FA Women’s Super League Preview…

Brian Jeeves
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By Danielle Ward

It was all-change midweek when Chelsea finally played their game in hand and secured the three points with a 4-0 win over West Ham to take them to the top of the table for the first time since March. Not only did they oust Manchester United but also pushed the Red Devils aside to pick up their third successive FA Cup last weekend. 

It was a world record in the domestic game for attendance, with 77,000 at Wembley to witness Sam Kerr score the decisive goal to secure the FA Cup for Emma Hayes’ team. 

Elsewhere, with Chelsea now back on top, the Manchester derby will prove decisive for both teams as United seek to reclaim the top spot ahead of the final game of the season and City try to fight it out for the Champions League spot in third…

Saturday, May 20

Tottenham Hotspur v Reading – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (4.15pm)  

Where to watch – The FA Player, SPURSPLAY 

 This weekend’s game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be a double-headed affair, with the men’s team up first with fans invited to stay to support the women’s team as they try to keep their heads above water from the relegation zone. 

Interim manager Vicky Jepson has been open about the team’s approach to the last games of the season.

Speaking to www.tottenhamhotspur.com she said: “Physically, we’re looking sharp and we’ve now got more players back in the squad to give us more options to change things if we need to if the game goes a little bit flat.”

Defender for The Lilywhites, Amy Turner, knows that a result on Saturday will mean everything to the team and their place in the WSL.

Speaking on the Tottenham Women’s social media she said: “We’re not underestimating the task at hand. We know it’s a massive game for both teams. We know if we bring the quality that we have then we’ll get three points.”

For Reading it doesn’t look great as they remain at the bottom of the table with just two games left in the season. Relegation is almost inevitable for Kelly Chambers’ side, with only three wins this season. 

She has touted the match-up as their biggest game since they were first promoted into the WSL and has been upfront about how her team must bring everything they have to the game to get a result. 

Speaking to www.readingfc.com, she said: “I think if we’re all brutally honest, many would have predicted us to be in the position we are in, some have said it from the moment we were promoted, but time and time again we’ve proved what we’re about and on Saturday we need to do it again. There will be no place to hide.” 

In their last meeting back in December, Reading claimed the three points with a Spurs own goal the difference between the teams. 

Sunday, May 21

Chelsea v Arsenal – Kingsmeadow (12.30pm)  

Where to watch – BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website 

Arsenal secured a vital midweek win in their search to secure their champions league spot next season. They were 4-1 winners against Everton at Walton Hall Park. 

It was a fairly routine game that saw Arsenal 4-0 up at half-time, but the jubilant mood was disrupted when a poor challenge by Everton Aggie Beever-Jones on midfielder Lia Wælti led to a red card for the Toffees forward.

Things did not look good for the Switzerland international, who had to be stretchered off the pitch after lengthy medical attention. After much speculation, the integral midfielder Wælti had only last week renewed her contract at Arsenal, and would be captaining the Swiss squad at the World cup, making the injury blow ever crueller. 

Manager Jonas Eidevall acknowledged the effect yet another injury could have on the mentality of the team, but also that his players have had to adjust through the season which is a testament to their success despite the setbacks. 

Speaking to www.arsenal.com, he said: “Being resilient is not a choice if it’s a value. That’s who you are. You are a person that can handle adversity, can handle challenges and can keep thinking positively even in tough situations. I think this is the team that we are and we need to really value and protect that going forward.” 

For Chelsea, there will be much focus on the confirmed departure of Pernille Harder and Magda Eriksson, both of who have been mainstays in The Blues trophy campaigns over recent years. However, with the title within their grasp, Emma Hayes’ team must stay focused. 

She is confident everyone on the team knows their role and what playing for the team represents. 

Speaking to Sky Sports, she said: “We’ve got clear playing principles and they’re worked on all of the time. We train everyone in position all of the time, so whatever they’re doing they’re always training as themselves, in and out of possession.” 

The teams last met in January at the Emirates, with a late Sam Kerr goal rescuing a point for Chelsea in a 1-1 draw. 

Leicester City v West Ham United – King Power Stadium (3pm)  

Where to watch – The FA Player 

 The Hammers have not won a game in the WSL since December and although they are safe from relegation, their run of bad form is a concern for the future. 

After a midweek defeat to Chelsea, their tenth in succession, captain Dagny Brynjarsdóttir says the team are fully focused on making the end of the season a strong one. 

Speaking to www.whufc.com, she said: “We just need to believe in ourselves, we need to be confident and we need to stick together. As a team, we are good so we need to now try to get that win together. We have two games left this season and those two games represent two opportunities to get that win.” 

Leicester City Captain Aileen Whelan knows there is lots of work to do if the side is to turn around the team’s recent disappointing performances.  

Speaking to www.lcfc.com, she said: “We know we can stay in this league; we’ve shown against Liverpool and Brighton that we can do it. We’re not downhearted by performances and results. We always keep the belief. It’s just about sticking to game plans and performing individually but also as a group.” 

In their last meeting back in November, West Ham were 1-0 winners at the Chigwell Construction Stadium with a goal from Izzy Atkinson in the last few minutes of the game. 

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk