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

Kelly outshines World Cup winner on WSL debut for City

Manchester City’s two new imported United States World Cup winners may be the talk of the town but Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle are not the only stellar signings made by Gareth Taylor this summer. At a time when the Etihad Campus rumour mill buzzes with suggestions that Lucy Bronze is on the brink of returning to City from Lyon, Chloe Kelly’s arrival from Everton went slightly under radar. Or at least it did until she began dancing down the left wing at Villa Park and everyone could see precisely why the 22-year-old is now part of the England squad. With Mewis’s superior one-touch passing suggesting she is already at home, Lavelle emerging from quarantine, Bronze’s homecoming possibly imminent and much more to come from Georgia Stanway – the scorer of both visiting goals – Taylor’s team seem capable of pushing Chelsea all the way in the title race. Louise Taylor

Arsenal start ‘toughest season’ in best possible way

The Arsenal head coach, Joe Montemurro, said before the start of the season that this might well be the toughest WSL season yet – considering the signings made by the top clubs – and suggested that any dropped points would be costly in the end. Against Reading on Sunday, his players heeded that warning and took the lead after 15 minutes, were 3-0 up by half-time and eventually won 6-1. Arsenal have strengthened too in the summer – and two of the new signings started against Reading, Steph Catley and Noëlle Maritz – but it was Jill Roord who stole the show with her hat-trick. The Netherlands midfielder, who arrived in 2019, scored two league goals all season – although it was curtailed – in 2019-20 and is, according to Montemurro, a master at finding space. A positive start for the Gunners, but tougher assignments awaits. Marcus Christenson



Jill Roord of Arsenal shoots under pressure. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty Images

Quality – not quantity – on the bench rescues point for United

Manchester United’s stadium announcer clearly had a sense of humour when referring to an empty Leigh Sports Village as a theatre of dreams, though at least he had the grace to keep the volume muted when the teams came out to the Stone Roses’ This Is The One. There are not many other similarities at the moment between what goes on at Old Trafford and what is happening in the United women’s team, as their head coach Casey Stoney cheerfully accepted before this fixture. Yet in the best traditions of the club this version of United knows how to keep going. Stoney’s players refused to be daunted by Chelsea’s status at champions or the classy first-half goal that earned them the lead. Due to injuries there were only five substitutes on the United bench to nine on that of the visitors, though one of them, Jackie Groenen, was responsible for setting up the 79th-minute chance that Leah Galton put away to earn a point. By the time record Chelsea signing Pernille Harder came on United were back in the game, largely thanks to Stoney using her substitutes so shrewdly. Paul Wilson

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Game on! ⚽️@ManUtdWomen equalise through @leah_galton21 🔴

Will we see a late winner?#BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/rJXrhlkhtc


September 6, 2020

Hammers’ wait for a derby win goes on

West Ham’s search for a first WSL London derby win continues but Matt Beard’s team at least got a point from their trip to Tottenham, courtesy of a mesmerising second-half goal from Adriana Leon. West Ham had just fallen behind to a Grace Fisk own goal when the Canadian picked up the ball wide on the left, broke into the Spurs penalty area and, surrounded by three home players, somehow managed to find the far top corner with a sumptuous right-footed strike. West Ham had a few chances to win the game towards the end but Beard accepted that a draw was probably a fair result. Seven of his eight summer signings played against Spurs and with more time there are surely more fluid performances to come. MC

Adrianna Leon of West Ham.



Adriana Leon of West Ham. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Everton target early points to gain momentum

Outside the top three Everton have arguably made the most impressive signings in the summer and started off their league campaign in the best possible way with a 4-0 win at Bristol City. The Everton head coach, Willie Kirk, picked out one of the summer arrivals, the Norwegian right-back Ingrid Moe Wold, who joined from Madrid CFF, as the unsung hero of the day. “She’s not flashy but she just does her job tremendously well,” he said. Another signing, Valérie Gauvin, scored the fourth and with a relatively kind run of games ahead Kirk is hoping the good start to the season continues. “I think the fixture list has given us a chance to start the season well because it’s five games before we play any of the top three – or anyone who finished above us last season,” Kirk said. MC


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