Tag Archives: Chelsea

Chelsea vs Manchester City – Women’s FA Cup Final Preview

One thing we have come to expect from both Chelsea and Manchester City is trophies.

Funnily enough, the two sides met in their first final against each other earlier this year – having met in eight semi-finals in the past seven years alone.

The last five FA Cups have been won by either Manchester City or Chelsea, and this is something that the most successful club Arsenal will be trying to change next season.



Both sides are seen as favourites whenever they get to domestic finals, but we know that this time there can only be one winner. When the two sides met in the Continental Cup Final in February, it was City that were victorious – coming from behind to win 3-1.

When Chelsea manager Emma Hayes spoke about what would be different between that final and this weekends final, she mentioned that it was a depleted squad that competed for that last cup, and with this one, she thinks they’ll be more like their true selves, both in terms of squad availability, but also just mindset and mentality.

City arguably have had one of the biggest injury crises we have seen in the WSL for some time – going as far as having to use their third-choice keeper as well as playing wingers at full-back and midfielders at centre-back.

Luckily for them, City have been able to bring most of their players back from injury over the past few months and will be at full strength essentially for the final.

The strength of both squads is what makes this battle between two great clubs even more interesting and harder to predict.

Both teams seem to have adopted a winning culture, and anything less than that appears to be a disappointment for both players and managers. And having met as many times as they have in the latter stages of competitions, it doesn’t seem that it’s necessarily about surprises on the day – the key here will be execution.

Both sides have huge game changers, which is what makes them such competitive teams at the highest levels.

With City, it’s their wide threat through wingers Lauren Hemp and the newly fit Chloe Kelly.

Prior to her ACL injury last season, Kelly was probably the most in-form winger in the league. She’s someone that has beens able to provide important goals and assists, as well as causing defenders problems with her dribbling and speed.

They’re also able to suffocate opponents offensively because their full-backs, particularly Lucy Bronze, are able to get involved offensively too.

To add to this, City have goal scoring midfielders such as Caroline Weir and Georgia Stanway makes them even more of a threat because for opposition teams, there’s very few players in the City team that you can afford space to because they can hurt you both in the centre of the pitch and in the final third.

For Chelsea, their game changing aspect seems to be more varied. Their strength comes in the depth they have in the midfield and their versatility within middle of the pitch.

Hayes. who has often times this season changed formation during the game, knows that she can rely on experienced midfielder Guro Reiten – who has been in fine form in this second half of the season.

She’s contributing to goals weekly whether that be through goals or assists, but also she understands Hayes’ system so well that when tactical tweaks have to happen, she slots in seamlessly.

Erin Cuthbert is the same. The Scottish midfielder has been deployed in numerous positions for this Chelsea side and still churns out very high levels of performance.

The tenacity that can be found in this Blues midfield is what separates them from most clubs in the country.

When it comes to winning second balls, defending the first phase of set-pieces and crosses, Cuthbert always seems alert. This is something that is of extreme value especially in the games that are closely contested.

I don’t think much more has to be said on Sam Kerr’s big game record either – both for club and for country.

She constantly scores important goals when it’s needed on the big occasion and it won’t be a surprise to see her do the same this Sunday. Kerr seems to just have a knack for knowing both where to be but more importantly how to put the ball in the back of the net.

What do we know? That it will be an immense showcase of the talent that available in the WSL. Whether that will be from Chelsea retaining their title, or from City once again showing that they’re an extremely difficult team to beat in the FA Cup.

Chelsea vs Lille – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In an intriguing tie we’ll see the current holders Chelsea take on French league champions Lille in a tie that would be expected to go one way but could well go the other.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Last season’s winner and the current World champions Chelsea had a pretty good group stage, but defeat on the final day to Juventus cost them the top spot.

Tuchel’s side claimed four wins and a draw from their first five games, including a memorable 4-0 win against the Serie A giants with an excellent record of just four goals conceded.

Lille on the other hand claimed top spot in arguably the weakest group of the first round, pipping RB Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg to the berth.

Jocelyn Gourvennec led his side to three wins and two draws including wins away to Sevilla and Wolfsburg to claim their path into the last 16, also conceding just four goals throughout the group stage.

In comparison though, Lille only managed seven goals across their six games while Chelsea scored more than double that with 13.

