FA Women’s Super League Preview… 

Brian Jeeves

By Danielle Ward

The FAWSL is finally back after the winter break and in the middle of what is shaping up to be an exciting transfer window…

Saturday, January 14

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur – Poundland Bescot Stadium (12:30pm) 

Both teams have made key signings early in the transfer window in their search to win the battle of mid-table teams. 

Tottenham Hotspur started the year with a bang by signing striker Bethany England after seven years at Chelsea. With 164 appearances and three WSL titles, as well as being part of the Lionesses team to lift the trophy last summer, her experience and winning mentality will be a huge boost for the Lilywhites as they head into the second half of the season. The striker is in search of consistent game time in the lead-up to the World Cup in the summer to ensure she has the best chance of making the squad. 

Speaking to www.totthenhamhotspur.com’ she said: “The Club has got a lot of ambitions and I’m hoping that I can add to that and hopefully get the Club where it wants to be.” 

Aston Villa have pulled off another star signing, with Carla Ward recruiting experienced midfielder Jordan Nobbs, after twelve years at Arsenal. 

Nobbs is arguably one of the team’s biggest legends, with 270 appearances and 81 goals for the club as well as being an established England international. 

She moves in search of more game time, hoping to make the England team for the World Cup in the Summer. Her international career has been blighted by bad luck and injury, meaning she missed the 2019 World Cup, the 2021 Olympics and the Euros 2022 so the Villians’ offer of more time on the pitch would have made an attractive prospect for the talented midfielder. 

Speaking to www.avfc.co.uk, manager Ward said: “This is a big signing for us and Jordan is one of the country’s most decorated footballers. She’s a winner and will bring a wealth of experience that her new teammates will thrive off.” 

Aston Villa added to their roster of internationally experienced players on Monday with the signing of Lucy Staniforth from Manchester United. The midfielder has 17 caps with England, as well as experience at a variety of clubs including Sunderland, Bristol City and Liverpool. 

With Aston Villa sitting seventh in the table and Tottenham just one place below them, the match could be a real taste of what is to come for these two sides. 

They last met at The Hive in April 2022, with the Villians taking the three points with a 1-0 win. 

Sunday, January 15

Arsenal v Chelsea – Emirates Stadium (Noon) 

With over 40,000 tickets sold so far, it’s set to be another massive game at the Emirates as Arsenal take on league leaders Chelsea. 

As Arsenal fans try to contend with the loss of Jordan Nobbs’ transfer to Aston Villa and the team deal with long-term injury for key playmakers Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, the focus must turn to this important tie. 

Speaking to www.skysports.com ahead of the game, manager Jonas Eidevall said: “These are the games that excite me the most. To play the best teams in Europe and Chelsea is one of those teams. You know that every little detail can matter, so in your preparation, the way you play the game, the communication during the game, everything can have an impact and can be the difference maker and it’s exciting!” 

Arsenal has had a busy start to the transfer season, bringing in Netherlands international Victoria Pelova from Ajax and Danish midfielder Kathrine Kuhl from FC Nordsjælland. 

Pelova follows in the footsteps of previous Dutch players at Arsenal, such as Danielle Van de Donk, Anouk Hoogendijk, Jill Roord, and of course current star striker Vivianne Miedema. 

Speaking to www.arsenal.com in her first interview for the club, Pelova said: “I’m honoured to be here at this club. I really want to be part of this team and I’m so excited to play with everyone!” 

Midfielder Kathrine Kuhl is still only 19 and is said to be one of Europe’s brightest young talents. Speaking to www.arsenal.com about her move to the WSL she said: “Making the step to the English league is a dream come true for me and when Arsenal were interested, it was such a great opportunity. 

Arsenal has also recalled Gio Quieroz who has been on loan at Everton for the first half of the season. 

Other than the move of Bethany England to Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea has been quiet so far in the transfer window, having been pretty busy with summer business. However, they have secured a contract extension until 2026 for Melanie Leupolz and Charlotte Wardlaw returns from her loan to Liverpool. 

Emma Hayes’ team will be looking to continue with their winning form, taking home the three points at the home of their current closest rival will be a good day at the office for the Blues.  

The teams last met in the WSL last February at Kingsmeadow. A tense game with end-to-end action, the final score, 0-0 with a point a piece for the teams. 

West Ham United v Manchester City – Chigwell Construction Stadium (6:45pm) 

West Ham currently sits fifth in the table with Manchester City just one place above them. 

The Hammers have been quiet in the transfer market so far, with the only changes being the departures of Thea Kyvag, Claudia Walker, Grace Garrad and Alex Hennessy. 

They ended 2022 strongly with a 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur and will be hoping for another win to start 2023. 

Speaking to www.whufc.com ahead of the match, manager Paul Konchesky said: “We know Manchester City are a good team and we respect them, but they can get on top of you if you respect them too much. With us being at home, with our decent home record, we won’t sit back. I want us to play on the front foot.” 

City are yet to pick up any players in the transfer window, and much like Chelsea were busier in the summer so look likely to be building consistency with those players rather than making any major changes. However, they did secure an important three-year contract extension for Alex Greenwood before the winter break. 

Despite a shaky start to the season, manager Gareth Taylor is still positive about their chances this season. 

Speaking to www.skysports.com Taylor said: “We still believe we can win the league. We believe we can be there in the finals of trophies. It’s a tough job but one we feel we’re capable of.” 

They go into the game on the back of a ten-match unbeaten run in all competitions. West Ham last hosted Manchester City in April 2022, with City going home with a 2-0 win and three priceless points on the board. 

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk