FA Women’s Super League Round-Up…

Brian Jeeves

By Danielle Ward

Chelsea remains at the top of the FAWSL table, with Manchester United in second place, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference.

Arsenal 1-0 Everton 

It was a bitterly cold afternoon for the 3,935 fans at Meadow Park as Arsenal looked to put their defeat to Manchester United behind them.

Arsenal dominated possession throughout the game and as the first half progressed, had the bulk of the chances, with a few good runs from Everton making sure The Gunners did not lose focus on the task at hand.

In the 24th minute, Arsenal opened the scoring with a technical strike from inside the box by no.11 Vivienne Miedema. 

It was a welcome return to the starting line-up for the Dutch international who has struggled to find form after a difficult Euros campaign where she suffered badly from the effects of Covid. 

Everton keeper Emily Ramsey played a huge role in keeping her team in the game, denying Miedema another shot in the 32nd minute and a long-range strike from Fríða Maanum in the 34th.

The half ended with Jen Beattie coming close with a volley from inside the box and a close-range hit from Stína Blackstenius just couldn’t get the ball over the line after a penalty box scramble.

Everton’s best chance of the first half came when Katja Snoeijs shot sailed over the bar just before the break.

As the next 45 began and Arsenal chased their elusive second goal. Miedema was integral to many of the further chances throughout the game. A free kick by Maanum and Wienroither’s half-volley just lacked the clinical edge to hit the back of the net.

Another six-yard box scramble in the 55th minute, with keeper Emily Ramsey saving, not one but two close-range shots from Miedema, had the team wondering how it did not end in a goal. 

The last twenty minutes saw further attempts from McCabe, Beattie, Wubben Moy, Foord and Nobbs go begging as the clinical finish continued to elude The Gunners to put the game to bed.

It was a nervy extended injury time for Arsenal as Everton continued to push hard for their equaliser with a number of promising attempts, including a strike from Lucy Graham as well as Nicoline Sorensen. It was the forward’s first appearance in fourteen months, having been out with an ACL injury since September 2021.

Although Arsenal were in control for most of the game, Jess Park was at the heart of Everton’s chances. The Manchester City loanee recently scored in her England debut, finding the back of the net within seconds of her substitute appearance in a friendly with Japan.

Speaking to www.evertonfc.com, Everton manager Brian Sorensen said: “Overall, first half, we are happy with large parts of it, second half we become a bit too passive maybe in the beginning, but at the end, we pushed forward and had the chances to equalise. I think at the end we really tried to go for it. The girls did excellent.”

Gunners manager Jonas Eidevall was pleased with his team’s performance overall but is aware of how many opportunities were missed to add to the tally of goals which may prove a deciding factor in who tops the table this season.

Speaking to www.arsenal.com, he said: “I was happy with the performance but disappointed that we couldn’t be more efficient and score the second goal. The last five minutes made me a little bit nervous, but we managed to defend well enough.”

The game also saw the return of Leah Williamson who has been out with an ankle injury since October. She was subbed on in the 68th minute to massive cheers from the home crowd. It also marked her 200th appearance for the club. 

Speaking to www.arsenal.com about her return to the pitch and reaching the milestone, she said: “I’ve been excited this past week. I’ve been excited because when you get a date in your head, you want to make it. I’m glad that box is ticked now and obviously 200 appearances – I’m very proud of that.”

Next up for the teams, Arsenal travel to Aston Villa and Everton faces Brighton and Hove Albion.

Leicester City 0-8 Chelsea

Leicester City remains at the bottom of the table after league leaders Chelsea showed no mercy over the ninety minutes.

To add to their regelation zone woes, Leicester City were without a number of key players. Both Abbie McManus and Shannon O’Brien were out with concussions, and Ashleigh Plumptre is out until January with a hamstring injury.

Chelsea were five goals up at the break, having taken the lead in the fourth minute.

But The Foxes showed little sign of matching Chelsea’s dominance and pace. Inevitably, the second half brought three more on the score sheet for Chelsea.

Goals throughout the match for the Blues came from Guro Reiten, Niamh Charles, Sam Kerr, Beth England and a brace for both Jessie Fleming and Fran Kirby.

Speaking to LCFC TV following the result, manager Willie Kirk said: “It’s hard to assess a score line like that. There were elements we were happy with, but there were small parts, that if done better, could’ve had a huge impact on the game. Regardless of what happens next week, we’re still confident that we’re capable enough of doing what needs to be done this year to survive.”

As expected, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes had nothing but praise for her team’s performance.

Speaking to www.chelseafc.com, she said: “I’m just happy to see us working on the things we work on in training. The most important thing for me is that we take that work into here and that everyone across the squad can play the roles we ask them and execute at the level we do. I really like that for ninety minutes we sustained a performance today.”

Next weekend Chelsea hosts Reading and Leicester City travel to face Liverpool.

 Reading 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur

It was an important win for Reading as it took them seven points clear of the relegation zone where they had been dangerously sitting since the start of the season.

An early own goal from Tottenham’s Amy Turner put Reading in the lead. The goal came after a mix-up with keeper Becky Spencer after a long-range shot from Tia Primmer was tipped onto the crossbar and a misplaced clearance saw the ball hit the back of the net.

Reading controlled the rest of the first half and came close to a second before the break.

Tottenham started the second half much brighter but shots from Spence, Zadorsky and Karczewska couldn’t find the finish for an equaliser. It was a disappointing performance for Rehanne Skinner’s team.

Speaking after the match to www.tottenhamhotspur.com, she said “I think that the better team won and sometimes you just have to be able to take that. It’s not good enough from our perspective. We’ve got to get ready for next weekend for a similar sort of game.”

After an outbreak of flu in the squad meant they were missing a number of players, Reading manager Kelly Chambers was pleased to get such an important win and is hoping it’s the start of better results for the team.

Speaking to www.readingfc.co.uk after the match she said: “I thought the girls were fantastic from start to finish, and over the ninety minutes we absolutely deserved to win. I’m just proud of every single one of them today, all of them put in such a shift. The amount of belief the girls would have got from today will be magnificent, so for us, we now have to continue this level of performance.” 

Next up, Tottenham Hotspur host West Ham and Reading travel to face league leaders Chelsea.

Liverpool 2-0 West Ham United

West Ham faced defeat at Prenton Park with Liverpool notching up their 1st win since their opening game defeat of Chelsea.

Liverpool were dominant in the first half with Ceri Holland’s third-minute strike putting them in the lead. 

The follow-up would come in the 20th minute with a low strike from Katie Stengel hitting the back of the net.

West Ham’s number one, Mackenzie Arnold was tested further with strikes by Holland, Stengel and Daniels keeping the defence on high alert.

The Hammers were livelier in the second half but struggled to really trouble the home team’s keeper.

Lisa Evans and Dagný Brynjarsdóttir had West Ham’s only real chances late on, but couldn’t capitalise to get their team back in the game.

Liverpool manager Matt Beard was delighted for his team to take home the three points.

Speaking to www.liverpoolfc.com after the match he said: “I felt we were worthy of that lead and we could have had more. Really pleased with the performance. From start to finish, the way we managed the game at the end, West Ham are a tough team to play against and I felt we dealt with everything they threw at us.”

Attention for the teams now turns to next weekend. West Ham head to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool host Leicester City.

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk