FA Women’s Super League Round-Up…

Chelsea remain at the top of the table, still level on points with Manchester City but ahead on goal difference. Arsenal are third, with their title hopes all but over, and Manchester United are six points behind them in fourth…

Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal 

A win Friday night under the lights at Stamford Bridge was likely Arsenal’s last chance to keep in the race for the title. With a kit mix-up for Arsenal leading to a thirty-minute delay to kick off, and The Gunners ended up wearing Chelsea socks with the logo taped over, things went from bad to worse as the game began.

Chelsea were the strongest to start and within 15 minutes were on the score sheet. 

Arsenal keeper Manu Zinsberger did get her gloves to Lauren James’ effort, but it sent the ball in the air, with it ending up in the back of the net as both Arsenal’s Lotte Wubben Moy and Leah Williamson rushed to try and prevent it.

Arsenal struggled to get any foothold in the game and were able to do little to disrupt Chelsea’s momentum.

Just six minutes later, the home side were able to double their lead, when Sjoeke Nusken redirected Erin Cuthbert’s effort past Zinsberger, catching both the keeper and defence out with the change of direction.

Arsenal continued to look out of sorts and seemed unable to put together any real attack to trouble the Chelsea keeper Hannah Hampton when they were able to get forward on goal.

Another ten minutes later, and Chelsea made it three when a shot from Johanna Rytting Kaneryd bounced off an unaware Sjoeke Nusken, and into the corner of the net, again catching out both the keeper and the defence with the deflection.

As the minutes ticked on, half-time could not have come soon enough for the visitors.

As the second half began, the away fans may have hoped the half-time team talk could have turned the game around, but there was little to be shown for the regrouping and the substitutions made by manager Jonas Eidevall.

With the continued press by Chelsea, they may well have ended up with a far more embarrassing score line, if not for keeper Manu Zinsberger pulling off a fair number of impressive saves. 

With minutes to go until the final whistle, Kim Little was able to salvage something for The Gunners, when her shot ended up in the back of the net, via a deflection from Catarina Macario. However, it did little to spare the blushes of the visitors’ performance.

Arsenal continued to look for their goals until the final whistle, but it was over and out with nothing to show for their efforts.

After a poor performance in the reverse fixture at The Emirates, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes was full of praise for her team on such a big occasion.

Speaking to www.chelseafc.com, she said: “Everybody says Chelsea don’t want to play big teams here but that is not the case. I love Kingsmeadow but I’ve always wanted to pack Stamford Bridge. Tonight felt like a home advantage for us so that’s why it should be a celebration for all the people off the pitch who have worked to fill the stands because it really made a difference for the team.”

The Gunners manager Jonas Eidevall admitted it was a substandard result and they must now focus on the next game and fixing the mistakes made.

Speaking to www.arsenal.com, he said: “It’s a poor performance from us, we didn’t reach our standards. We have to learn, we have to look forward, onward and upwards but we also need to look inside and see ‘why don’t we perform better today?’ We need to learn from that and we need to rectify that next weekend.”

Next up for the teams, Chelsea travel to face Ajax midweek in the Champions League, then head to West Ham in the WSL and Arsenal travel to Aston Villa.

Liverpool 3-1 West Ham United

Liverpool’s hopes of breaking into the top four of the table were boosted after their dominant win over West Ham on Sunday.

It took a battle for most of the first half to break the deadlock, and it was Liverpool who took the chance.

Leanne Kiernan poked the ball into the back of the net just before the break, though it was not without its controversy. West Ham believed there had been a foul in the buildup play, but the referee allowed the goal to stand.

They did have a chance to level before half-time, but Liverpool keeper Rachael Laws was able to save Riko Ueki’s shot, and the follow-up by Viviane Asseyi went wide.

Just five minutes into the second half, Liverpool had doubled their lead. A cross from Ceri Holland found Missy Bo Kearns in the box and she headed it home for the goal.

West Ham continued to battle on but conceded again with twenty minutes to go. A volley from Sophie Roman Haug for Liverpool their third as West Ham lost their grip on the game.

It was Viviane Asseyi for The Hammers who had the best chance to get them onto the score sheet, but her shot went over the bar.

Three minutes from regular time, the visitors were able to get a goal for their trouble, when Riko Ueki’s shot found the back of the net.

Having exited the FA Cup, the win against West Ham was an important one for Matt Beard, and a further chance at chasing Manchester United in fourth place or even Arsenal in third.

Speaking to www.liverpoolfc.com, he said: “I think what we’ve done already is a huge achievement. We’re just enjoying the moment. Arsenal obviously getting beat the other night means we’re three points closer to them. We have aspirations to finish as high up this league as we can. It’d be great to finish fourth but it’d be even better if we finished third. We’ll just keep trying to pick up as many points as we can. We’re in a good position at the moment but we’ve just got to keep picking points up.”

After the disappointing defeat, Hammers manager Rehanne Skinner says it’s important for the team to move on from the loss and focus on the next game.

Speaking to www.whufc.com, she said: “It’s important that we pick ourselves up and work really hard moving forwards into next week’s game. The team are determined, we’re working hard every day and we’ll go into the game and do everything we can to get points.”

Looking ahead, Liverpool travel to Walton Hall Park to face Everton and West Ham host Chelsea.

 

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Leicester City 

With both sides coming into the game with a confidence boost, both having reached their first-ever FA Cup semi-final, it was The Lilywhites who were able to continue their winning form at Brisbane Road.

Leicester City were again without manager Willie Kirk on the touchline while he assists with enquiries at the club, with Assistant Manager Jennifer Foster taking the lead.

The home side came straight out of the gates and were ahead within two minutes of the whistle.

It was Matilda Vinberg who opened the scoring when she met a delivery from Jessica Naz at the back post to make it 1-0.

Drew Spence was unlucky not to double their lead shortly after when her long-range effort hit the crossbar.

Leicester City responded well to the threat, with the Spurs keeper Rebecca Spencer having to make several saves as a result.

She denied both Lena Petermann and Aileen Whelan, and her quick reactions were key to preventing Yuka Momiki’s effort from hitting the target.

The tight battle continued into the second half, with Leicester City’s best chance for an equaliser coming from Jutta Rantala, who saw her shot rattle the inside of the near post.

There was not much to call between the teams, but Tottenham were able to hold their nerve and see out the win until the final whistle.

With the same fixture being played as the FA Cup semifinal, it was a tantalising preview of what lies in store for that game next month.

The Lilywhites manager Robert Vilahamn was pleased to secure another three points on the board to keep their position strong as they head into the final games of the season.

Speaking to www.tottenhamhotspur.com, he said: “It’s an important win and, if you look at the table, those are some very important points. We made the right choices, we win the game and we can take a lot of self-confidence from this.”

The Foxes Assistant Manager Jennifer Foster was disappointed in the result and felt that the team had paid the price for having started the game so poorly.

Speaking to Leicester City Women’s social media she said “I didn’t think we were at our best today in the areas that we normally are. I thought some of our basics weren’t up to scratch. It was disappointing to concede the early goal, we had the chances later on, but unfortunately, we just couldn’t take them”

Next up, Tottenham heads to Aston Gate to play Bristol City and Leicester City hosts Brighton & Hove Albion.