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Women's Football

WSL Weekly Review 4; Ella Toone continues to shine for Manchester United!

Another week of WSL action has passed and Manchester City have lost again! This time, West Ham are the victors, but last weekend it was Arsenal. Talking of Arsenal and they faced an-inform Aston Villa side who are thriving under new boss Carla Ward. Neither of these games are the subject of this week’s WSL review though.

Chelsea 3-1 Brighton

Arsenal are currently the team to beat this season in the WSL, something which Chelsea know all too well, but the Blues themselves are of course the defending champions. As well as lifting the WSL title last term, they made it to the Champions League final and have the best manager around in Emma Hayes. She was able to start Erin Cuthbert when Brighton visited Kingsmeadow on Saturday which is a welcome sight following what looked to be an awful injury whilst playing for Scotland just a few weeks back. In terms of their opponents and the Seasiders’ iconic manager Hope Powell dropped Rinsola Babajide to the bench as one of the changes following last week’s defeat to Villa.

Fran Kirby found a lot of space in the box and laid the ball into the path of Guro Reiten who duly fired home the opener. It may have just been ten minutes in but a goal had been coming. Chelsea went into the break 2-0 up thanks to Sam Kerr who bravely challenged for a header. This paid off as she headed home whilst goalkeeper Megan Walsh collided with her defender Felicity Gibbons. Five on the WSL season for the Matilda’s star already. Just after the break, former Arsenal forward Danielle Carter poked one into the bottom corner to half the deficit and give Brighton some hope away from home. From this point it was game on but Chelsea struck the decisive blow. Emma Hayes sent on Beth England and Niamh Charles for Kerr and Cuthbert in a double change and was swiftly rewarded. Kirby did oh so well, this being her third assist, as she played through England who took her time before smashing it into the top corner, out of Walsh’ reach.

Birmingham 0-2 Manchester United

From Saturday to Sunday and there was plenty of WSL action still to come after that Chelsea win. Manchester United may have been completely outclassed by the Blues a couple of weeks back, but with rock-bottom Birmingham as their next fixture, they were bound to bounce back. Prior to taking the job with United, Marc Skinner was over in the States managing NWSL team Orlando Pride and even before that, he was at the Birmingham helm. The familiar surroundings didn’t lead to him easing off though as his side inflicted a fourth consecutive defeat on his former club as they remain without a point in this WSL season to date.

Birmingham had a couple of early half-chances but it was the away side who opened the scoring at St Andrews. Fullback Hannah Blundell has impressed so far this season and after a driving run into the area, she pulled the ball back for Leah Galton. The forward gladly stroked home just before the half hour mark to give Man United the lead. Galton, Jackie Groenen, Blundell and Ella Toone all came close in the second half as the pressure continued to build, Toone even striking the woodwork. They did eventually find that cushion goal and the in-form Toone was the one to convert after Blundell’s ball in. Toone has scored in all but one of her WSL games so far this season as she further repays the faith put in her by Casey Stoney, and now Marc Skinner.

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