Chelsea have regained their spot at the top of the FAWSL table despite ending their unbeaten record last weekend against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The slip-up ended the incredible run of 33-games unbeaten and offered a glimmer of hope for the teams chasing behind them, but perhaps only briefly.
The Blues returned to their winning ways on Wednesday as they brushed Arsenal aside at home to give themselves some breathing space at the top of the Super League. The 3-0 win was a bold statement from Emma Hayes’ side, who were relentless in how they ensured the three points.
Arsenal’s only real opportunity came early in the game after some casual play at the back from Millie Bright gave Vivianne Miedema an opportunity to drive at goal, but Ann-Katrin Berger did well to save her low effort and divert the danger.
While Arsenal kept the ball well and looked comfortable in possession, they remained vulnerable to the speed and fluidity of Chelsea’s attack. The stalemate at half-time was inevitably not going to continue.
It didn’t take long into the second period before there was an opener and it came from Chelsea’s playmaker, Pernille Harder. After a neat combination with Fran Kirby, her long-range effort seemed to catch Lydia Williams off-guard, as it nestled into the corner. The Arsenal goalkeeper might have hoped to have done better as the effort bounced beyond her reach.
Ten minutes later and Harder grabbed her second, deflating any hopes that Arsenal would get anything out of the game. Again, it was Kirby who was the provider and this time Harder smashed her cutback high into the roof of the net from inside the box.
The pace of Kirby and Sam Kerr offered a threat all game and it was the former who completed her perfect performance with a goal to sign off on the night. She raced through from just inside the Arsenal half and passed the ball calmly passed Williams as the clock hit 90-minutes.
The win meant they restored their three-point lead at the top of the table, as Manchester United slipped up against Reading at the weekend.
Manchester City sit a further two points behind their rivals United, but have a game in hand and are arguably on their hottest form since the League returned last September.
The club has spent substantially over the last six months, and it is finally looking like it is starting to fall into place for City manager, Gareth Taylor.
The expectations over the summer signings of Lucy Bronze from Lyon, Chloe Kelly from Everton and American duo Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle are starting to be fulfilled. The heavy investment will be deemed worthwhile if they can keep on top form and, at the moment, they look the only likely challenger for Chelsea.
City have won their last six league games in a row and will go second if they take all three points in their game in hand, cutting Chelsea’s lead to just two.
Scotland squad meet-up is start of rebuilding job and it’s great to see Ellon’s Natalie Ross involved
Normally, this FIFA window offers sides an opportunity to play non-qualifying “international challenge” games.
However, we have two Euro qualifying matches to play, but, with qualification not possible, it is a chance to start the journey of rebuilding some confidence and refining standards to uncover the squad’s best capabilities again.
Because of the current challenges when travelling within Europe, players playing club football outside of the UK were not included.
I had already agreed with my parent club Kansas City to allow for me to be available for this window. The NWSL season is not due to begin until April, so I have continued my early pre-season schedule remotely, following my time on loan with Birmingham City.
Two relatively new inclusions in the squad are Celtic’s Lisa Robertson and Natalie Ross.
I grew up playing with and against Natalie, who is originally from Ellon. She has already won 11 Scotland caps.
Her inclusion has been merited by her consistent form and also comes because the Scotland squad has been hit with injuries to its more familiar midfield of Christie Murray, Kim Little and Chloe Arthur.