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WSL Weekly Review 5; Tottenham’s unbeaten start is halted by Brighton!

There is no argument to be had that the Manchester derby was the pick of the games this weekend, but in general it was a thrilling instalment of WSL action. Both North London teams were in action and feature here, whilst one continued their winning start to the campaign, the other tasted their first defeat. In a week or two which the community has rallied following the news out of the NWSL, here is the rundown from the WSL…

WSL: Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City

Following recent Champions League football to contend with, Emma Hayes rung in the changes for the visit of Leicester City. The Foxes are yet to get off the board in the WSL this season following an impressive promotion whilst Chelsea are on a mission to defend the title. Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, Guro Reiten and Ann-Katrin Berger were amongst the big names to drop out, the likes of Zecira Musovic, Jessie Fleming and Drew Spence coming into the XI. Leicester were defending for the majority of the first half and they did well at that, keeping the Blues at bay. They obviously frustrated the home side as Hayes sent on Kerr and Harder at the break. Chelsea kept pushing and after a couple of superb saves from Levell, including one with her face, as well as a goal-line clearance from striker Jess Sigsworth, Harder broke the deadlock. She was in plenty of space and tucked home neatly from a Fleming pull-back, this her third in the WSL this season. That trio then connected as usual; Harder to Kerr to Kirby with the English superstar sealing the three points at Kingsmeadow. They may remain at the foot of the table but Leicester certainly have promise going forward in the WSL this term.

Brighton 2-1 Tottenham

Down on the South Coast, Hope Powell’s Brighton welcomed an in-form Spurs term who came into this one with a perfect record. The biggest win to date in the WSL is of course the controversial one over Man City. Brighton made three changes after losing to Chelsea last time out whilst the red-hot Tottenham made just one: Rosella Ayane in, Jessica Naz out. Becky Spencer in goal for Spurs has been great this season and she continued to be an excellent last line of defence. Despite her impact, Brighton did lead at half-time thanks to Lee Geum-Min, who fired one in at the near post. Striker Rachel Williams was booked early on and she saw a second yellow with fifteen minutes left, adding to the task at hand for Rehanne Skinner’s side. Namesake Victoria Williams doubled Brighton’s lead only for Kit Graham to pull one back shortly after. This came too late though and so Brighton were able to hold on to their 2-1 advantage.

Arsenal 3-0 Everton

Chelsea vs Leicester was one of the WSL games showed on Sky Sports, and the other was Arsenal vs Everton. Off the back of Spurs’ defeat, although there was some crossover between the two games, Arsenal were the only side yet to lose or even drop points for that matter. USWNT star Tobin Heath was in the XI for Jonas Eidevall, as was Lotte Wubben-Moy who replaced the injured Jenn Beattie at the back and also Mana Iwabuchi. Beth Mead and Caitlin Foord were amongst the substitutes. The likes of Toni Duggan and young Swedish sensation Hanna Bennison started for opponents Everton.

Meadow Park has often been a fortress for the Gunners in the WSL and that has remained the case under their new boss. A Leah Williamson cross was cleared only as far as Irish international Katie McCabe, the fullback-come-winger taking a touch before firing the ball goal-wards. Sandy MacIver certainly should have kept it out but nevertheless, McCabe broke the deadlock. Shortly after, the aforementioned Wubben-Moy headed in a second, the ball squirming in underneath her helpless fellow-Lioness. Everton didn’t really offer a whole lot going forward in truth and Arsenal were good for the three points, Maanum putting the cherry on top with a marvellous late goal to seal the deal. Arsenal keep marching on!

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