Team news

Chelsea are still struggling with some injury problems, with wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell not yet fit. Mason Mount won’t be fit for the first leg but Cesar Azpilicueta could return to the team after missing the weekend win over Crystal Palace.

Romelu Lukaku’s form is in the gutter, but Tuchel is likely to stick with the Belgian in the hope that he can play through it and find a goalscoring streak ahead of the weekend’s Carabao Cup final.

Lille are at almost full strength for the tie, with the only absentee expected to be former Manchester United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes.

The youngster was forced off injury in their latest Ligue 1 game and is now expected to miss the game, while Orestis Karnezis will miss the game.

All of Andre, Renato Sanches and Xeka are competing to start in midfield, with the former two likely to get the nod.

Breakdown and Prediction

Chelsea have moved away from their 343 formation since their wing-backs suffered with injuries, and Tuchel has since gone with a 433 formation to get back to winning ways.

They still look to keep the ball for the vast majority of the game and attack down the wings but without Mount they’ve lacked that attacking mind in midfield recently.

I expect Tuchel to move back to his 343 for this game if Azpilicueta and/or Callum Hudson-Odoi are fit again, playing as the right wing-back with Marcos Alonso reinstalled at left wing-back after his assist at the weekend.

Lille will try to soak up the pressure with their usual 442 system and try to counter with the pace of Jonathan David in attack.

Realistically they will struggle to make that effective, because it’s exactly what Chelsea are set up to play against. Lille have been okay defensively this season, but they’ve struggled to find the back of the net and have a negative goal difference in their domestic league.

Ultimately, this is Chelsea’s tie to lose. They have the better coach, better squad and if they’re on song then they should be able to win this tie relatively comfortably.

Chelsea 2-0 Lille
Lillle 0-1 Chelsea
(Chelsea to qualify 3-0 on aggregate)

Chelsea get the better of Manchester United – Third Consecutive Continental Cup still on

On Wednesday night we were treated to one of many in the list of exciting fixtures coming up for all fans of Women’s Football.

The semi-final of the Women’s Continental Cup and the first match up between Chelsea and Manchester United was one that had a lot riding on it for both sides.

Coming into the game United were on a run of seven straight wins and clean sheets in all competitions. Chelsea, having never lost to Manchester United, were attempting to get one step closer to lifting their third consecutive Continental Cup. We knew one of these sides wouldn’t be able to make it to the final and it was Manchester United that once again fell at the hurdle.



When the draw initially came out, United fans worldwide must have been questioning why they’ve had such a torrid time with cup draws.

They met Manchester City in the group stages and after beating them and making it through the group, United were treated to an away tie against Arsenal – a side they had only beaten once in all competitions since the formation of the team in 2018.

Despite this tough quarter-final encounter, the rejuvenated United side took their well-earned confidence and put in a performance that the players and manager Marc Skinner would have been proud of.

They were not only able to play their game against Arsenal, but also able to stifle the chances of the league leaders – limiting Vivienne Miedema’s chances in the box and physically keeping up with the threat of Beth Mead.

This performance was capped off with an Alessia Russo header in the 84th minute and defensive solidarity from the whole team saw them make the semi-final.

For Chelsea, making the semi-final was more of a routine procedure with the Blues having won the trophy in both 2020 and 2021. Their 4-2 win against West Ham saw them make the semi-final again, the only shock to Emma Hayes being who their opponent was.

She made light of the running joke that it’s always a City vs Chelsea semi-final – with the side meeting in eight semi finals over the past seven years alone.

However, it was the other side of Manchester that ended up getting drawn against Chelsea – the one side that United haven’t yet beaten.

The first 20 minutes of the match saw both sides trying to impose themselves. It was clear that United early on were trying not to fall into the traps that they fell into in the league game with playing out from the back.

However, it was once again Pernille Harder who found the goal against United to open the scoring. There had been a few times that she had found joy down the left-hand side, with United willing to concede possession in the middle third.

Harder, after the ball fell into her path, went on mazy run which completely bamboozled the in-form centre-back for Manchester United Aoife Mannion.

She showed total composure to not only take the defender out of the game, but to slot the ball past the United keeper also.

It went from bad to worse for Manchester United after a scramble in the box led to Jessie Fleming making it 2-0 just five minutes later. There were some concerns that United would capitulate from this point onwards – similar to the 6-1 onslaught earlier on in the season.

