WSL Week 7 Round Up

Chelsea 5-1 Liverpool 

Chelsea continued their strong form in the league on Saturday. They thrashed visitors Liverpool 5-1 in the game at Stamford Bridge. 

Emma Hayes made six changes from their Champions League match midweek, with Zecira Musovic, Eve Perisset and Maren Mjelde being named in the starting 11. Matt Beard made two changes after their draw with Tottenham last weekend, with Emma Kovisto returning from injury and Shanice van de Sanden got her first start of the season.

With the depth that Chelsea have, there are always going to be strong players missing from the team sheet, but one thing they are good at is squad rotation. Most notably captain Millie Bright wasn’t named in the squad at all, meaning the armband went to her vice Mjelde for the game.

Liverpool generally stick with a similar starting 11 from game to game, unless they are forced to make changes through injuries or sanctions. 

This match was Sophie Ingle’s first start for the club this month, which also marked her 184th WSL appearance, which is a record for the league. On the other end of the scale, academy graduate Aggie Beever-Jones earned her first senior start for the club.

It only took Lauren James 11 minutes to find the back of the net, with Sophie Ingle gaining an assist on her record breaking appearance. 

It wasn’t only Ingle breaking records with her appearance, Lauren James also did by becoming the youngest player to have four goal contributions in a single WSL game. 

It only took her 11 minutes to find the back of the net, after a weak turnover from Jenna Clark. Liverpool were hot on their heels to find an equaliser, which they did two minutes later, thanks to some brilliance from Van de Sanded down the right wing.

James provided a stunning cross from the wing into Beever-Jones, who headed the ball past Rachel Lawes, taking her tally to four in four this season. Liverpool went in behind at the break.

Chelsea showed no sign of letting up in the second half, with their number 10 finding the net a further two times, getting her first hattrick of the season. Sjoeke Nusken netted the Blue’s fifth in the 78th minute, bringing the final score to 5-1. 

Chelsea remain unbeaten this season, as they sit top of the table, and will now look ahead to their Champions League midweek match. Liverpool will now put their attention to their Conti Cup game against Manchester United on Wednesday evening.


Everton 2-2 Bristol City

Neither Everton or Bristol headed into this match on good form. Both teams are desperate for points and would’ve seen this as a game where they could get something out of it.

Everton had only managed to claim four points in their first six games, which is five less than at this point last season. They arguably haven’t faced the heavyweights of the league yet, with them yet to face Manchester City or Arsenal. 

Bristol City have only registered one win so far, in their return to the WSL. They currently sit bottom of the table, after Aston Villa beat them at the Dripping Pan last weekend.

Brian Sørensen made just one change after their 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea. Heather Payne came in for Katya Snoeijs.

Lauren Smith made two changes coming into this match; Olivia Clark came in for loanee Kaylan Marckese and Jamie-Lee Napier came in for Rachel Furness.

The Toffees got off to the perfect start, with Martina Piemonte opening her account for the season after just four minutes. They thought this would be enough to keep them ahead at the break but Amy Rodgers connected with a loose ball on the cusp of half time, to send the teams in level at the break.

The visitors started the second half with more intensity, but Everton regained the lead shortly after  the break. An arrowed volley from Megan Finnigan ensured the shot was unsavable.

As the conditions worsened, Bristol City equalised for a second time with a fine Amalie Thestrup lofted finish, over the onrushing Brosnan.

The teams shared the points, which wasn’t enough to lift the Robins off the bottom of the table. They will look ahead to their next match, which sees Manchester United hope to get back to winning ways.

The Toffees dropped to tenth, after picking up one point. They will look to their meeting with Aston Villa next Sunday, where they will hope they can pick up some more points.

Brighton 0-3 Arsenal

Brighton headed into this match with confidence, they have started the season strong and their summer signings were connecting and scoring. Last weekend they beat Manchester City for the first time in their history. The game looked against them, and City were frequently testing goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley, but it was substitute Lee who made the difference. 

Arsenal headed into this match in strong form. Arsenal have now won four consecutive matches, despite losing their season opener at the Emirates. They proved their resilience last week as they thrashed Leicester 6-2, after being behind at the break.

The Seagulls made only one change from the team that claimed all three points at the Joie Stadium. The Colombian defender Jorelyn Carabali came in for Tatiana Pinto, earning her third start of the season since signing for them over the summer. 

