As the football leagues get well underway for the 2019/20 season, Jessy Parker Humphreys looks at the five things we learned from the matches played over the weekend.
1. No sign of the Women’s Championship just yet
The FA Player looks like it’s going to be a fantastic addition to the limited coverage of women’s football, but they missed a trick by not having it ready for the start of the Women’s Championship.
With the Women’s Super League not starting until the beginning of September, this weekend was a great opportunity to show even one game from the opening round of Women’s Championship fixtures (as they will be once it’s up and running) and establish lower league women’s football.
Sadly we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to have women’s football back on our screens.
2. Newer names vs. older hands
Even as the Women’s Super League looks more and more like a carbon cut out of the Men’s Premier League with Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal fighting it out at the top (to be joined this season for the first time by Tottenham and Manchester United), the Women’s Championship offers a slightly more eclectic mix of teams.Embed from Getty Images
With London City Lionesses breaking away from Millwall last season, alongside teams like Durham, London Bees and Lewes, there is an interesting match up in the women’s second division between teams who are associated with more traditionally established football names and those creating new slices of history.
And the opening weekend put those independent teams on top with Durham and Lewes recording mirroring 5-1 wins against Leicester and Blackburn respectively.
Meanwhile, in the London match up between City Lionesses and Bees, the Lionesses were able to record their first win as a club. The FA has been accused of making life a lot harder for women’s teams not associated with major men’s clubs – on this evidence, those smaller teams will do their talking on the pitch.
3. Chelsea’s concentration problem
Watching Chelsea this season has felt a bit like watching Roadrunner – they come straight out the blocks and then suddenly look down, realise they’re playing ok, and entirely collapse. For the third game in a row, Chelsea came out for the second half and looked like they had forgotten they could carry on attacking.Embed from Getty Images
Struggling to maintain any pressure, whilst exposing large defensive gaps, if Leicester had been able to look a bit sharper in front of goal, it’s unlikely Frank Lampard would have been able to hold onto a draw. As it is, Chelsea’s younger starters will have to be able to hold their concentration for a bit longer in games if they’re going to really start picking up points.
4. European shake up
This weekend saw a bit of a stumbling block for last season’s winners across Europe’s major leagues as Manchester City, Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich all drew whilst Barcelona lost to an astonishing 88th minute volley against Athletic Bilbao.Embed from Getty Images
Maybe this will be the season where we see it all go down to the wire? Don’t hold your breath.
5. Always worth making time for something a bit smaller
I took some time out of Premier League football to enjoy Dulwich Hamlet take on Concord Rangers on Saturday afternoon. The entertaining 2-2 draw between two teams who have both made positive starts to this season in the National League South, was a lovely reminder of how sometimes standing in the sun with a pint in hand at a smaller ground can make you feel a lot closer to football than watching the Premier League on a laptop screen.
You can follow Jessy on Twitter @jessyjph