Manchester City retain their spot at the top of the table after this week’s matches, with Chelsea stepping up to second and Tottenham in third. The teams now head into the international break, where the Lionesses are competing for a place for Team GB in the Olympics in Paris next year…
Aston Villa 2-4 Tottenham Hotspur
It was a fourth successive defeat for Aston Villa as their early lead fell apart.
After being tipped for a top-four finish, the West Midlanders now languish near the bottom of the table.
Villa was ahead within five minutes with a penalty scored by Rachel Daly after Adriana Leon was brought down in the box by Eveliina Summanen and looked to be boosted by the early lead.
There were further chances from summer signing Ebony Salmon, Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Parker but by the half-hour mark were able to equaliser and the game fell from Villa’s grasp.
Martha Thomas capitalised on a loose back pass from Rachel Corsie and was able to lob keeper Daphne Van Domselaar from thirty yards out to open her account for the game.
Spurs were on a run from then on, with Jessica Naz setting up Ashleigh Neville for a looping header to put her team ahead just before the break.
It was seemingly all Tottenham from the start of the second half, with Olga Ahtinen, Grace Clinton and Drew Spence further testing Villa’s keeper between the sticks.
Villa were only able to create a few chances, coming closest when Adriana Leon forced a saved by keeper Becky Spencer.
But Martha Thomas bagged her second and Spurs’ third in the sixty-fourth minute, with Grace Clinton setting Thomas for a strike from twelve yards out.
Thomas then sealed the win and bagged her first hat trick for the team. Set up by Olga Ahtinen, and a run on from defenders, picked her move and sent curler from twenty-two yards past Van Domselaar and into the corner.
The onslaught kept coming as Thomas looked for her fourth and chances from Summanen, Spence and Zhang could have easily put Spurs even further out of the reach of the home side.
Villa were able to claw back one consolation goal to make the result slightly more respectful when Lucy Parker was able to grab a header from one of the final corners of the game in injury time.
Manchester United loanee Martha Thomas is now the WSL top scorer after her impressive hat trick to seal the win for The Lilywhites.
Tottenham manager, Robert Vilahamn was over the moon with the performance, especially from Thomas.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport, he said: “If you give a good player the trust to play and self-confidence, you can see what she’s really made of. Those national team players who are on the bench in the biggest clubs, sometimes you can find that in them if you give them the trust.”
Villans manager, Carla Ward took full responsibility for the continuing run of poor form.
Speaking to Aston Villa Women’s social media, she said: “It’s unacceptable and that’s down to me. It was a performance that was nowhere near what you’d expect from an Aston Villa team and it’s on me to try and work that one out.”
Next up for the teams, Aston Villa have another tough test hosting Chelsea, while Tottenham Hotspur entertain Everton.
Chelsea 4-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the season as they came from behind to beat Brighton & Hove Albion at Kingsmeadow.
It was a surprise start to the game when Brighton’s Pauline Bremer put The Seagulls ahead in the space of ten minutes. Pauline Bremer came close to making it two, but Ann Katrin Berger was on hand to make the stop.
But the Blues were quick to turn up the heat and responded with a flurry of chances, asserting their dominance in the first half.
Their patience paid off just before the break, with summer signing Sjoeke Nusken scoring the equaliser and her first goal for her new club.
The second half belonged to Chelsea, with Sjoeke Nusken notching her second early after the break.
An own goal from Guro Bergsvand made it three for the home side, and Aggie Beever-Jones added a fourth with a close-range effort, shortly after arriving as a substitute. Sjoeke Nusken provided the assist for the goal, with the German truly making the game her own.
The Seagulls were able to claw back a goal in the ninetieth minute when Elisabeth Terland scored her fourth goal of the season.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes was happy to get the three points but was keen to stress there is still lots of work on as the season progresses.
Speaking to www.chelseafc.com, she said: “I think we’ve got work to do around transition pieces and the team know that. We want to score more goals but we mustn’t leave ourselves short in certain areas. Everybody will build on the good things.”
Seagulls’ manager Melissa Phillips was pragmatic in her view of her team’s defeat.
Speaking to www.brightonandhovealbion.com, she said: “We were very competitive in the first half, won the ball back in good areas, asked a couple of questions and to concede a mere ten seconds before the break is really difficult going into half time. You know when you score quite an early goal away to Chelsea you know you are going to face a wave of attacks on our goal. We did defend very resolutely.”
In match week five, Chelsea travel to Aston Villa and Brighton host Manchester United.
West Ham United 1-1 Liverpool
West Ham fought hard to salvage a point in their match with Liverpool.
