FA Women’s Super League – Preview…

Chelsea and Manchester City are still level on points, with Chelsea pipping City to the top spot due to goal difference. Arsenal sit six points behind in third and Manchester United is a further nine points behind them in fourth. The Gunners look to have all but secured the last Champions League spot as the season comes to a close.

Due to their Champions League semi-final away leg this weekend, Chelsea played their WSL game against Aston Villa mid-week. Since they played their last WSL match on March 24, they have seen both their quadruple and triple hopes fade away. Having lost the Continental Tyres League Cup Final to Arsenal, and missed out on a spot in the FA Cup final thanks to their first-ever defeat at the hands of Manchester United last weekend, the Champions League and the WSL title are all that are at stake in Emma Hayes final season with Chelsea.

Their win over Aston Villa on Wednesday night secured another three points in their pursuit of that WSL title and a return to form after their two disappointing defeats.

Speaking to Sky Sports, manager Emma Hayes said after the match “We have to just focus on what we can control. We’ve got three points and we broke a losing streak, that’s important.”

Any hopes Villa had of taking advantage of a wounded Chelsea were dashed they were down to ten when keeper Anna Leat was sent off for handling the ball outside the area in the 4th minute. They also had to contend with the late omission of Danielle Turner due to illness and a very thin bench. They eventually conceded 3 goals without reply at the final whistle.

Speaking to Sky Sports manager Carla Ward said: “So much has been chucked at us, but we’ve got on with it and dug deep. There’ll be some tired bodies but they’re a credit to themselves with how they’ve reacted.”

The remaining WSL fixtures for our London teams shape up as follows:

Sunday, April 21

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Leigh Sports Village (Noon) 

Where to watch – The FA Player

Both teams will be full of confidence having won their respective FA Cup semi-finals to set up a tie at Wembley. This WSL fixture will serve as a dress rehearsal for the final as it will be these two teams that meet at Wembley Stadium. Tottenham came from behind to beat Leicester City, and Manchester United beat Chelsea for the first time in their history to spoil The Blues hopes at the treble this year.

After a disappointing run in the league, Marc Skinner’s side now has a chance at silverware and some confidence to be able to finish as strong as possible in the league.

Speaking to manutd.com after their FA Cup semi-final win he said: “For me, it’s about the players being good and the players are ready and the fans go home happy. It feels good for a longer period than just that one.”

The Lilywhites had a turbulent last season with relegation a serious worry before Bethany England arrived from Chelsea and helped keep Spurs in a healthy spot in the table. If they can continue to bank their performances to see the season out, it will be a massive boost.

New manager Robert Vilahamn has been able to build a strong ethos at the club, with some impressive results, including their first-ever win over their North London rivals Arsenal. Coming from behind to secure their first-ever FA Cup final has cemented his place at the club and amongst the fans.

Speaking to BBC Sport after their semi-final win, he said: “We are building something unique with this fanbase and you can tell they are buying into it and they love it. They give us the energy and when you hear them, you feel goosebumps all over your body. It’s amazing.”

The teams last met back in December, with Manchester United taking the three points with a 4-0 win. Goals for United came from Hannah Blundell, Ella Toone, Melvine Malard and Hayley Ladd

Arsenal v Leicester City – The Emirates Stadium (2pm) 

Where to watch – The FA Player

With the Continental Tyres League Cup under their belt for the second year in a row, again beating WSL title holders Chelsea, Arsenal are still chasing as many points as possible to not get the teams above them too comfortable.

The Gunners played Bristol City midweek, catching up on their game that was postponed from having made the Continental Tyres League Cup Final. Struggling Bristol City did not put up much of a fight, with the score reaching 5-0 by the final whistle. 

The game saw the return to the pitch for Laura Weinroither, her first for nearly a year after an ACL injury, and a senior debut for Katie Reid, a promising 17-year-old from the Arsenal academy.

Beth Mead bagged a brace in the match against Bristol City and knows the game at the Emirates against Leicester City will be important after their shaky start against them in the away fixture.

Speaking to arsenal.com she said “I think we’ve got to start on the ground running. We’ve got the fans coming to the Emirates and they’re always great, so we’ve got to put on a good performance for them.”

The Foxes were unlucky in their FA Cup tie against Tottenham, but their fight in their first-ever semi-final showed they have what it takes to put in the big performances. They will be taking that passion into the clash at the Emirates.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the FA Cup defeat, interim boss Jennifer Foster said: “It’s immensely disappointing, especially when it goes right down to the wire. This will hurt and it will probably hurt for a little while, Everyone always looks at us as ‘little Leicester’ – but we’re not little Leicester. We’re putting ourselves on the map.”

Last time out, after conceding two in the first half, Arsenal were the eventual winners with a big comeback in the second half and ending the game 6-2.

Manchester City v West Ham United – Joie Stadium (2:15pm) 

Where to watch – BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Website

Manchester City continue their strong season and continues to chase to close the goal difference gap on Chelsea, in the hopes of further disrupting Emma Hayes’ last season at The Blues.

For manager Gareth Taylor, it’s about concentrating on what makes his team tick and putting in the performances on the pitch to get the results.

Speaking to www.mancity.com, he said: “The biggest thing is us being ourselves giving a good representation of what we do. We’re privileged to have that ethos and we need to enjoy it as much as we can.”

It was a hard-fought point last time out in the WSL for West Ham. A goalless draw with Brighton was a valuable point for The Hammers, but manager Rehanne Skinner will be hoping to take that grit and determination in their travels and make life difficult for City.

The Hammers defender, Shelina Zadorsky was positive about the result and how they can build on the clean sheet in the upcoming games.

Speaking to www.whufc.com, she said: “I’m really proud of the performance. It was back and forth, but we stayed focused, defended well and created chances too. We want to put our opportunities away of course, and we need more goals from all areas of the pitch. But we have players who can do that, we just need to stay focused and I’m sure the goals will arrive.”

In their last meeting back in October, Manchester City ran out 2-0 winners over The Hammers, with goals from Lauren Hemp and Jill Roord.