The weekend fixture list has been good for the Gunners as they keep their grip on the FA WSL top spot, while City’s challenge is already collapsing.
Since it was formed in 2011, no team has ever won the FA WSL with more than two defeats. City really need to be close to perfect to win the title this season, after three losses in their first four games:
Another gameweek complete ✅
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) October 3, 2021
Although City were not in good form, their home defeat to West Ham was a big surprise after they managed to beat Leicester 6-0 with a weaker team in the FA Cup. Out of the Women’s Champions League in the qualifying round, out of the title race in early October, things are not going the right way for Gareth Taylor.
If you add the fact that City played no pre-season friendlies before going straight into their disastrous Champions League qualifiers against Real Madrid, the pressure will start to build on the City manager. As long as the players still listen to and believe in him, his job should be safe. At the end of the day, the players are on the pitch and if they don’t perform, the manager is not responsible on his own.
Tottenham won 2-0 away to Leicester to match the Gunners with twelve points out of twelve and have clearly recovered well from their FA Women’s Cup 5-1 hammering in midweek in the NLD. It is quite a surprise to see them as early contenders for a Champions League place. Rehanne Skinner and her assistant Vicky Jepson are doing a good job and did change a good number of players during the summer window. It’s working well so far.
Chelsea and Manchester United trail the two leaders by three points and are fighting for the third Champions League place right now. One defeat from the leaders and they will be at the heart of the title race.
At the bottom of the table, three teams are currently fighting to avoid relegation and have no points in four games. It means alarm bells must be ringing for Reading who are bottom of the table. They did have a squad overall during the Summer and they haven’t gelled yet and will need to get their first win under their belt as soon as possible.
Birmingham City are involved in the relegation battle like last season and we know they have one of the smallest budgets in the division – if not the smallest.
Their Summer recruitment was mainly foreign players who do not need a work permit i.e. from the common travel area or young English players with potential. It is not a surprise to see them in the early relegation battle.
Leicester are the promoted team and also completed a huge squad overall during the Summer. They are finding there is quite a gap between the FA Women’s Championship and the FA WSL.
It’s normal for a promoted team to struggle in their first season at the top level. So the three bottom teams will look to get their first win under their belt as soon as possible to break out the negative spiral.
Arsenal are in good shape, but the games are now coming thick and fast with the Champions League Group stage, and it is really important to keep every player fit to be able to rotate and rest players.
That’s why we saw Vivianne Miedema get subbed quite early in the second half against Villa as Barcelona away is already coming up and it will be an extremely tough game against the European champions on Tuesday.