The games are coming thick and fast for me at the moment.
The past two weeks have both included midweek fixtures and, for those players who also have been selected for the upcoming international window, there is no rest in sight.
By no means is this a complaint.
The players involved very much appreciate the return of competitive action and know many would love to swap places and have the chance to be back playing and competing.
I know a lot of sporting activity continues to be halted as a result of government guidelines over Covid-19.
However, the now intense schedule is coming with the collateral damage of injuries and fatigue, which is affecting some teams more than others.
I was given a partial rest on Wednesday as I was on the bench for Birmingham City’s Continental Cup match against lower-league opponents, Blackburn Rovers, along with a few other first-choice picks.
It wasn’t a complete night off, however, as a triple change was considered necessary on the hour mark by the manager in order to ensure we secured all three points and avoided a slight embarrassment.
The game finished 1-0 thanks to substitute striker Claudia Walker finally breaking the deadlock in the 83rd minute.
The depth in our squad was probably tested and it highlighted some areas which perhaps need strengthening.
Our most significant change was a first start for goalkeeper Danielle Kosinska, who only signed hours before kick-off, after an injury to our current starting number one, Hannah Hampton, which occurred in our weekend game.
Elsewhere in the cup, there were a few tastier fixtures which took place on the same night as our meeting with Blackburn. The London derby was the most exciting one, as Chelsea faced Arsenal.
Arsenal arguably lost their title in last season’s league proceedings due to their inability to beat the other top clubs. After a tough result last week against Man City in the FA Cup semi-final, this would be another big test for the Gunners.
The outcome would be all too familiar.
The game got off to a ferocious start, with three goals in the first 10 minutes and Chelsea taking a 2-1 lead. Things would only get worse for Arsenal, as the game ended 4-1 to the Blues.
Arsenal are suffering once again from having a few of their top players missing due to injury. This has been all too common for a club who have spent extensively to build a squad which should be able to compete on all fronts. The starting XI was, like ours, an unusual one, and was missing Kim Little, Steph Catley, Lydia Williams and Lisa Evans, as well as Jordan Nobbs and Jill Roord.
Arsenal were only able to name five subs on their bench, compared to Chelsea’s star-studded nine.
Results over the past week certainly send some warning signs for manager, Joe Montemurro, who will want to try to protect his squad to ensure similar results don’t continue in the coming weeks as the league resumes.
Lisa Evans will be loss for Euro qualifying resumption
Shelley Kerr has announced her squad to face Albania and Finland in the upcoming Scotland Euro qualifying fixtures.
The group is very similar to the one selected back in March for the Pinatar Cup, which was the last time the squad were all together.
Kim Little and Jen Beattie both return after they missed out in the earlier camp due to injury, but Arsenal team-mate Lisa Evans will sadly be missing with a persistant calf injury.
Meanwhile, Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 and 2, due to start next weekend, will thankfully be exempt from the latest Scottish Government restrictions banning adult contact sport in the Central Belt, as they fall under the category of professional sport.
Women’s fight for football acceptance goes on
Some tough reading through the week, as Women in Football released their survey results from a study involving 4,000 women who work in the industry.
As I read the headline online saying two-thirds of women in football say they have experienced discrimination, I was saddened, but, more worryingly, I then caught myself thinking 66% actually sounded reasonably low. This perhaps says a lot about the extent of my personal experiences in the game.
I do further fear the number is in fact substantially higher and many simply overlook some of the treatment they are subjected to, deeming it bearable or rationalising it as “better than it used to be”.
Over 81% of those surveyed also acknowledged facing gender-related obstacles in their career, alongside experiencing gender-stereotyping.
The evidence shows we must continue to work hard to make small and steady progress, aiming to create different experiences for those who come after us.
Things need to be improved when It comes to reporting negative experieces and a large part of this requires better channels for safeguarding those individuals involved in those processes.
The study identified only 12% reported instances of discrimination. It will be hard to make impactful change if these behaviours are not called-out and removed from the day-to-day football world.