The Hammers had an early chance from Viviane Asseyi but the visitors were dominant throughout the first half, with Ceri Holland coming close to breaking the deadlock late in the first half, with the woodwork preventing the conversion.
There were further chances from Sophie Roman Haug, a header from a corner landing wide to deny Liverpool their opening goal. Fuka Nagano and Emma Koivisto also tried their luck but nothing was quite hitting the spot for the Reds.
Early in the second half, the woodwork was again called into play as a header from Gemma Bonner could have given Liverpool their first goal.
The deadlock was broken in the fifty-second minute with Marie Hobinger coolly slotting home her goal into the bottom right corner from just outside the box.
West Ham continued to fight on throughout the game but seemingly saved the best attacks until last, with substitute Izzy Atkinson bringing real energy to the game.
They were rewarded with their equaliser deep into injury time with Riko Ueki picking up her second goal for the club. The scramble in the box, created by a cross from Melisa Filis allowed Ueki to poke home the ball to rescue a point for The Irons.
Hammers manager, Rehanne Skinner believes the team are building slowly but surely and making progress in getting points on the board.
Speaking to West Ham TV, she said: “It’s been a lot of change and there’s a lot of changes in the way that we’re trying to play, operate and generally do things. Consistency is the key in the next block of games, the way we start games, the way we finish games. There’s still parts that we’re not quite there with, but we’re certainly working towards that.“
Liverpool manager, Matt Beard was pleased with the performance, despite the disappointing last-minute equaliser.
Speaking to www.liverpoolfc.com, he said: “Obviously it’s desperately disappointing to concede in the 95th minute. But credit to West Ham, obviously they kept going, it was a great ball from [Mel] Filis at the end. Overall, we’ve performed really, really well and on another day we could have had another two or three, but it wasn’t to be.”
Next up, West Ham hosts Bristol City and Liverpool entertain Leicester City
Bristol City 1-2 Arsenal
In front of a record Ashton Gate crowd of over 12,000, Bristol City put in a solid performance against Arsenal but it wasn’t quite enough to break their run of defeats, with Arsenal picking up their first away win of the season.
Arsenal were strong in the opening of the game and it looked like it could be a repeat of Bristol City’s 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City last weekend, with The Gunners dominant all over the pitch.
A powerful strike from range by Katie McCabe put Arsenal ahead in the seventh minute and it was all smiles from the Republic of Ireland International.
However, just nine minutes later and against the run of play, Rachel Furness headed in an equaliser for Bristol City in what ended up being their only shot on target for the whole game.
The wind was somewhat knocked out of the visitors’ sails and although they remained in control all over the pitch, they were not able to match their early intensity.
There was a penalty shout just before the break when Lia Wälti was brought down in the box during a corner, but referee Adewunmi Soneye would not be swayed.
The second half brought more of the defensive block The Robins had played with in the first half, with Arsenal constantly knocking on the door for that elusive second goal. Shots from Victoria Pelova and Katie McCabe were kept out by defence and The Gunners had to keep their patience intact.
It was once again McCabe who made the difference, putting her team ahead on the hour mark, with a powerful but deflected shot finding its way past The Robin’s keeper Olivia Clark.
Bristol City began to fade as the time ticked on but were somehow able to keep The Gunners at bay until the final whistle.
There were added positives for Arsenal as Beth Mead, who played her first minutes for the team last weekend after being out since November 2022 with an ACL injury, returned again from the bench, making an instant impact in both shots and play-making.
This was followed up in the final minutes by the return of Vivianne Miedema, who also returns from 11 months out with an ACL injury. With a less than convincing start to the season, the return of two key players like Mead and Miedema may be the shake-up the team need to reassess their approach to the rest of the season.
As well her match-winning goals, Katie McCabe picked up the player of the match for her performance. She acknowledged the tough opposition from The Robins and how Arsenal are working to improve their results.
Speaking to Sky Sports, she said: “It’s a real credit to Bristol, the defensive discipline they showed tonight was really frustrating at times for us, they were really compact and defended the box really well. We know we’re a good footballing team but we need to be in the right positions to show that and I think we looked good at times. I think the second half was much more positive from that point of view. Luckily for us obviously the goals came in the end.”
Bristol City manager, Lauren Smith saw lots of positives in her team’s performance and how they frustrated Arsenal and prevented a higher scoreline.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, she said: “We’ve been quite hard to get through and beat today. Unfortunately, it’s come down to two second phases of corners, so that’s the bit that’s hard to take. But I’m really pleased with how they’ve defended, the character they’ve shown so there’s loads to take into the next games.”
Next up for the teams, Arsenal host Manchester City and Bristol City travel to face West Ham.