by Andrew Crawshaw
Week 4 saw the following games
- Tottenham H v Manchester United
- Chelsea v Manchester City
- Reading v Birmingham City
- Bristol City v Aston Villa
- Everton v West Ham United
- Brighton and Hove v Arsenal
The Saturday game saw Tottenham take on Manchester United, who if they won would go to the top of the table (at least overnight). With Alex Morgan, their star summer signing, still not fit, Tottenham still looked short of goal threat and whilst they defended resolutely, it was really only a matter of time before United’s greater attacking quality showed. Turner scoring from a Heath corner in the 67th minute for the only goal of the game.
Chelsea 3 v Manchester City 1
Refereeing controversy in the first half saw Ellen White yellow carded for a handball, despite the ball striking her colleague Demi Stokes. Whilst the ball travelled a fair distance it was travelling very fast and Stokes arm was close to her body. The penalty was put away well by Mjelde for the only goal in the first half. Whilst their first goal was somewhat lucky, Chelsea went on to dominate the second half, Kerr adding a second in the 57th minute, before City were given a handball penalty in the 73rd minute scored by ex Arsenal player Chloe Kelly. Chelsea restored their two goal advantage in the 79th minute with Kirby finishing from close range from a Cuthbert pass.
Reading 0 – Birmingham City 1
Reading had won their last two going into this match and were favourites against pointless Birmingham. It seemed like the game was going pretty much to plan as Reading dominated for the most of the game whilst remaining scoreless, Birmingham’s keeper Hannah Hampton making a number of fine saves to keep then in the game. Birmingham scored the only goal of the game against the run of play mid-way through the second half Claudia Walker scoring from a Sarah Mayling cross. Reading came close to an equaliser but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Bristol City v Aston Villa
This match was postponed due to a positive Covid test for a first team player and several others having to go into an isolation period
Everton 3 – West Ham United 1
Everton have been the surprise of the season to date, undefeated in the League and reaching the final of last Season’s FA Cup and started as firm favourites in this game. It took them only 8 minutes to take the lead with Sörensen scoring from an Emslie assist. West Ham showed a lot of character and equalised through Dali midway through the first half and keeping the scores level until midway through the second half when Graham scored from a Christiansen assist. Graham made the game secure in the second minute of time added on to maintain Everton’s 100% record. Four wins on the trot.
Brighton and Hove Albion 0 – Arsenal 5
A quick start by Arsenal, Miedema opening the scoring in the 10th minute from a Walti pass. Danielle van de Donk getting our second in the 36th minute from a Foord pass. Jen Beattie scored a wonderful header from a McCabe corner in the 48th minute and the game was effectively over. Miedema turned provider in the 82nd minute for Lotte Wubben-Moy to get her first Arsenal goal, a fine volley at the back post and Miedema got her second of the match deep into time added on.
I remember Lotte Wubben-Moy coming on as a substitute in her first game as a 16 year old Centre Back and was amazed at her maturity. She left as an 18 year old for college life in the USA only returning this summer a year early due to the Covid situation. Great to see her back on the pitch in an unfamiliar position at right wing busting a gut to get on the back of Miedema’s inch perfect pass.
Week 5 saw the following Games
- West Ham United v Manchester United
- Everton v Brighton and Hove
- Bristol City v Birmingham City
- Reading v Manchester City
- Arsenal v Tottenham
The Saturday match between Aston Villa and Chelsea was postponed due to the continuing Covid situation within the Villa team
West Ham 2 – Manchester United 4
This was a game which United dominated and always looked too strong for West Ham. USA international Alessia Russo tapped in the opener from a Galton pass before setting up Tobin Heath for a second just three minutes later in a totally dominant opening to the first half. Van Egmond pulled one back in the 39th minute from a Dali pass but United restored their two goal advantage just three minutes later as Galton again provided an assist for Russo, a fantastic cross from the left hand byline and a good header to beat the keeper. The second half was somewhat more even, Daly pulling one back for West Ham in the 83rd minute before Press restored the two goal United advantage in the 87th minute, Stainforth with the assist.
Everton 2 – Brighton and Hove Albion 2
This result was a surprise, Everton with four wins out of four and Brighton struggling to score goals. Everton decided to lend a hand with Sevecke heading in for an own goal following a Brighton free kick. Christiansen got an equaliser mid way through the first half with a deflected free kick and provided an assist for French International Gauvin mid way through the second half. Wheelan equalised for Brighton with 12 minutes remaining from a cross by Gibbons.