Though despite being two goals down, one thing that this Manchester United has is heart. That heart and hunger to change a result is something that sets them in good stead for the rest of the season and beyond. They continued to work together and work for one another to carve out an opportunity.

Manager of Chelsea Emma Hayes celebrates after her sides win during the FA Women's Cup Semi-final match between Chelsea and Manchester City at The...

They were rewarded almost immediately for their tenacity, with some great combination play between two United midfielders – Vilde Boa Risa, whose powerful shot overpowered the keeper after a great back-heel set up by Jackie Groenen.

This was the time for United to regroup and ensure that they went into half-time with just a one goal deficit. However, Chelsea soon hit back with a well-timed run from defender Jess Carter. The goal came at the best possible time for Chelsea, who are extremely familiar with holding onto leads and seeing the game out.

United once again tried to impose themselves at the start of the second half but were unable to carve out a clear-cut opportunity. They continued to physically match Chelsea but ultimately the damage was done in the first half, and Chelsea’s quality shone through – specifically Harder.

They have to be commended for how often they make finals, and the ease and comfortability they often do it with. The match once again will act as a learning curve for Manchester United who continue to strive towards being a side who can make finals and be present in the Champions League.

Chelsea will be looking to make this a third consecutive Continental Cup Trophy – and to add more silverware to the ever-growing legacy of Emma Hayes. After countless semi finals together, Chelsea will play Manchester City in the final who saw off Spurs on Thursday. This is the first final between the two of them in eight years and one that they’ll both be keen to win.

Chelsea unlock new attacking level tactical switch in win over Tottenham

Chelsea have one foot in the Carabao Cup final after their 2-0 win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge last night.

Thomas Tuchel’s side took a 2-0 lead into half-time thanks to goals from Kai Havertz and a Japhet Tanganga own goal, as they lined up with a back-four for the first time under the German coach.

Immediately the differences could be seen in their play, and Chelsea fans were delighted with the differences in their performance.



Tuchel opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation early on, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso installed as traditional full-backs rather than wing-backs. In a midfield two was Jorginho and Saul Niguez, with Mason Mount just ahead of them. Havertz and Hakim Ziyech took up the winger positions with Romelu Lukaku up front.

It didn’t take long for Chelsea to implement themselves on the game, pressing high and keeping possession well in the early minutes.

They quickly established a press too that didn’t allow Spurs out of their own half. A box between the two central midfielders and the two centre-backs meant that whenever the ball reached that zone, they would all squeeze and force possession to be given up immediately.

There was also their man-to-man press, which caught Spurs out early as Alonso pinched the ball from Emerson Royal for the opening goal to assist Havertz.

After that goal though, is when we saw the difference in performance between the back three and the back four really come to life.

Chelsea played with a much higher tempo with one, two and three touch passes in midfield to keep the ball ticking over and force Spurs to chase them.

They were patient in their play, but also had far more intensity in their game and far more intent in their attacks than we’ve seen any time recently.

Lukaku just missed with a header after excellent wing play by Ziyech, while Saul and Jorginho completely dominated the midfield areas. By the time the half-time whistle blew, Spurs hadn’t had a single attempt on goal, had just four touches in the Chelsea box and had just 31% possession.

The second half was much less eventful, with the Blues happy to manage the lead with Spurs not carrying a threat but the performance as a whole was a sign of Chelsea’s potential under Tuchel.

The 3-4-3 has gone stale recently and their attacking potential was limited in that shape anyway. They now have proven that they have the capability to play in a more expansive way with a different system if needs be, and that should strike fear into the rest of the Premier League and Europe.

Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea comments not as crazy as fans are claiming

It seems like drama just follows Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku around wherever he goes, but he certainly doesn’t help himself sometimes.

The £97.5m signing from Inter Milan in the summer has scored seven goals so far for his new club this season, after going on a run of ten appearances without a goal before and after injury.

Now he has come out and publicly criticised his manager and new club for their setup, while revealing that he is hopeful of returning to Inter Milan one day to win more trophies with them.



In an interview with Sky Italia, Lukaku was quoted as saying he ‘wasn’t happy’ with Tuchel’s system but said he would ‘continue to be professional’ and give everything for the team.

The comments come at a time where Chelsea are struggling for form in the Premier League, dropping eight points behind Manchester City in the title race and question marks have been raised over the system Tuchel has employed.

