After a well-behaved summer break, the Women’s Super League (WSL) returned on Sunday with an entertaining day full of goals, cards and debuts. These are the key talking points from the WSL weekend, along with some highlights from the European action.
Cards, cards, cards
As the WSL encourages referees to reflect on the men’s game and crack down on things like dissent and time-wasting, we saw an outpouring of caution over the weekend, with officials increasingly willing to pocket the kind of fouls that historically have been committed. Women have been overlooked in the game.
In fact, across six games, 17 yellow cards were handed out for various offences, including dissent with Aston Villa. Lucy Parker The first player booked this season in one match saw a total of six yellow cards issued by ref Rebecca Welch. It was a remarkable day in the WSL that saw two straight red cards — for Aston Villa Kirsty Hanson and Manchester City Leela Wahabi — which hasn’t happened in the league in more than a decade.
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As well as increased caution, as was the case at the Women’s World Cup this summer, enough time was added at the end of each half following new guidelines to close pages in play, meaning few teams played well over 100 minutes of football.
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish
On extra time, particularly at the end of the second half, there was late drama at Villa Park when Manchester United claimed all three points with a stoppage-time winner. Rachel Williams. After Villar’s Hanson was sent off by a high tackle on Hayley Ladd, the hosts stormed into a 1-0 lead. Rachel DalyLess shot of it. but Lucia Garcia United were level within minutes, converting from a corner and setting the scene for Williams’ dramatic late header. Nikita Paris‘Cross
The Red Devils are clearly picking up where they left off last year with their late, often game-changing, goals. Those heroics were absent for their rivals, however, as Everton (who lost 2-1 at home), Tottenham (who lost 2-1) and Arsenal (lost 1-0) all failed to find a similar late goal against Brighton, Chelsea and . Liverpool respectively.
Lots of goals
With nearly every WSL team looking to strengthen over the summer to fill some voids and create some parity, there was a flurry of goals throughout the day’s play as well.
Only Manchester City (2-0 winners at West Ham) and Liverpool (1-0 winners at Arsenal) managed to keep their sheets clean on Sunday afternoon, thanks to improved attacks across the league. Daley, last season’s Golden Boot winner scored his first WSL goal of the campaign when he got the better of the Man United keeper. Mary Earps. And both Spurs and Leicester — two teams who struggled for goals last campaign — would have been relieved to see what was in the back of their new recruits’ net bags, a memorable day for new signings.
Martha Thomas Scored for Tottenham in a losing effort, when Jill Roord The scoring started for Man City in their win, but Foxes boss Willie Kirk will probably be happiest with his new players: three of his summer recruits, Amy Palmer, Lena Peterman And Shoe Rantla He scored on his Leicester City debut in a 4–2 win at Bristol City.
Debutantes have a ball
In terms of new faces, it was a Sunday to remember as many of the summer signings came up big for their new clubs.
The tone was set in the first game of the afternoon. Gays Picked up where he left off at Barcelona with direct balls for Manchester United, running through defenses and causing panic among Villa defenders who struggled to contain him. But it wasn’t just the Brazilian international who starred at Villa Park: the Villanesses’ new number 1, the Dutch international Daphne Van DomselerMade a string of eye-catching saves to keep the visitors frustrated until their late breakthrough.
In the West Country, Rantala stole the show for the Foxes after coming on at half-time for the visitors. The Finnish international played a key role in Leicester’s strong second-half display, scoring four minutes after the restart and adding a second seven minutes into strong debuts for both teams.
At Stamford Bridge, Mia is a fish Played for hosts Chelsea and Thomas impressed the crowd; Both scored well as the Blues won 2-1. However, as a Spurs winger it’s not just about goalscorers Olga Ahtinen and Chelsea midfielder Sjoeke Nüsken Strong WSL debut as well.
It was a similar story in north London, where Liverpool’s 1-0 win was punctuated with key performances from debutant Miri Taylor (who grabbed the only goal of the game) and Austrian midfielder Marie Hobinger, despite Arsenal’s summer signings remaining. Next game to impress. The biggest joy, though, was a record WSL crowd for the Gunners’ opener, as 54,115 turned up for Sunday’s clash, only for the visitors to take the three points.
Across London, Roord put in a vintage performance for Manchester City on his return to Super League, scoring City’s second goal in a dominant performance against the Irons.
As well as a busy day in the WSL, Sunday saw plenty of action across the continent
Usually departing after the first round of fixtures, champions Lyon clash with familiar foes Paris Saint-Germain for the first time on Sunday evening. Abhishek handed over to the new star striker Tabitha ChawingaThe Parisians enjoyed a spell of their first chances in the game before Lyon found a gear to exploit their opponents, thanks to a 1-0 winner. Eugenie Le SommerIts 20th minute strike.
In Germany, Wolfsburg were put through their paces at the Waldstadion, twice coming from behind against Eintracht Frankfurt, and dominated the match thanks in no small part to a stunning strike. Lena Oberdorf And Joel Wedemeyer. The 4-2 win left Wolfsburg in an advantageous position at the start of the season as champions Bayern dropped points in their first outing, 2-2 result vs. Freiburg.
Meanwhile, in Liga F, Spanish juggernauts Barcelona were going through their paces against a resilient Huelva side, ensuring a closing margin across the women’s football landscape. It took an own goal by Ana Carroll in the 92nd minute to seal Barca’s victory after end by Laia ballast Things got a little nervous.