Jonas Eidevall made three changes to the side that started at the King Power last weekend. Noelle Maritz – earning her 250th cap – came in for Steph Catley, which saw Katie McCabe swap to left back. Stina Blackstenius was selected for only her second start of the season; Frida Maanum was the player who had to make way. 

Perhaps the most standout change was the start of Beth Mead. It was her first start since sustaining her ACL injury – exactly a year ago. 

Arsenal are still without Viviane Miedema, who has suffered a slight niggle since her return from injury in October. They are also missing captain Kim Little, which gives Kyra Cooney-Cross her second league start.

Blackstenius scored after just 12 minutes, further proving why she should be in the starting 11. She missed her first attempt at the ball, but not a single Brighton player closed her down, allowing her to take a second go, where she easily beat Baggaley. 

Brighton started the second half strongly with Robinson, Thorisdottir and Bergsvand creating big chances, but failed to convert any of them into a goal.

Alessia Russo missed a big chance, in what should have put them 2-0 up. But instead this responsibility was left to Catlin Foord who was left unmarked outside the box and buried it into the bottom left corner, in front of a sold out Broadfields Stadium

Substitute Maanum secured the three points with the Gunner’s third goal, deep in stoppage time. An unselfish assist from Cloe Lacasse allowed her to slot the ball calmly past Baggaley. 

Brighton were weak in their defence, allowing Arsenal to create 21 shots in the game, but they were lucky Arsenal weren’t as clinical with their shots, as they scored three out of their four shots on target.

Brighton will now look ahead to their next match midweek against West Ham. They will need to tighten their defence as they have now faced 110 attempts on goal in the last four matches.

Arsenal will look ahead to their Conti Cup match against Southampton on Thursday.

Leicester City 1-1 Tottenham

Leicester City were hoping to get their first win against Tottenham in the WSL and were in the best position for this. They had their best start to a WSL season, going unbeaten in three. They currently sit mid-table on eight points, at this point last season they were bottom with zero points.

Tottenham have also had their best start to the season claiming 11 points, which is just seven shy of their total in last season’s campaign.

Willie Kirk made two changes to the side that lost to Arsenal last weekend. Green came in for Thibaud and Rose was picked for Goodwin

Robert Vilahamn also made two changes to her side that shared the points at Brisbane Road. Ria Percival came in for the injured Olga Ahtinen, who left the pitch on a stretcher last weekend. Jess Naz was the other difference, who came in for Grace Clinton. 

The North London side are still without Bethany England, who underwent hip surgery on her return from the World Cup. Martha Thomas has shown no fears about stepping into her shoes, as she has scored six times already, making her the league’s top goalscorer.

Leicester started the game strongly and made the perfect start;  Cayman finding the back of the net in the 18th minute. The goal came from a perfectly timed through ball from Hannah Cain.

A superb set of saves from Janina Leitzig kept The Foxes ahead at half time. She saved the first shot from Jess Naz then the rebound from Ashley Neville. After Leicester failed to clear the box, an attempt from Angharad James was then also saved. 

The hosts felt they were deserving of a penalty when James brought down Cain, but referee Andy Madley dismissed the claims and let play carry on. 

Spurs started the second half strongly, and Celine Bizet finally beat Leitzig, just before the hour mark, to open her account for the season. A pinpoint pass from Thomas earned her her first assist of the season too. 

The Foxes went close to restoring their lead just moments after, where they saw an effort from Sam Tierney rattle the woodwork.

The points were shared between the sides on an entertaining afternoon at the King Power Stadium.

Kirk’s side will now shift their focus to their Conti Cup fixture, which sees them travel to the Joie Stadium. They will hope they can beat the Manchester side for the first time in their history.

Vilahemn’s side will turn their attention to their home draw against Bristol City.

West Ham 2-3 Aston Villa

Aston Villa put an end to their 5 match unbeaten run, when they beat Bristol CIty last weekend. They have had a poor start to the season after a strong season, where they finished fifth in May. 

West Ham have also had a poor start to the season, only managing to nab points from Brighton and Liverpool. They will hope they can get on a better run of form, so they can be in a good place for the Christmas break.

Rehanne Skinner made three changes to the side that lost 5-0 to Manchester United last Sunday. Anouk Denton made way for Shannon Cooke, Mel Filis was picked over Lisa Evans and Emma Harries came on for Honoka Hayashi.

Carla Ward made no changes to her side that earned their first win of the campaign.