The 3-4-3 system has brought great success already, with the Blues winning the Champions League and leading the way for much of this Premier League campaign so far.

But Lukaku has found himself in a target man role for a lot of his time at Stamford Bridge, something that has been made abundantly clear in the past is not his best or favoured role.

So it’s no surprise that Lukaku is unhappy about it, especially cosidering where he’s come from and what he was doing to earn the record breaking move in the first place.

The Belgian is quite clearly at his best when he is facing the goal and running at defenders into space, not with his back to goal,

While it’s more than fair that Lukaku should be able to voice his concerns, he shouldn’t be doing it in a public forum.

It has now been revealed however that this was an interview conducted about three weeks ago, which makes the comments less worrying.

Lukaku revealed after the game against Aston Villa that he and Tuchel had some talks to iron some issues out and that they were sorted now.

Even still though, the timing of the remarks and the way he has gone about it is really poor on his part.

Some Chelsea fans have reacted with anger, but Lukaku has every right to complain if he feels he isn’t being used correctly and can be doing better.

He has always been a player that has adored Chelsea and has always been outspoken. It’s not that deep for him to want to better himself, and therefore the team, but maybe he should think twice about the way he does it in future.

Full redrawn Champions League Last 16 draw – Fixtures and dates

The UEFA Champions League last 16 draw has been re-drawn after a botched attempt on Monday morning, and has thrown up some cracking ties.

At the second attempt of trying, Manchester United were drawn with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid while Real Madrid will take on Paris Saint-Germain in the tie of the round.

Manchester City will face Sporting CP, while Liverpool take on Inter Milan. Chelsea were the winners of the redraw, keeping their original opponents in Ligue 1’s Lille.



The original draw saw Manchester United once again set to face off against Paris Saint-Germain, with Cristiano Ronaldo to go head-to-head with Lionel Messi once again in the tie of the round.

Atletico Madrid were scheduled to take on Bayern Munich in the other mega tie, while the other English sides would have been happy with their draws as Liverpool faced Salzburg, Man City faced Villarreal.

However UEFA accidentally put Manchester United into the pot to be drawn against Villarreal and then they were selected, despite being ineligible to do so having come from the same group.

United then weren’t put into the pot for the potential opponents of Atletico amid the confusion, meaning they could never have been drawn against each other.

The draw will now be re-done at 14:00 UK time after several complaints that the botched draw affected the integrity of the competition going forward.

The fixtures will take place in February, with the first legs taking place on February 15/16 or 22/23 with the second legs taking place on March 8/9 or 15/16. Group winners will play their home game in the second leg.

Full draw and fixture dates:

FC Salzburg vs Bayern Munich – February 16th 2022
Bayern Munich vs FC Salzburg – March 8th 2022

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – February 15th 2022
Manchester City vs Sporting CP – March 9th 2022

SL Benfica vs Ajax – February 23rd 2022
Ajax vs SL Benfica – March 15th 2022

Chelsea vs Lille – February 22nd 2022
Lille vs Chelsea – March 16th 2022

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – February 23rd 2022
Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid – March 15th 2022

Villarreal vs Juventus – February 22nd 2022
Juventus vs Villarreal – March 16th 2022

Inter Milan vs Liverpool – February 16th 2022
Liverpool vs Inter Milan – March 8th 2022

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – February 15th 2022
Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain – March 9th 2022

Lionel Messi wins record seventh Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time in his career, extending his record as the player to win it the most times.

The Argentine captain capped off a wonderful year for himself by pipping Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to the award, making him the first Ligue 1 player to win the honour since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991.

Messi had previously won each of his six awards with FC Barcelona, the club he played his entire career for before a summer move to Paris Saint-Germain.



The award was met with a mixed response from fans, with many believing Bayern Munich and Poland striker Lewandowski deserved the honour.

But in the end, Messi’s victory in the Copa America and Copa Del Rey as well as finishing as the top goalscorer in both tournaments and La Liga was enough to secure him the record breaking achievement.

Lewandowski finished second while Chelsea’s Jorginho rounded off the podium in third, having helped his club win the Champions League and led Italy to winning Euro 2020 in the summer.

Karim Benzema finished fourth, while N’Golo Kante finished fifth. The Premier League continued to dominate the top ten as Cristiano Ronaldo finished sixth, Mohamed Salah finished seventh and Kevin De Bruyne finished eighth, while PSG stars Kylian Mbappe and Gianluigi Donnarumma completed the top ten.

