Women's Sports: Chelsea paint London blue while City remain the only unbeaten team in fourth week of WSL

Chelsea Women v Arsenal - FA WSL

The most prominent WSL fixture over the weekend came in the form of the famous Chelsea v Arsenal derby.

With Arsenal’s unbeaten record on the line and Chelsea’s title hopes withering, it was already a crucial game at the top of the table so early on in the season. 

When Montemurro’s side took the lead just ten minutes into the game, it had the potential for another dominant victory. A driven run from Miedema opened up the defence and allowed her to slip in fellow Dutch international Van de Donk who fired across goal and into the bottom corner.

But other than that, Arsenal only managed to register two further shots on goal in comparison to Chelsea’s eight – a lacklustre display from the defending Champions.

Chelsea levelled the game around the 60-minute mark as Kirby and England linked up before the latter teed herself up and fired a half volley into the back of the net.

It was a dominant display from Hayes’ side and a lesson in game management as both of her substitutes – Thorisdottir and Bachmann – combined for the winning goal, with the former curling the ball past Zinsberger in goal in the 85th minute.

The final five minutes were a wake-up call for Arsenal as they looked more threatening in the dying moments of the game than the previous 85 minutes – but they failed to come up with the goods and suffered their first defeat of the season.

With little creativity going forward and no secure defensive midfield role after Lia Walti’s substitution, Arsenal looked out of their depth.

This results now leave City in first place, two points clear, with Chelsea in second and Arsenal dropping to third.

The league leaders ran rampant at home to Birmingham in Saturday’s fixture, nullifying any attacking threat from the midlands side who failed to register a shot on target.

It was a dominant performance from Cushing’s side as they enjoyed 60% of the possession and scored three of their six shots on target. 

Goals came from Keira Walsh, Tessa Wullaert and a first WSL goal from Geum-Min Lee, who replaced Janine Backie for the final 20 minutes.

City have failed to falter so far this season, and the closest they came to dropping points was a narrow 1-0 victory to Manchester United. 

Birmingham City Ladies v Manchester City Women - SSE Women's FA Cup Final

Their resilience and ability to grind out results could set them on a path to yet another almost unbeaten season.

Elsewhere in the league

After two consecutive wins against Liverpool and Spurs, United now find themselves in fourth place – joint on six points – with a healthy goal difference.

An away win at Spurs saw goals from Hanson, Neville (OG) and Ross secure the three points and kick off their WSL season. Meanwhile, also joint on six points are Reading and Everton who had one of the most exciting games of the weekend.

The game was levelled 2-2 within the opening 25 minutes – Jade Moore gave Reading the lead twice, but goals from Chloe Kelly and Lucy Graham pulled Everton back twice.

Everton’s attacking threat was somewhat minimal as their only two shots on targets came from their goals, leaving Reading looking the more likely of the two to grab a winner.

And that’s what they did as Norway’s Utland fired home with 20 minutes to go - that was enough to see the game out and give Reading three points. 

It was a star-studded display from Fara Williams in the middle of the park for the home side as she registered an assist for all three goals – a player recording at least three assists has happened on six separate occasions in the Super League. Still, Williams is the only player to do so on more than one occasion. 

Reading FC Women v Liverpool FC Women - WSL

Reading will have the opportunity to separate themselves from the pack and climb the table with their game in hand – their fixture against Birmingham a few weeks back was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and is yet to be rescheduled.

West Ham were also on the winning side as they travelled to Brighton in a dominating display.

Goals from Thomas, Dali and Lehmann secured the three points, with Connolly pulling one back for the Seagulls very late on. It’s been a somewhat quiet start for Lehmann this season, but she’ll be full of confidence going into their next game having registered an assist and a goal this time around.

This loss means Brighton are one of four sides who are yet to register a victory in the last month or so in the league, along with Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool – while the latter two battled it out over the weekend. Both Liverpool and Bristol had the opportunity to pick up three points against each other, but the game ended 1-1 and points were shared. Bristol got off to a flyer with their high press, and a wonder goal from Ebony Salmon saw them take the lead. 

Liverpool Women v Sheffield United Women - The FA Continental League Cup

Dynamics changed with the introduction of Liverpool’s Babajide who has arguably been one of, if not the, best player for them so far this season. Her attacking resilience resulted in a penalty for the Reds, which Lawley converted comfortably.

Both sides scored their first WSL goals, and just a point separates them in 10th and 11th. Next up for the Super League sides is a weekend of Continental Cup action this weekend.

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