Man Utd are on course for the Champions League! Winners and losers as the Women’s Super League signs off for Christmas

 

 

 

  • We’re set for a thrilling race for the title and European spots when the WSL resumes in the New Year… Chelsea will be top of the Women’s Super League for Christmas, with Arsenal and Manchester United behind them in the Champions League places as the league signed off for the year on Sunday.
  • The Blues beat Reading in the final WSL game of 2022, while the Gunners saw off Aston Villa and United shared the spoils with Manchester City in a thrilling derby at the Etihad Stadium.
  • Another fixture between two local rivals rounded off a reduced round of fixtures, West Ham defeating Spurs, while both Brighton vs Everton and Liverpool vs Leicester succumbed to the cold weather.

 

  • Manchester United have put themselves in a superb position in their bid for a Women’s Champions League place with their performances and results in the first half of the season – boxing off the WSL for the year with a point at the Etihad in Sunday’s Manchester derby.
  • They’ve played so much better this season in these games against last year’s top three, games which will be crucial for them to keep their place in the European spots.
  • Their defeat at home to Chelsea was disappointing, but Sunday’s draw was added to an impressive and dramatic win at the Emirates over Arsenal last month.
  • United are three points clear of fourth-placed City and will play two of these ‘big’ games on their own patch after the New Year.
  • They’ve shown they have the ability to finish in that top three – and there’s a feeling they can get even better, too.

 

LOSER: Yui Hasegawa

  • Since her summer move from West Ham, Yui Hasegawa has settled well in Manchester – but you can’t help but feel her ability and influence on a game is limited by the role she has assumed in this City team.
  • Following Keira Walsh’s record-breaking move to Barcelona, the role of the deepest midfielder is up for grabs and not many believed Hasegawa, a more creative playmaking type, would be the one to fill it.
  • But the Japan international can’t hurt teams like she’s capable of here.
  • On Sunday, she only completed nine passes that ended in the final third and didn’t create a single chance.
  • She’s doing well in City blue – but is this the position where she is best?

 

WINNER: West Ham

  • Victory over Tottenham means West Ham will finish 2022 in fifth in the WSL, only behind the ‘big four’ of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.
  • Things have been difficult for the Hammers lately.
  • They went into this game having lost three of their last five fixtures – and in the two they did win, they didn’t play particularly well.
  • Paul Konchesky’s side weren’t at their best in this game with Spurs, either, but neither were their London rivals and West Ham were able to grind out a great three points that lifted them above Aston Villa and into the top five.
  • There is Continental Cup game to contend with before Christmas, but this victory was a solid one for the team to end their year with in the league.

 

LOSER: Spurs’ attack

  • Last season, Spurs impressed many with their fifth-placed finish, but their big problem was that they didn’t have a regular goalscorer to convert the chances they were creating.
  • After they beat Brighton 8-0, things looked much better.
  • Attacking players were off the mark for the season and boosted in confidence by such a result.
  • But that problem appears to be back now.
  • They were the better team in the first half against West Ham and carved open several opportunities, but they didn’t put them away and the Hammers put on a better second-half showing to win 2-0.Head coach Rehanne Skinner will surely be eyeing up some attacking reinforcements in January to try and improve the team’s fortunes in the opposition’s half as they’ve only scored 11 goals in eight games this season – and eight of those were in one outing.

 

 

WINNER: Lotte Wubben-Moy

  • Arsenal have had to battle through a difficult few weeks due to injuries, particularly because of the absences of their two starting centre-backs Leah Williamson and Rafaelle.
  • However, when one door closes another one opens, and it’s been a terrific few weeks for Lotte Wubben-Moy, who has stepped in and done a truly fantastic job to help steady a ship that could’ve been rocked much more by those missing.
  • Now that both Williamson and Rafaelle are back, head coach Jonas Eidevall has a tough decision to make – one that is only being made tougher by how well Wubben-Moy is doing while her two team-mates are being eased back into action.
  • She has had to flip from right centre-back to left centre-back depending on whether she starts with the captain of England or Brazil, and then again during the game as the other is subbed on – as has been the case in the last couple of games.
  • Now, Eidevall has a big decision to make on his starting duo when all are capable of playing 90 minutes again.

 

 

LOSER: Aston Villa

  • The first score update from Aston Villa’s game against Arsenal on Sunday was a surprising one: the hosts had taken the lead.
  • Arsenal equalised, then it went 2-1, 3-1 and eventually 4-1, as the Gunners ended the day with a rather comfortable victory.
  • Villa attacked well and caused problems with the offensive weapons they have, particularly through Kenza Dali, but the way they threw away their lead was disappointing from a defensive perspective.
  • As for the third, a combination of poor marking – with goal-scorer Katie McCabe completely untracked – and Hampton’s save being directed into the middle of her box proved costly, while Jordan Nobbs was again given all the space in the world to sweep home number four.
  • It will have been tough for head coach Carla Ward to watch as she knows how defensively solid her team can be, even if Arsenal are a quality team.

 

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