The games are really coming thick and fast. Ask any player and they will tell you that they don't mind at all. Although training and working on tactics and technical aspects are things that you need to work on as a player, there is nothing better then playing games, and this week sees the return of the Continental Cup.
I’ve had the experience of winning this cup twice with Arsenal and both were special occasions. I would love to make it a third time, but we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out. You want to win as much as you can as a player and this year is no exception for me.
The Conti Cup is going to be a whole lot different and more competitive this year that’s for sure. This season sees the cup incorporating the FA WSL2 sides. This means the expanded competition will see all 18 FA WSL teams compete in group stages to determine which teams will progress to the knockout stages. The group winners from the three groups will progress, with the best runner-up grabbing the other spot.
This makes things a whole lot more interesting and I’m sure we’ll see the FA WSL 2 sides pushing teams in the top flight all the way, causing a few upsets and scorelines that we may not have seen coming.
There will be two rounds of matches played this week, with a Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton looking to be the pick of the bunch after Everton knocked their local rivals out of the FA Cup quarter-final at the weekend.
Doncaster Rover Belles have started the season strongly in FA WSL2 and are being talked up as favorites to grab that promotion spot. So it will be interesting to see how strong those credentials are when they come up against a Manchester City side desperate to get a win after recent results.
A special mention must go to Birmingham City who had their Champions League run come to a halt this weekend. After a tremendous result at home to the hotly tipped Tyreso, a side full of players that would make most dream teams, Birmingham pushed them all the way. It took Tyreso until the second half in the second leg to break Birmingham City hearts. One thing is for sure though, Blues definitely picked up fans along the way in their Champions League quest after showing grit, heart, passion and team ethic in their games.
I’ve saved the best till last with mention of what is now the most prestigious award in the women’s game, the PFA women’s player of the year. In 2013 Kim Little, who played alongside me at Arsenal was the first player to pick up the award in its inaugural year, after being the standout player in the FA WSL. With Liverpool Ladies newly-crowned champions in 2013 it was no surprise that their players would and should be strong candidates to swoop many of the awards this year.
The only question being, which Liverpool player would walk away with this particular accolade? Natasha Dowie was voted player’s player at the FA awards, so most would have thought the same would happen again here. However it was Liverpool defender Lucy Bronze who walked away with the award on the night. Lucy had a standout season for her club last year and is going to be a top defender not only in England, but across the women’s game.
Attacking players tend to grab the headlines and the recognition for scoring goals and being flair players. So I think it was great to see players voting for a defender for a change, but hey, I may be a little bias..
Congratulations to Martha Harris too for picking up PFA young player of the year, and to all the girls voted in the PFA FA WSL team of the year.
Who are you tipping for this season’s FA WSL Continental Cup? Can Alex’s Arsenal win it for the fourth season running?
Read more from Alex here!