Five things the WSL taught us this weekend

With Chelsea challenging the defending champions, while Birmingham City and Liverpool remain in poor form, Jessy Parker Humphreys gives us their key findings from a weekend of WSL clashes.

1) Chelsea lay down their title credentials

Chelsea 2 – Arsenal 1
This match was the first time any of the top three teams faced each other; Chelsea came out of it showing why they shouldn’t be taken lightly as title contenders. Despite conceding early on, Emma Hayes’ side showed their quality on paper could translate to the pitch, pushing high throughout the first half, with Fran Kirby in particular being able to dictate play. But it was Hayes’ changes that were able to make the difference, with Ramona Bachmann conjuring up memories of the 2018 FA Cup Final as she ran the Arsenal defence ragged to set up the winner. For all of Arsenal’s confidence in their first three games, they will have to show more conviction to hold onto their title.

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2) Manchester United take the plaudits in the promotion derby

Tottenham 0 – Manchester United 3
Both Tottenham and Manchester United have settled admirably into life in the top division of women’s football, but it was United who easily came out on top here. Having had a difficult start to the season with games against Manchester City and Arsenal, Manchester United’s superior quality shone through. With Jackie Groenen and Jane Ross also returning for United, we might only be seeing the beginnings of how good they could be.

3) Birmingham City still yet to score

Manchester City 3 – Birmingham City 0
Manchester City never looked particularly scintillating in this match but in truth they didn’t have to. Birmingham, still yet to score having played three games this season, rarely looked like they were going to venture out of their own half. Without Lucy Staniforth who picked up an injury whilst away with England, Birmingham were unable to offer any kind of threat. They now sit bottom of the WSL with no points, although they do have a game in hand. Marta Tejedor has a mountain to climb if they’re going to make a mark on the leaderboard any time soon.

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4) Fara Williams continues to be on top of her game

Reading 3 – Everton 2
Three Fara Williams assists were able to give Reading the edge against Everton in a game which provided four goals in the first twenty minutes. At 35, Williams has had a 15-year career in women’s football, and her experience is reaping dividends for this Reading team with a goal and three assists in her first three games. She was recently back in the England squad after missing out on the World Cup, and her ability to control and create suggests she could still help with some of Phil Neville’s problems.

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5) Liverpool get points on the board but unclear whether it’s in the right direction

Liverpool 1 – Bristol City 1
Liverpool managed to get their first points of the season on the board in their draw with Bristol City, but they were required to come from behind to do so. Despite having 66% of possession and 17 shots, they needed a penalty to draw level with Bristol. Whilst this was a significant improvement on previous matches where they have struggled to make any chances, it was telling that even against a Bristol team that are always likely to sit back, they struggled to convert. In a season where it already looks like they won’t get many chances, they’ll need to start seizing these opportunities when they arise.

Follow Jessy on Twitter @jessyjph

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