Last season, the WSL title race went right down to the wire between Chelsea and Man City. The pair have both slipped up already though plus the latter’s early woes go beyond the league. Man City suffered a shock loss to a resolute side and a routine Chelsea win feature in this week’s WSL review!
Chelsea 4-0 Everton
Starting with Chelsea who have made an imperious start to the season when it comes to defending their WSL title. Emma Hayes sent out a weakened side in the opener against Arsenal due to a lack of pre-season for some, particularly the Olympians. This seemingly proved costly as the new look Gunners edged them out in a 3-2 thriller, Beth Mead being the star of the show. Pernille Harder was the only one of the famous front three to start in that loss and she did get on the score sheet, this time around though she left that to the returning Kerr and Kirby.
Everton were the visitors in what was the first game of this WSL season at the lively Kingsmeadow and the home side repaid their fans’ support. Everton may be bottom of the league after two games but both Toni Duggan and Valerie Gauvin began this one on the bench- it is still early days. Fran Kirby opened the scoring after 25 minutes after some early spells of pressure on Sandy MacIver’s goal. The Lioness shot-stopper continued to make some great stops but she couldn’t do it all herself. Last season’s top scorer in the WSL Sam Kerr found the back of the net either side of the break before Beth England came off the bench for the Matildas’ star and got in on the act just moments later.
Birmingham City 0-5 Brighton and Hove Albion
From one emphatic score line in the second round of WSL fixtures to another as Brighton followed their win over West Ham with another three points. Seven goals scored, none conceded, 6/6 points, life is good for Hope Powell and her team! On the other hand, Birmingham City lost narrowly to Spurs with Kit Graham getting the only goal of the game and were on the receiving end of this Brighton battering. Rinsola Babajide and Danielle Carter to Brighton were two of the most interesting WSL transfers in my eyes and the latter opened her account in this one.
Centre-back Victoria Williams opened the scoring with just a couple of minutes on the clock, and that remained the difference for near enough all of the first half. Inessa Kaagman scored from the penalty spot last week and she did so again here on the brink of the break, Aileen Whelan being barged over by Harriet Scott in the area. Carter was the one to make it three before fullback Emma Koivisto and experienced Welsh forward Kayleigh Green piled further misery upon Birmingham. Brighton now sit atop of the WSL table!
Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Finally then to the titled game, as Man City welcomed Tottenham to the Academy Stadium in front of the Sky Cameras. It was a routine win to get the season started for City with new signings Hayley Raso, Vicky Losada and Khadija Shaw starring. With Real Madrid knocking them out of the Champions League at this early stage though, all of their eggs now have to move over to one singular basket. Said basket is to prise the WSL title from the reaches of Chelsea but their ambitions to do so were dented by Spurs on the weekend. As previously mentioned, Spurs got off to a winning start against Birmingham but not many people would have foreseen this result, especially when you consider how this game started.
When Lauren Hemp headed home an Alex Greenwood set-piece with just a few minutes on the clock, it seemed that the failure against Real Madrid was just a blip more than anything else. Gareth Taylor’s side continued to peppered the Spurs goal but Becky Spencer put in a stellar, resolute performance. A late run into the area from Rachel Williams paired with a finish drew Tottenham level, before they snatched all three points late on, in dramatic fashion. It is hard to explain really but a clear handball from substitute Angela Addison put Benameur under unneeded pressure, from which she put the ball in the back of her own net via the post. It was hardly surprising to see Gareth Taylor speak quite candidly about the poor officiating after the game and how it had cost his side a result, but in truth, they weren’t clinical enough in front of goal.