FIFA ensured that Lewandowski didn’t go home empty handed however, as the inaugral “Striker of the Year” award was given to the man who scored 64 goals in 54 games last season en route to yet another Bundesliga title.

Chelsea were crowned the inaugral “Club of the Year” winners, while Pedri was confirmed as the Kopa Trophy winner -given to the best Under-21 player in the world.

Messi’s victory moves him two clear of Ronaldo in the record hunt, as the Portuguese legend finished outside of the top three for the first time since 2010.

Chelsea showing how important Manchester United managerial decision is

Premier League leaders Chelsea play host to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon in the big game of the weekend, with more than just three points on the line.

Both sides picked up wins in midweek in the Champions League, with United earning a 2-0 win over Villarreal thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, while Chelsea smashed Juventus 4-0 at Stamford Bridge with Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner on the scoresheet.

But it’s the managerial position at both clubs that is currently in the headline most, and for very different reasons.



It’s a little under a year since Tuchel arrived at Chelsea following his sacking at Paris Saint-Germain, and the turnaround in the club’s fortunes since have been phenomenal.

They became European champions for a second time with a 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final last season, and currently sit top of the Premier League with a three point lead over City and just four goals conceded in 12 games so far.

Tuchel celebrated his 50th game in charge against Juventus and it brought to light an incredible statistic showing just how good he has made his side in a short space of time.

New manager Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea holds up the home Nike Shirt at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2021 in London, England.

It was his 32nd win as manager, but amazingly it was also the 31st clean sheet he has overseen as boss. In the other 19 games, Chelsea have conceded just 24 goals with five of those coming in that shock defeat to West Brom last season.

He has absolutely maximised the talent in his team and by tweaking his system throughout his time at the club, he has made them look formidable in all aspects of play.

For Manchester United, they need something very similar to happen for them. After sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday, they find themselves in a position where the season could still be saved if the right man could be brought in.

Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the role on a full-time basis, but it seems highly unlikely that he would join before the summer. This has led to the club appointing Ralf Rangnick as their interim coach until the end of the season, before moving into a consultancy role afterwards.

Players of Manchester United celebrate after a goal during UEFA Champions League Group F match between Villarreal and Manchester United at Estadio de...

There were countless names linked to the job, but Rangnick can be seen as the man with a plan so to speak.

He will have the right ideas, right mentality and right character to try and save the season for the club while also laying the foundations for whoever it is the club are planning to bring in on a full-time basis. He just needs to execute now.

The results of what could happen if they get the next decision right will be staring them right in the face on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Women’s Football Weekend: Ones to watch

With Women’s Football Weekend fast approaching, it wouldn’t be fair to not dissect the players that you should you keep your eyes absolutely peeled to.

Due to injury we don’t have the full radar of the leagues talent on show, but there’s still so many showstoppers that you should be on the lookout for.

In order to not overwhelm you, I’ll keep the list brief – but you definitely don’t want to miss these players during this upcoming game week.



Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)
Position: Winger

It wouldn’t be right to do a ‘ones to watch’ list without the talent that is Lauren Hemp.

Outside of her Manchester City and England teammate Chloe Kelly (who is still recovering from her ACL injury), she’s probably the most electric player in the league. What makes her stand out amongst other people is the fact that she can beat every single full-back in the world with her direct and positive running. 

Her first thought always seems to be beating the defender and driving into the dangerous areas in the final third. Another thing that makes her so electric also revolves around the fact that she is comfortable going down the byline and whipping in a cross, but also cutting in on the inside and delivering a shot or killer pass.

Either way, her unpredictable nature, speed and decision making makes her an easy decision for ones to watch – both this weekend and beyond.

Lauren Hemp of Manchester City and Jess Carter of Chelsea in action during the Vitality Women's FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester City and...

Kim Little (Arsenal)
Position: Midfielder 

Kim Little – where do I start? Probably the most dependable player in the league.

Between her intelligent movement, understanding of her teammates movement, and her ability to make a moment (even when dealing with scraps) is unmatched.

What makes her so dependable is the fact that this ‘moment’ with Little, may not even necessarily be a goal. She seems to just understand exactly what her team needs at that given moment and she delivers it. 

