The men’s Premier League season may be coming to a close but fear not; the ladies are back in action in the Women’s Super League!
It promises to be the most competitive season yet, with 18 teams across two leagues and the introduction of promotion and relegation for the first time.
The season kicked-off on Wednesday (16th April) with Notts County Ladies facing last season’s Continental and FA Cup winners, Arsenal, whilst Champions League semi-finalists Birmingham City hosted Everton.
Thursday’s fixtures included arguably the pick of the opening matches, with reigning champions Liverpool taking on big-spending newcomers, Manchester City.
Away from the hype, Chelsea travelled to Bristol Academy, who began life without manager Mark Sampson, who replaced Hope Powell as England manager in December.
It is Chelsea who top the table after a 2-0 win away to the Vixens, thanks to Yuki Ogimi’s first half brace.
Speaking to The Offside Rule (We Get It!) podcast, England and Chelsea forward, Eni Aluko said she is feeling confident going into the new season and although admits she considered moving on, she is glad she decided to stay in London.
“There’s always the temptation to look elsewhere,” said Aluko at BT’s FAWSL launch.
“But I just think it’s not always about the grass being greener. It’s about making sure that you do the best you can to try and put Chelsea in a successful position.
“The main reason for staying was the belief that the coaching staff were going to recruit players to put us in a good position to be successful this year.
“I really believed in Emma Hayes and her plan for this season. We’ve got a very strong squad – a squad that should do well – so I’m glad I stayed.”
English quartet Rachel Williams, Laura Bassett, Gilly Flaherty and Katie Chapman have bolstered the West London club’s squad and Aluko is delighted with the new signings and the quality they will add to the side.
She said: “The additions to our team all bring something different. Rachel Williams is very strong powerful player and one of the best from set-pieces.
“Laura Bassett is one of the best captains I have ever played under and will certainly sure up our defence.”
That defence will have to be at its best on Sunday as defending champions Liverpool visit Staines FC after a 1-0 victory over league newcomers Manchester City on Thursday.
City’s finance and set-up has tempted some of England’s finest players to join their ranks, including new England captain, Steph Houghton and former Everton forward Toni Duggan.
Despite the array of international talent on show, City were undone by a solitary Natasha Dowie strike, fired home in the 70th minute by last season’s top scorer.
Elsewhere, Notts County played their first official home league fixture as County since controversially relocating from Lincoln at the end of last season. The home side took the lead through Jess Clarke only to be denied by a second-half equaliser by Arsenal and England defender, Alex Scott.
Birmingham City’s third clean sheet in four games helped them secure a point against Everton.
Newly appointed Blues club captain, Karen Carney posed a constant threat to the Everton back-line, but both sides lacked the cutting edge up-front to steal what would have been a hard-fought victory, settling for a point as the match finished 0-0.
Six teams are in action again on Sunday. For the full FAWSL fixture list visit: http://www.fawsl.com/matches.html
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