Arsenal Ladies lost 1-0 to City in the Conti Cup in a game where they had enough chances to win it comfortably.
It means the Ladies can now concentrate on trying to finish in the runners-up place in the League and therefore qualify for the Champions League.
Former Gunner Jennifer Beattie scored the only goal in the game and the team will certainly regret the missed chances and lack of a clinical finisher on the pitch. Where is Jodie Taylor when you need her? The England international has not played an official game so far for the club with three quarters of the season played.
With four games to play the ladies trail Chelsea Ladies by five points and must hope that Chelsea Ladies will slip up twice while they must collect maximum points. Considering that Chelsea are chasing City to try and retain their title, the probability that the Blues will lose two games out of four is quite remote.
It will be soon time to think about the 2017/18 season squad and who should stay and who should go. The 2015 saw the team short of players due to injury and this season has seen the exact opposite with too many players in the squad leading to a lack of consistency.
It is quite a feat not to know which is the best Arsenal Ladies 11 when you have reached the final straight of the season. Because there are so many options and there has been rotation to keep everyone happy, a winning formula has not been found.
So maybe at the third time of asking Pedro Losa will find the right squad size to be able to mount a title challenge that last until the end of the season. Back in 2015, the team was unbeaten at the halfway break but the challenge collapsed with the injuries to the main players and this year the title challenge was kind of over by matchday three with defeat to other title contenders, City and Chelsea.
With the return of players on loan, those coming back from injuries and the youngsters from the development team pushing up for a first team place, there will be around 30 players vying for a first team place at the start of 2017.
Clearly some players will need to go and some new blood will also be needed in certain positions. There are players who will be out of contract by November, so the head count should go down a bit by that time.
Let’s hope the coaching staff and management will make the right decisions, to give the team the extra quality it needs to be able to compete with the top two teams. Investment on infrastructure has been superb, it is time to make it count on the pitch and next season cannot come quick enough.
It is important to note that the FA WSL will move to a winter season from the current summer season and therefore the new season will start in September 2017, with a spring series designed to keep up the England players’ shape in preparation for the 2017 Euros in the Netherlands.