Arsenal have probably said goodbye to their title hopes this season following another defeat to another contender, this time 2-1 away to City.
There is no doubt in my mind that a team that collects only three points out of a possible twelve against the other title contenders is unlikely to win the title.
History tells us that no team has won the FA WSL while losing more than two games.
2011 : 2
2013 : 2
2014 : 2
2015 : 2
No team has won the FA WSL with more than two defeats…
— Sylvain Jamet (@S_Jamet) February 2, 2020
So, already with three defeats this season, Arsenal have put themselves in a tough position where they have to rely on Chelsea and Manchester City slipping up twice in the remaining nine and eight games respectively. I can certainly see them possibly slipping up once, but both doing it twice is really unlikely.
We now trail City by three points and Chelsea by two but the Blues have a game in hand.
The defeat means it is now certainly all to play for the runners-up place and Champions League qualification. Otherwise, finishing in third place would mean needing to win the 2019/20 tournament to get back into the competition next season.
Our previous defeat to Chelsea was blamed on the tactics chosen by the coaching staff who acknowledged their mistake. This time it looked more like a performance problem as well as the now usual injuries/squad size conundrum.
It is important to note that the starting 11 was composed of 11 international players, including two national teams captains. It was not a weak side.
📋 TIME FOR TEAM NEWS…
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) February 2, 2020
The bench was a bit thin, to be fair, with one keeper and two senior defenders alongside three Academy players. It does not look great when you cannot even name a full bench.
The fact that Arsenal made no substitutions is also telling.
The injury list is not actually as big as before: Katrin Veje, Kim Little, Lia Wälti, Danielle Carter plus Caitlin Foord was unavailable as she is on international duty with Australia.
But with a squad of only 19 players, having five unavailable with limited trust in the Academy players is a recipe for disaster when things do not go our way during a game.
I think the biggest problem on Sunday was not having Lia Wälti and Kim Little at the same time. It deprived the team from our usual hubs in attacking and build up play.
A midfield three of Roord, Nobbs and van de Donk lacks some balance, but it does not explain the two cheap goals conceded to City.
The first goal was a typical, not doing the basics in defense and being punished for it:
The second one was not better, with no one preventing the cross and marking absent.
Those are the kind of defensive errors you expect from the men’s team and are quite unusual from our women’s side. But team defending and individual errors have all been feature of our three defeats this season and something needs to be analysed and rectified in those areas.
The league table looks grim today.
It is now a question of winning our eight remaining games and hope for luck to be our side, but the title seem like it will be going to Kingsmeadow or the Academy Stadium.
There's been some movement in the #BarclaysFAWSL table… ⬆️⬇️
How's it looking for your side? pic.twitter.com/YuXmGA5rnK
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) February 2, 2020
Next weekend is the North London derby and the game might sell out, so fans are advised to book their ticket asap.
Hopefully, the team will be able to put in an entertaining performance for the fans.