This could be her ball retention when her team is under severe pressure, but also the fact that she can single-handedly dance her way through a midfield and put it on a plate for her attackers.

Based on how Arsenal have been looking this season, it’s been the latter as she’s been popping up with goals and assists weekly. But her intelligence is a joy to watch and someone that I recommend playing close attention to as she’s at the heart of everything good Arsenal do.

Kim Little of Arsenal during the UEFA Women's Champions League group C match between HB Koge and Arsenal WFC at Koge Stadium on November 10, 2021 in...

Sarah Mayling (Aston Villa)
Position: Full-back 

Sarah Mayling is known for the whip she gets on all her crosses, set-pieces or not. She has to be included in this ones to watch list because given the fact that it’s a local derby against what was her former club Birmingham City, I expect her to have to say in what the eventual result is. 

We’ve all heard of a set-piece specialist, but Mayling appears to have mastered how to manipulate the ball especially when crossing or taking free-kicks.

More notably, her set pieces have sparked numerous comebacks for her club and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her changing the game with her deliveries this weekend.

Villa have started well and so I expect them to be on the front foot in this game – giving Mayling the license to go forward and shine.

Sarah Mayling of Aston Villa in action during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Reading Women and Aston Villa Women at Select Car...

Jessie Fleming (Chelsea)
Position: Midfielder 

Since Fleming’s arrival last season, she has struggled for minutes in this absolutely stacked Chelsea side.

This has had less to do with her ability, but more so the fact that this Chelsea team is filled with top class talent all over the pitch. Following her success with Canada at the Olympics, she seems to have started this season full of confidence off the back of winning Olympic gold.

Her cameo performances earlier on in the season have seen her rewarded with consecutive starts – and she’s been sure to take her chance. 

The thing that makes her a standout for this weekend is the fact that she’s unpredictable. She fully understands the role that’s required of her in that Chelsea midfield –  between supplying the wingers but also making sure that she’s aiding the attack by making third-player runs into the box and arriving late.

Her ability to do this has made her so dangerous because she’s an excellent finisher as well as the fact that her decision making is beyond her years. I can see her making more strides this weekend as Chelsea look to make strides towards the title.

Jessie Fleming of Chelsea celebrates after scoring her team's first goal during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Aston Villa Women...

Hannah Blundell (Manchester United)
Position: Full-back 

There are numerous Manchester United players I could have put as the ones to watch out for.

Having already spoken to glowingly about Ella Toone and Alessia Russo’s partnership, I thought I’d choose somebody who has brought so much to the team both in an attacking and defending sense.

After spending eight years of her senior career at Chelsea, Hannah Blundell made the switch up north – in search of more playing time.

Her ability to stay calm defensively as well as in offensive areas has seen her slot into the United line-up seamlessly. She’s already registered three assists this season, and I can see her adding to that tally this weekend.

Despite the difference in location, United vs Everton games have been played as though it were a derby since Casey Stoney’s tenure – with United coming out victorious most of the time.

Hannah Blundell of Manchester United Women during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Leicester City Women and Manchester United Women...

That being said I expect Blundell to have a lot to do this weekend and she will need to be switched on, but there will be space for her to exploit and offer support to the forwards.

United have a legacy to protect when it comes to our fixtures against Everton and I’m sure Blundell will thrive on that pressure.

WSL Matchday 6 Report – Arsenal still flying, Reading dominant whilst United hit a block

We are already into match day six of the 2021/22 Women’s Super League season and so far, other than the injury-stricken start to the season that Manchester City are having, we are yet to see many upsets to the other components of the ‘Big Three’.

Whilst City have dropped numerous points to opposition that they previously would have comfortably beaten, Arsenal have been completely dominant – yet to drop a single point in the WSL so far, and only conceding two goals in the first game of the season against reigning champions Chelsea.

Meanwhile Tottenham, who in the previous season found themselves in a relegation battle, have enjoyed a great start with four wins out of the first five games.

Week six brought us some matchups that saw teams that we could expect to finish in and around that fourth spot – with Manchester United taking on Spurs while Everton and Brighton faced off. Here’s what happened.



Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea

Ever the embodiment of a Carla Ward side, Aston Villa presented a difficult entity for Chelsea to breakdown.

As expected Chelsea absolutely dominated the ball, having 76 percent possession and boasting 16 shots in the game, despite Emma Hayes heavily rotating her starting lineup.

Within this, a rare start for the talented Canadian starlet Jessie Fleming – who went on to score the eventual winner; scoring a neat and composed finish following a great pick out from Ji.

The defensive set-up from Villa definitely did its job in frustrating Chelsea, but the quality that they possess – even when they rotate – is clear to see.

Everton 0-1 Brighton

Following the managerial change that happened at Everton after the sacking of Willie Kirk, I was interested to see how they’d look against a well drilled side in Brighton who like Tottenham, have enjoyed a good start to this new season.

New Everton manager Jean-Luc Vasseur attempted to provide some stability to his new squad by keeping the same starting XI as the midweek cup match, and someone who benefited from this was Kenza Dali, who again looked like a bright spot in the Everton team.

Despite this, it was Brighton that were able to score the winner in the second half, after Danielle Carter played in Aileen Whelan – a win that puts them fourth in the table as it stands.

Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United

As a United fan assessing the opposition before the game, I was aware that Tottenham were going to be narrow and compact – a problem that Manchester United boss Marc Skinner also alluded to both pre and post-match.

There seems to be a real lack of width in Skinner’s United side – an area that was previously used as a point of emphasis under Casey Stoney. Under Stoney we saw left-winger Leah Galton being utilised a lot more than she currently is, stretching opponents with not only width but also her pace and trickery at the by-line with her ability to accurately cross.

However, against Spurs, we once again saw a real lack of width which often made it easy for them to stop United in their attacks.

A key missing point for the United side was also the absence of midfielder Jackie Groenen who is vital in how they set the pace of the game.

Too many times were the United midfield especially caught on the ball in that first half and they were lucky to go into the half 1-0 up. That goal does however need its own special mention as Alessia Russo (who I’ve previously spoken so highly of), brought some individual brilliance with a wonder strike on the brink of HT.

She was on bully mode for the entire game – constantly pinning defenders on the halfway line and beyond. This allowed her not only to relieve pressure on the team, but also to bring the wingers and fullbacks into play. Her fantastic performance, as well as crucial saves once again from United keeper Mary Earps almost brought the team the three points. 

However, Spurs stayed in the game till the very end, and their determination paid dividend as defender Millie Percival saw her 94th minute free-kick sail all the way in without a touch. The bounce appeared to confuse everybody in the box and much to the delight of the Spurs players, rewarded the side with a well-earned point.

Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester scored what was only their third goal of this league campaign against a City side that are slowly starting to get important players trickling back into the side following injury lay-offs.

However, the Foxes goal in the first 90 seconds of the game didn’t stop City from sealing all three points – with Leicester continuing to give away too many chances in games.

They managed to carve out some chances in the game, but overall City were too good for them and managed to overpower them in the end. Lauren Hemp was a constant threat and the pick of the bunch from the City goals has to be awarded to Keira Walsh who unleashed an unstoppable shot from outside of the area giving the keeper no chance.

Birmingham City 0-3 Reading

Birmingham City were unable to respond to Reading’s dominant display at their ground – with another young Canadian starlet Deanne Rose shining brightest.

Kelly Chambers’ Reading side looks to be shaking off their initial early season rust and have now put together two consecutively strong performances in the league, with the forwards especially in this game combining well.

The loss however puts an even bigger strain on Birmingham City in their bid to stay in the league, as they still only have one point on the table. They’ll be looking to start building in next week’s derby against Villa.

Molly Bartrip of Reading tackles Sarah Mayling of Birmingham during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Reading Women and Birmingham...

Arsenal 4-0 West Ham

Where to start with Arsenal? They simply just do not look like conceding right now, and this coupled with the fact that they seem to be scoring at will makes them an extremely scary prospect for the league and for their competitors’ title chances.

Once again, the ever-dependable Kim Little was front and centre to everything good that Arsenal did in the game. The nimble and intelligent Little opened the scoring with some clinical finishing late into the first half and not content with just scoring one, she went on to score her 50th league goal soon into the second half also.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, probably one of the most in-form people in football right now Beth Mead joined in, adding a third after great work from Nikita Parris in the middle of the pitch.

The great thing about this Arsenal side is that they look like they can score from any area of the pitch, as well as the fact that they work with such intensity even when out of possession in order to win the ball back. West Ham made some good openings, but Arsenal never really looked like conceding.


Next Week is Women’s Football Week, so look out for some ones to watch on Friday!