There was time for a refereeing howler as Green was clearly shown a second yellow card by Lucy Oliver in the 81st minute (yes she is the wife of PGMO referee Michael Oliver). She had already been given one in the 48th minute for a foul on Danielle Turner; she wasn’t sent off!
Everton’s manager was baffled commenting afterwards “We have to talk about it, that’s a major incident,” Kirk told BBC Sport.
“For a player to be booked twice and still be on the pitch is baffling. I think it’s only happened once in my lifetime. It shouldn’t happen.””Nobody wants players to get sent off but that’s how the game goes,” Kirk added. “It would have given us an opportunity to really get at them in the last 10 minutes. It’s frustrating the referee made that mistake.”
Needless to say the incident has already been airbrushed out of the BBC text commentary and isn’t shown on their brief highlight clip but the full coverage showed the referee brandishing the yellow card.
Bristol City 0 – Birmingham City 4
Bristol were the bottom team in the League coming into this match, having conceded 20 and only scored a solitary goal and it showed. Birmingham, fresh from their win the previous week winning their second successive WSL match for the first time since 2018. Two first half goals for Corsie and Green were added to by Walker and Murray from the penalty spot to complete the scoring. There was a 10 minute delay in the second half whilst Bristol’s Aimee Palmer was treated for a leg injury which forced her to leave the pitch. Late on Birmingham’s Abbi Grant was sent off for a second reckless challenge.
I have some sympathy for the Bristol keeper Sophie Baggaley who really isn’t that bad and still manages to make a number of good saves in every match. Bristol though are in trouble and unless they can make a dramatic improvement very quickly will be in real relegation trouble at the end of the season.
Reading 1 – Manchester City 1
Reading stormed into an early lead against last season’s runners up Man City with Eikeland heading in from a Chaplen corner in only the third minute. City dominated for most of the game but Reading proved they are still tough nuts to crack and held on to their lead till the 56th minute when USA international Sam Mewis scoring from a Stanway pass. No further goals meant that City have drawn two and lost one of their opening five fixtures. They could already be out of the title race.
Arsenal 6 – Tottenham 1
Whilst we were unbeaten going into this game, we have honestly not been at our free flowing best with far too many sloppy passes and misunderstandings between our players. We also went into this match with seven players sidelined by injuries meaning that we only had Goalkeeper Williams (just returning from injury herself), Wubben-Moy and 17 year olds Mace and Denton on the bench.
But Arsenal played the best 45 minutes of the season so far in a first half demolition of Spurs. We started at a ferocious tempo with Katie McCabe scoring a glorious left footed free kick from the edge of the 18 yard box in only the 4th minute. She nearly got a second from a second free kick a little more central a couple of minutes later. Miedema in her 50th WSL match scored her 50th WSL goal in the 7th minute, Foord got our third in the 15th minute to effectively end the match. Not content with 50 in 50, Miedema made it 51 and then 52 before halftime. Five nil and we really hadn’t put a foot wrong. Spurs totally blown out of the water – they even made two substitutions in the first half!
Hardly surprisingly the second half was a bit of a let- down as our intensity wasn’t as high and Spurs raised theirs. Foord got her second of the match in the 64th minute, assisted by Miedema before the referee took pity on Tottenham and awarded them a penalty for nothing I could see. Zinsberger went the right way and made a good save but there was nothing she could do in the 77th minute when Leon headed in. Zinsberger was trapped by a Spurs attacker on the ground in front of her.
Miedema is, so far, the only WSL player to reach 50 goals, another remarkable record in her brief career – we have to remember she is only 24 and still getting better. I’m going to do a feature on her in the next couple of days.
So that leaves the table like this:-
|3||Man Utd Women||5||4||1||0||14||5||9||13|
|5||Man City Women||5||2||2||1||8||5||3||8|
|7||Birmingham City Women||5||2||0||3||7||8||-1||6|
|8||Brighton & Hove Albion Women||5||1||2||2||4||10||-6||5|
|9||Tottenham Hotspur Women||5||0||1||4||3||13||-10||1|
|10||West Ham Women||5||0||1||4||5||18||-13||1|
|11||Aston Villa Women||3||0||0||3||1||11||-10||0|
|12||Bristol City Women||4||0||0||4||1||20||-19||0|
|Player||Team||Games||Goals||Mins per goal||Shots|
|Alessia Russo||Man United||4||3||94||7|
|Chloe Kelly||Man City||5||3||131||11|
We are firmly at the top of both tables – an average of 6 goals a game (as near as makes no difference) with the top three leading goalscorers. A fantastic start to the season and our performances starting to get better.
There are highlights of all the games available via the BBC Sport website and also on the FA Player.
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP