Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

first_imgShare on Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Jordan Nobbs, left, in action for Arsenal before suffering a nasty looking injury against Everton. Photograph: Lynne Cameron for The FA/Rex Shutterstock Twitter Pinterest Women’s Super League features Topicscenter_img Share via Email Facebook Spence’s sacking a sign of the timesThe 4-0 defeat to Arsenal was Everton’s first game since they sacked Andy Spence. He was a manager I had known for a long time, who had worked at the club for well over 10 years in various roles, and it is a club that is close to my heart, but I felt his departure was an important for this league. Though Arsenal got rid of Pedro Martínez Losa last October, there is no real tradition of mid-season managerial change in women’s football but in the new professional set-ups it is right that professional managers are held to professional standards. There has to be accountability in football, and as we’ve seen with Fulham in the Premier League the team that are bottom at this stage of the season will often look to make a change. I’m not taking Andy’s departure lightly, and I don’t want women’s football to go to the extremes we sometimes see in the men’s game, but it was his second season and he probably had targets to hit. Defeat to Yeovil was the final nail in the coffin. A full-time, professional role such as this will be attractive across the sport now: standards in women’s football are rising, the perception of women’s football and women’s sport in general is much healthier, and there will be many coaches who see the Everton job as an attractive prospect. For me, sad as it is to see Everton struggling, this is more evidence that this is a new era for women’s football and that is exciting.Have Bristol found another frightening forward?In the summer Lauren Hemp, an exciting 18-year-old English forward, moved from Bristol to Manchester City. On Saturday the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool was scored by Ella Rutherford, another exciting 18-year-old English forward. Bristol seem to keep producing these electric strikers. It was Rutherford’s first goal for Bristol after signing from Millwall but their other goalscorer, Lucy Graham, now has seven to her name and is only 22. It was Bristol’s third win of the season, enough to put them safely in mid-table, and Tanya Oxtoby has been doing an awesome job with them in her first season in charge. It’s also quite refreshing to see one of the league’s less-fancied names beat Liverpool – it’s not a scoreline you often see. It was Liverpool’s third defeat in a row and though the first two of that run, against Chelsea and Manchester City, were maybe to be expected, this one will hurt them. Their next game is against Birmingham, so it’s not going to get any easier.BT Sport has coverage of FA Women’s Super League all season. Watch Manchester City v Birmingham City: BT Sport 1 and 4K UHD (12.15pm) on 9 December Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Women’s football Moore makes life merrier for ReadingFara Williams stole the headlines again by scoring two more goals in Reading’s 4-1 win over Brighton, but there was another key player more quietly effecting proceedings a little further back. It is almost exactly a year since Jade Moore suffered an ankle injury that was to end last season and it is probably no coincidence that since her return to the starting XI, Reading have secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season. It has been a frustrating 12 months for her – maybe even more so because she is a physio herself – and Reading have missed her presence. To have her back is a major boost for them, and now they are steadily climbing the table again. Moore is not a provider nor a goalscorer, she’s a breaker-upper, a dictator in midfield, a strong tackler and a leader on the pitch. To get her back is like a key signing for Reading, and with her and Williams in the team they can be a real force. Williams just never stops impressing. She’s just the complete player, dangerous with both right and left feet and good with her head. Reading have had to deal with quite a lot of injuries, and still have a few players to come back, but they are clicking into gear now.• Suzanne Wrack: the next goal for women’s football is to balance the booksStriking setbacks no bother for BirminghamBirmingham City are another side who have been unlucky with injuries, and they are currently without two international strikers in Rachel Williams and Ellen White. They are both long-term injuries, and if Birmingham were over-reliant on their attacking prowess to roll teams over they would have fallen well away by now. But instead Mark Skinner has built his team around defensive solidity and organisation, and they continue to be the tightest, meanest, stingiest team in the Super League. They play so well as a unit, defending from the front and catching teams on the counter: as a player you absolutely dread playing teams like that. They and Arsenal, in very different ways, are the most consistent teams in the league and the sides I would least want to be facing, and that they are doing it with no stars in their side except perhaps the goalkeeper, Ann-Katrin Berger, makes it even more impressive. Birmingham have six clean sheets in eight games, only conceding against Arsenal and Manchester City, and they scored against both of those as well. So far this season Birmingham have beaten the teams they should beat, and when they are the underdogs they give their opponents a good run for their money. West Ham just didn’t have the answers on Sunday.• Referee suspended over using rock, paper, scissors instead of coin tossNobbs injury causes alarm for ArsenalThe Arsenal juggernaut keeps on rolling: another week, another convincing win, and more goals for the key attacking trio of Danielle van de Donk, Vivianna Miedema and Jordan Nobbs. If it wasn’t for Kirsty Levell pulling off a string of fine saves in the Everton goal the winning margin would have been even more overwhelming. However hard she tried, though, Arsenal’s attacking quality eventually shone through. But the game ended on a sour note with what looked like a potentially serious injury to Nobbs, who required lengthy treatment to a knee injury before being taken from the field. We can only hope that there is no long-term damage, because not only is she Arsenal’s captain but with nine goals to her name and a string of assists she is crucial to their success in attack. Arsenal’s squad is already stretched after Kim Little broke her leg last month, and though Lia Walti has come in and successfully filled that gap their squad is not strong enough to cope with many more setbacks. They have rarely been able to name a full bench, and have had only three substitutes on occasions, so any injury to one of their key attacking trio could well slow them down. Just as well they already have a six-point cushion at the top of the table.• Match report: Everton 0-4 Arsenal Reuse this contentlast_img read more