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Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Eidevall hails Arsenal’s spirit in adversity

After Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat of Everton the manager, Jonas Eidevall, praised his team for how they have coped during a period of turmoil as injuries threatened to derail their early season momentum. “We see a team here in an adverse moment that we are hopefully on the verge of turning around with players returning,” he said. “I think we have been managing a difficult period so far very, very well; and that’s important if you want to build a winning team.” Last season Arsenal crumbled on either side of the winter break with one win in seven games between 5 December and 23 January. The injuries may be disrupting things in a similar fashion but after a tough 3-2 defeat by Manchester United they returned to form against Everton having also secured an important point away at Juventus in between. With one league game left to play before the break, against Aston Villa, before Arsenal host Chelsea at home to kickstart the new year on 15 January, they could go into the new year in good shape with bodies rested and returning. SW

United now a threat from all areas

Manchester United certainly have nothing to prove to cement their status as genuine title contenders but a stylish 5-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford does no harm to their growing ruthless reputation. United moved ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, by one, and remain three points behind league leaders Chelsea, who have played a game more. That the five goals came from five different faces reflects the biggest shift from last season, when United struggled to share the attacking load. “This year we can get a goal from a cross, we can turn in, we can run one-on-one,” said the manager, Marc Skinner. “We couldn’t find ways last year and I didn’t expect this many different scorers this early in the season. Everyone is chipping in.” After a midweek game against Everton in the League Cup, United travel to the Etihad Stadium to play in-form rivals Manchester City. Win and United go into the new year having dropped only three points. Last term, they had dropped 12 by the close of the first half of the season. SW

Liverpool are showing increased maturity

As with any team moving up a division, it takes a little while to find your feet. But it is quite apparent from recent weeks that Matt Beard’s Liverpool side are getting there. Two goal-filled draws preceded this 2-0 win against a West Ham side who have impressed in attack at the start of this season. Early goals help and once again Liverpool found themselves ahead in the first half, a third-minute goal from the impressive Ceri Holland gave them the lead. Every team also needs a target player and the form of Katie Stengel, who scored her sixth WSL goal in nine games, helps. With a two-goal cushion from the first half, Liverpool displayed their maturity in the second, managing the game and showing a resilience to keep the visitors at bay. With Reading winning as well, it was an important three points to give them some breathing room from the bottom of the table. SD

Kelly runs the show for impressive City

If it hasn’t been noticed already, Manchester City’s home form is impressive. On Sunday they made it nine league wins from nine at the Academy Stadium with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Brighton. Gareth Taylor’s side swept the visitors away in the first half with Chloe Kelly playing a starring role. Still yet to register her first goal for the club this season, she did everything but score, pulling the Brighton defence every which way. Her deliveries were eye-catching and it was her corner that led to the opener, an own goal from Veatriki Sarri. Then she showed all her skill to beat two players and set up Julie Blakstad for the second. Laura Coombs added a spectacular third. Taylor was frustrated with his side’s second-half performance but, in all honesty, the game was already won. Brighton improved and got a consolation through Lee Geum-min but it was nothing more than that as City continued their title chase. SD

Reiten has field day as Leicester struggle

The last time Chelsea visited Leicester it turned into a 9-0 rout and this weekend’s game must have felt like deja vu for the hosts. This time it finished 8-0 so maybe there is some progress there for Leicester to cling to but either way it was another breathtaking performance from Chelsea, who stay top. The damage was done with five first-half goals. Guro Reiten had a field day with one goal and four assists. The Norwegian has been in blistering form is now only three assists away from beating Beth Mead’s record of 12 assists in a single season – and we’re only nine games into the campaign. The bottom against top clash lay bare the mountain of quality Chelsea have at their disposal and all Leicester could do at times was marvel at it in the background. RO

Herculean effort helps to lift Reading

Tis the season when results can start to showcase the trajectory of where you might end up finishing in the table. A herculean effort saw Reading win 1-0 against Tottenham and move seven points away from the relegation zone – it was their second win of the season. It also came against the odds and with players out due to flu and injuries. The Tottenham goalkeeper Becky Spencer was inundated with Reading shots in the first half, a result of Kelly Chambers’ side pressing high to swamp the penalty box with several blue and white shirts. That all led to an error from Amy Turner who looped a header into her own goal. Reading also registered their first clean sheet of the season, with the defence fighting until the end to keep out a lively Spurs side. RO




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