West Ham were the side that started the game stronger, and had the chance to take the lead after Adriana Leon tripped Kirsty Smith inside the box. Vivienne Aseyi had the responsibility from the spot, and sent Daphne van Domselaar the wrong way, to take the score to 1-0.

Villa settled into the game and were putting pressure on the hosts, with Anna Patten levelled, with a header, just four minutes later.

After the break, Ward’s side started looking more threatening. Leon made up for her earlier error, scoring after the hosts failed to clear a deep free kick from Kenza Dali.

The Hammers were struggling to get through a well-organised Villa back line. It took a moment of genius from Lisa Evans from the edge of the box, to bring the sides level once again. 

Rachel Daly provided her own moment of excellence in stoppage time, to put her side ahead once again. The Irons didn’t want this to be the decisive moment in the game, and would’ve had a second equalising goal, if it wasn’t for Lucy Staniforths goal line clearance. 

West Ham will need to find some good form soon, as currently they are just above the drop. They face Arsenal on Sunday, so will hope they can cause an upset on their trip to Meadow Park.

Aston Villa will hope they can carry on this strong form when they host Blackburn in the week, and Everton on Sunday

Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City

Manchester United hosted their first derby at Old Trafford on Sunday. They played in front of a record crowd of 43,615, and were hoping to get their first home win against their closest rivals. 

United headed into the Manchester Derby in fine form. They have picked up points in every match this season so far, and have scored 14 in their last three. New signings Melvine Malard and Geyse have settled in well and are frequently getting on the score sheet.

Manchester City started the season well, having been unbeaten in five but have since gone on to lose their last two. They have struggled with discipline this season having received three red cards in six fixtures. 

Marc Skinner made just one change going into this match, bringing in Lisa Naalsund for Miyazawa, in midfield.

Gareth Taylor opted for more, making a total of three changes. He brought in Lauren Hemp for Mary Fowler and Leila Ouahabi for Julie Blasktad. The most notable change was Esme Morgan being replaced with centre half Alex Greenwood. It is the first time she has been named in a squad since leaving the pitch with concussion, while on international duty two weeks ago. 

Ellie Roebuck was still omitted from the squad for unexplained reasons.

City had the earlier chances in the game, forcing Mary Earps into making some crucial saves. But it was United who drew first blood and took the lead.

Alex Greenwood didn’t have the best return to the pitch, giving the penalty away for a handball. Katie Zelem calmly slotted it past Khiara Keating, who was unlucky after diving the right way. 

Geyse thought she had doubled the Red’s lead, but the ball was deemed to have gone out of play before she poked it into the net. There is no VAR used in WSL fixtures, so it can’t have been checked to see if it had crossed the line. 

This was a controversial decision, that was then followed by another questionable decision, as referee Cheryl Foster awarded a goal kick, after the ball left the field. This decision should’ve been a corner, as when the ball went ‘out of play’ it came off City defender Alanna Kennedy.

City took advantage of this and took control back of the game. Chloe Kelly provided some magic down the wing as she wriggled away from Naalsund and played the pass to Jill Roord. The Dutch international cooly slotted it past Earps, who could only stand and watch it enter the net.

Chloe Kelly antagonised the United supporters in celebrating the goal, bringing a true derby feel to the game.

The visitors kept the pressure on during the restart, with Yui Hasegawa stealing the ball from Katie Zelem, and playing it into Bunny Shaw, who’s shot was blocked. She then unselfishly passed it out to Hemp, who buried it behind Earps, just 80 seconds after Roord scored their first.

Chloe Kelly thought she had made it three for City, but Earps made a superb save to keep the gap between the two sides at one goal. 

Bunny sealed all three points and turned the City blue after an uncharacteristic error from England’s number one. Shaw caught on to a misplaced back pass by Maya Le Tissier to Earps, who attempted to clear it but instead bounced it off Shaw, where it found the back of the net.

In 2021, it was Georgia Stanway, in May it was Ellie Roebuck and this time it was the turn of Leia Aleixandri to be sent off in the derby game. It was City’s fourth red of the season, in just seven games, so seeing red and playing with ten is an all too familiar feeling.

United started to pile the pressure on in the dying minutes of the game, and it was only then that they really started testing Khiara Keating. 

They will now shift the focus and hope to get back to winning ways when they face Liverpool away on Wednesday.

Manchester City will now look to try and build from this resilient performance and get back onto a run of winning ways, starting with Leicester on Wednesday in the Conti Cup.

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