Women’s Super League Matchweek 3 Review: Arsenal top of the league

by Andrew Crawshaw

The six matches for this last weekend were

  • Aston Villa v Everton
  • Manchester United v Brighton
  • Manchester City v Spurs
  • Arsenal v Bristol City
  • Birmingham v Chelsea
  • West Ham v Reading

Aston Villa (0) v Everton (6) was played on Saturday.  Villa were promoted at the start of the season, Everton have proved to be the surprise package so far this year winning both their opening fixtures by some margin, despite their main scorer from last season leaving to go to Man City.  The result was a resounding 6-0 victory for Everton.  I watched part of this match and also saw Everton’s Cup semi-final win in midweek and I must say they are playing some very impressive football.  They haven’t got the star names that some other teams have but are a well balanced team who work hard and make very few mistakes.  They are certainly good value for their league position and, if they continue like this will be challenging for a top three league place (and Champions League qualification) at the end of the season.  The goals came from Australian International Raso in the 20th and 24th minutes, Scottish International Emslie in minutes 27 and 53, French International Gauvin in Min 40 and Boye-Horkah in Min 51.

Man United (3) v Brighton (0) played on Sunday along with the rest of the teams in the WSL.  Brighton have a problem with scoring goals and that was to prove their undoing again in this match as they lost by 3-0 and, in the parts of the game I saw, never really looked like scoring although for much of the game they were able to prevent United from scoring either.  United got off to a quick start with a third minute penalty following a goal line challenge that was rather rash.  Brighton then help United until the 70th minute when Russo scored a good solo goal and Ross got the third in injury time.  Wayward finishing by United and some good goalkeeping by Walsh in the Brighton goal kept the score respectable for the most part.

Manchester City (4) v Tottenham  (1)  City bulldozed their way past Spurs in this encounter.  They are an extremely powerful team and well versed in the dark arts of sly fouling without being punished.  If any team isn’t up for a real physical battle against them (or if the referee isn’t willing to apply the strict letter of the law) then there will only be one winner and that proved to be the case in this match.  I stopped watching once I started shouting at the referee, (which for some reason didn’t influence things at all).  Two goals from Chloe Kelly, one from her England team mate Ellen White plus a fourth from US midfielder Mewis were enough although Filbey got a late consolation goal.

Birmingham City (0) v Chelsea (1)  A solitary goal from Kirby (a solid header from a free kick with the Birmingham keeper rooted to the ground) in the ninth minute was the difference between these two teams.  Birmingham were never really out of the game and almost had a late equaliser but Walker headed just wide, although most of the chances were from Chelsea and only some good goalkeeping and a fabulous goalie clearance kept the scoreline down.

West Ham United (0) v Reading (1)  Only the one goal  for Reading, Burton bundling a cross from Harding’s cross.  Reading lost their captain Farah Williams to injury after only 16 minutes and had their goalkeeper Maloney to thank when she saved a penalty (which she had conceded) and also made a fine save from a fierce shot from Maloney.  Had VAR been in use then I suspect the penalty would have had to be retaken as it looked to me as if Maloney moved too soon.

Arsenal (3) v Bristol City (1)  Last season this was a record breaking 11 – 1 match; Arsenal with Miedema scoring six and assisting four.  Sadly this weekend’s match was nothing like that.  Arsenal had been terrible in their 2 – 1 defeat to Man City in the mid week Cup Semi-final defeat  and frankly weren’t much better in this game producing another error strewn performance that did little for my blood pressure.  An uncharacteristic dither by Leah Williamson in the sixth minute was intercepted and a rather weak shot by Harrison from outside the area evaded Zinsberger and crept into the corner of the goal.  For the rest of the first half we huffed and puffed without producing anything really threatening.  Too many passes were astray and our tempo was far too slow.  Bristol had all 11 players behind the ball and it was all very frustrating.  In the 42nd minute Nobbs scored her third goal in consecutive games thumping the ball home in an emphatic fashion.  Manager Montemurro must have said something at half time as we started the second half much better.  Foord put us ahead five minutes after the restart and after that we seemed reasonably content to just control the game.  The Bristol goalie, Baggaley, kept her side in the game with a number of important stops but couldn’t stop the inevitable Miedema goal late in the game.  This was a frustrating game, we dominated throughout – Possession 82%, 24 shots, 9 on target and 8 corners to Bristol’s 0.  We really weren’t anywhere near our best though.

So where do these results leave everyone :-

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 3 3 0 0 18 3 15 9
2 Everton 3 3 0 0 11 0 11 9
3 Chelsea 3 2 1 0 11 1 10 7
4 Manchester United 3 2 1 0 6 1 5 7
5 Manchester City 3 2 1 0 6 1 5 7
6 Reading 3 2 0 1 5 7 -2 6
7 Brighton 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1 4
8 Tottenham Hotspur 3 0 1 2 2 6 -4 1
9 West Ham United 3 0 1 2 2 11 -9 1
10 Birmingham City 3 0 0 3 2 8 -6 0
11 Aston Villa 3 0 0 3 1 11 -10 0
12 Bristol City 3 0 0 3 1 16 -15 0

So even this early in the season the top five are all unbeaten and starting to move ahead of the rest, who all collectively are in negative goal difference.  Everton are the surprise team so far and their performances justify their second place – they are the only team yet to concede a goal.

Not surprisingly Arsenal and Everton players are dominating the top scorer chart.  (Please note that not all players have three full games and the “minutes per goal” figures reflect the actual time each player has been on the pitch.)

Player Team Goals Mins per goal Shots
Jill Roord Arsenal 6 25 10
Vivianne Miedema Arsenal  5 54 18
Caitlin Foord Arsenal 2 71 5
Hayley Raso Everton 2 103 5
Lucy Graham Everon 2 124 8
Valérie Gauvin Everton 2 61 4
Kim Little Arsenal 2 67 3
Claire Emslie Everton 2 77 3
Kirsty Hanson Man United 2 110 9
Ella Toone Man United 2 123 13
Fran Kirby Chelsea 2 123 6
Jane Ross Man United 2 59 4
Georgia Stanway Man City 2 90 11
Sam Kerr Chelsea 2 91 11
Lauren Bunton Reading  2 102 6
Chloe Kelly Man City 2 121 7

Next weekend sees the following WSL matches

  • Tottenham Hotspur v Man United 12:30 Saturday
  • Brighton v Arsenal 12:30 Sunday
  • Everton v West Ham 14:00 Sunday
  • Bristol v Aston Villa 14:00 Sunday
  • Reading v Birmingham 14:00 Sunday
  • Chelsea v Man City 14:30 Sunday

Please note that our match on Sunday Lunchtime will be live on the BBC (via the red button or online platforms).  With no men’s matches due to the International break, there is no excuse for not watching.

The 2020/21 Continental Tyres Cup matches kick off midweek. This is a two stage competition with all WAS and Championship teams taking part.  The first stage are group games and we have drawn something of a short straw.

We are in Group B with Chelsea, Tottenham and London City Lionesses and start with an away match against Chelsea who we always find difficult to beat. This match is Wednesday evening.

Group A has Aston Villa, Coventry, Durham and Sheffield United

Group C has Everton, Liverpool, Man City and Man United

Group D has Brighton, Charlton, Reading and West Ham

Group E has Birmingham, Blackburn and Leicester

Group F has Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Lewes and London Bees

With only the group winners guaranteed a place in the quarter final (plus the two best runners up) there are certain to be some big teams losing out from both our group and group C so it is vital that we get some kind of result against Chelsea.

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