The WSL returned over the weekend following an FA cup break last weekend, seeing the top two go head-to-head for the second time this season.
All attention turned to the Academy Stadium where Nick Cushing took charge of Manchester City for the final time...
Hemp’s goal the difference
Manchester City versus Arsenal had the essence of a title-defining game as well as acting as a farewell for the departing Nick Cushing.
It began cautiously with neither side really taking the game to the other, chances coming few and far between. Ultimately, it was Arsenal who was beating on the City door but to no avail, despite shaky defending from the home side.
After soaking up the pressure of a relentless Arsenal attack, City were the ones who opened up the scoring just before the interval. With the Gunners failing to clear a set-piece, the in-form Pauline Bremer pounced to fire home from close range.
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Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal immediately after the break after Lauren Hemp – who put in a Player of the Match performance albeit not officially – doubled City’s lead. Arsenal right-back Leonie Maier failed to stick with Hemp as she latched onto the end of a Keira Walsh cross, heading the ball over and beyond Manuela Zinsberger in the away goal.
10 minutes later there was a glimmer of hope for Arsenal as Danielle Van de Donk pulled one back, setting up a tense final half an hour. Vivianne Miedema played in Beth Mead – who struggled through against Georgia Stanway at right-back – and her effort was well saved by Ellie Roebuck, but Van de Donk was quick to pounce on the rebound and score.
Van de Donk once again had a chance right on top of the goal to level the score, but it was somehow saved by Roebuck, ultimately ensuring the 3 points for her side.
Nick Cushing tenure at City ends with a win against title rivals no less, massively denting Arsenal’s hopes of going back-to-back and leaving City at the top of the table.
Chelsea run rampant against Hammers
It was goals galore at Kingsmeadow yesterday as Hayes’ side put on a five-star display to see off West Ham in style. Despite playing their third game in a week, Chelsea hit another level.
Norwegian Maren Mjelde latched onto a lapse in concentration at the back to open the scoring. Five minutes later, Bethany England got in on the act after receiving the ball from Erin Cuthbert before rounding Brosnan in the Hammers goal and comfortably finishing to double the lead.
Sophie Ingle’s headed goal from a Cuthbert corner gave the home side a modest 3-0 lead going into the break.
And 15 minutes after the break, after already bagging two assists, Cuthbert found herself on the end of a brilliant ball through before catching a half-volley that flew past Brosnan from outside the box to give Chelsea their fourth.
Another Cuthbert corner, another Chelsea goal – this time it was England who latched on the end of the ball in, heading home to get her second of the game.
Not long after, Mjelde got in on the brace act as she found herself on the end of Jonna Andersson’s ball in, giving Chelsea their seventh.
Finally, for West Ham, Chelsea’s rampant run came to an end when Bachmann took advantage of a defensive mistake to get the eighth and final goal of the game.
That result takes Chelsea within a point of the top, still with a game in hand, and looking comfortable on goal difference should it come to it. West Ham is just five points off relegation, with a goal difference of -15 after this result.
Elsewhere in the WSL
Everton travelled to Brighton looking for their seventh win of the season, while Brighton looked to put daylight between them and relegation. It was the Seagulls who came out on top thanks to Aileen Whelan’s goal just before the break.
Despite dominating possession, Everton did very little with it and Brighton held on to secure the three points and stretch the gap at the bottom; although teams below them do have games in-hand.
The points were shared at Adams Park between Reading and Manchester United on a day when officiating took centre stage. United opened the scoring after half an hour following a brilliant finish from Lauren James.
Reading were awarded two penalties during the game – the first of which came following a foul in the area, but Mary Earps was equal to Fara Williams’ effort and parried away the penalty to keep the lead. However, late on Katie, Zelem was woefully penalised for a handball in the area after a free-kick hit her head and went behind for a corner, but the referee awarded a penalty. Earps was unable to deny Williams a second time, ensuring the points were shared late on.
Tottenham versus Bristol and Liverpool versus Birmingham were both postponed due to unplayable pitches and will be rescheduled in due course.News Now - Sport News