Another busy week in the FA WSL and irritatingly one in which the FA’s official website seems to have forgotten to provide reports on anything that’s actually been occurring in any of their matches. And it’s a desperate shame, as some of the week’s matches had what may turn out to be a terminal impact on one side’s shot at the WSL title.
When we left you last week, Liverpool remained in pole position at the head of the FA WSL table, two points clear of their nearest rivals. The team they led, however, were an Arsenal side in fearsome form since the mid-season break, bearing down on the league leaders with a view on their third consecutive FA WSL title.
Oh, how things change.
In many respects, this ought to have been the week in which Arsenal took Liverpool’s place as league leaders for the first time this season. Not that their fixtures were simple, but home matches against a Lincoln side who have struggled this year and a Bristol Academy team that has dropped off slightly in recent weeks would have offered the Gunners enough hope of pulling clear at the top of the table. Instead, with two 0-0 draws in three days, Shelley Kerr’s first season in charge of the North London outfit now relies on results elsewhere to deliver the FA WSL title.
The latter draw, meanwhile, almost certainly spells the end for fellow challengers Bristol’s title hopes too. Where Arsenal require Liverpool to lose at least one of their remaining two matches, Bristol must hope that Matt Beard’s team deliver the biggest choke in recent footballing history to leave them with even slim hopes of an inaugural FA WSL title. Academy had previously kept in touch with the title race delivering a 3-1 away victory at Chelsea, but even those efforts now seem not to have been enough.
Liverpool themselves simply continue to do all that is required of them, keeping the pressure on their fellow title contenders with a 2-0 victory over 2013 strugglers Doncaster Rovers and will now surely back themselves to complete a remarkable reversal on their previous bottom-placed finishes in 2011 and 2012.
Matt Beard’s Liverpool side is, of course, a fundamentally different vintage than seen in previous seasons, but all credit is due to a team which has recovered spectacularly from a 3-0 home defeat to Arsenal in which the defending champions utterly outclassed their hosts and seemed fair set for a tilt at the title. With two remaining home matches, against Everton and and Bristol Academy, Liverpool don’t have it easy. But the title is in their hands. Not bad going.
Birmingham 2 – 1 Everton
Liverpool 2 – 0 Doncaster
Arsenal 0 – 0 Lincoln
Chelsea 1 – 3 Bristol
Doncaster 1 – 1 Everton
Arsenal 0 – 0 Bristol
England Interim Coach Names WC Qualifier Squad
While the FA waits to make a permanent appointment to replace Hope Powell as Head Coach of the England National Team, Interim Manager Brent Hills has named a squad which bears strong resemblance to Powell’s Euro 2013 side for the forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Belarus and Turkey.
Arsenal’s Danielle Carter and Liverpool’s Natasha Dowie both receive call ups, the former receiving her first national call-up and the latter a well-earned recall following her sterling work in leading the line for Liverpool this season.
Girls With Balls
The Sportist is currently working its way through Tim Tate’s history of women’s football, ‘Girls With Balls’. Full review to follow shortly, but the snap review is – it’s brilliant.
Image from thefa.com – Thanks!