The Continental Tyres Cup Update
by Andrew Crawshaw
The Continental Tyres Cup is the Women’s version of the League Cup – equivalent to the Carabao Cup in the Men’s competition. It is open to the 24 clubs in the two professional leagues, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship.
For years this was our competition as we were in the final for the first five years winning it four times and Arsenal won it again in 2015 and 2017). The only other clubs who have won it are Manchester City (2014, 2016, 2018 and last year) and Chelsea in 2019/20 and 2020/21. It’s time we brought it home again.
This season the competition started with a group stage where teams not involved in the Champions League were split into 5 mini-leagues, each team playing the other sides in their league once. The Champions League teams were exempt from this phase of the competition and enter the tournament at the quarter-final stage.
It was therefore expected that ourselves, Chelsea and Manchester City would go straight into the quarter-finals but City blotted their copybook again and were knocked out of the Champions League in the qualifying stage so joined in at the group stage meaning that a sixth qualifier had to be found from the five groups.
This was the line-up of the groups. A and B are nominally Northern, C, D & E are Southern.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E|
|Aston Villa||Leicester City||Brighton||Bristol City||Southampton|
|Durham||Blackburn Rovers||London City Lionesses||Crystal Palace||Coventry|
|Manchester United||Manchester City|
Group stage matches were played between 1/2 October to 17/18 December.
The matches finished with the teams in the following order
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E|
|Aston Villa||Manchester City||West Ham||Bristol City||Spurs|
|Durham||Leicester City||London City Lionesses||Charlton||Coventry|
So the five group winners qualified as did Liverpool from Group B as the best second-placed team which seems a little harsh on the second-placed teams in groups of four who also only lost one match. But then I shouldn’t be too surprised at the FA having an impenetrable logic.
So the Quarter finals are being played this week (assuming there are no more weather cancellations).
Wednesday 19:00 Bristol City v Manchester City
Bristol are the only Championship side left in the competition and it will be a shock of seismic proportions if City don’t win this match by a distance.
Wednesday 19:30 Liverpool v West Ham United
This game could go either way, my expectation would be a win for West Ham but for it to be a very tight game, possibly going to penalties.
Wednesday 19:45 Tottenham v Chelsea
Chelsea are a far stronger team than Tottenham and should win quite comfortably.
Thursday 19:45 Arsenal v Aston Villa.
This could be a tricky match for us. Villa played well at the weekend in the League and are an increasingly tough nut to crack. Without doubt we have better players but at the moment are struggling to score anywhere near as many goals as we should. The key to us winning will be for Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Lina Hurtig to unpack their shooting boots and step up to replace the goals that would normally be scored by Viv Miedema and Beth Mead. Defensively we are the best in the league, but sadly not in attack. We should still win but maybe only by a solitary goal.
The Match is being played at Meadow Park, Borehamwood and the weather forecast for the next couple of days is for above freezing from 09:00 tomorrow right the way to the weekend. Daytime temperatures on Thursday are between 3 and 6 degrees so I will still need to wear full thermals. Overcast skies with no more than a 10% chance of rain. The club have announced that there will be a pitch inspection at 12:00 when a decision will be made by the referee whether the match can be played or not. A move to the Emirates was considered but wasn’t possible due to essential pitch maintenance.. In light of the weather forecast, I cannot see the game failing to go ahead.
I think our starting 11 will be as I predicted for the Brighton game…
Manuella Zinsberger (GK)
Laura Wienroither, Rafaelle Souza, Leah Williamson, Steph Catley
Kim Little, Frida Maanum, Lia Wälti
Katie McCabe, Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord.
Sabrina D’Angelo (GK), Lotte Wubben-Moy, Jen Beattie, Noëlle Maritz, Teyah Goldie, Victoria Pelova, Kathrine Møller Kühl, Gio Queiroz, Katie McCabe
The semi-finals will be played on February 8/9 and the final on Sunday 5 March at Crystal Palace’s ground Selhurst Park. That is a short bus ride from where I live so I really really want us to be there!
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