Birmingham City are defying the odds by leading their Continental Cup group after two games.
The Blues have both Manchester clubs, Everton and Leicester City in their group. After wins in both of their two opening games, they top the pile.
Birmingham are yet to win any points in the league this season. Their two Cup wins could be the catalyst to some resurgent performances in the league.
The Group C leaders have beaten both Everton and Leicester so far this season despite taking a loss to the Toffees in the league.
They still have to play both Manchester United and Manchester City in the Cup. They will still have to play out of their skin to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
The most important thing that Birmingham will hope to get out of their good early campaign form in the Conti Cup will be the belief that they can win points in the Women’s Super League.
Beating Everton would have been a massive confidence boost for Marta Tejedor’s side. However, they had to travel to Manchester City in their next game and lost 3-0.
Now Birmingham have a much better chance of kicking on after a Conti Cup win. The Blues play Liverpool this weekend in a clash of the two bottom sides in the WSL.
The game could easily turn out to be a relegation six-pointer, with both sides yet to pick up a win in the WSL this campaign.
Birmingham have never lost their opening four WSL games of a season. They’ll hope this omen comes back to help them this weekend.
With the exception of the City game, all of Birmingham’s games have been tight contests. They lost 1-0 to both Everton and West Ham.
A different Birmingham
Considering the position that Birmingham were left in at the start of the season, it’s incredibly impressive that Birmingham have been able to win any games so far this season.
Ellen White and Aoife Mannion both departed the club and Lucy Staniforth handed in a transfer request. That would have been enough to rock any side to the core.
Luckily for Birmingham, since not being able to fashion a move away, Staniforth has put her head down and been incredible so far this season.
Staniforth – alongside Rachel Williams – has been the driving force of any good that Birmingham have done so far this season. They both scored twice as Birmingham smashed Leicester in the Conti Cup last weekend.
Williams was the one to get the only goal when they beat Everton, too.
If anyone is going to score Birmingham’s first goal of the WSL season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better bet than either of those.
It will also be the class of Staniforth and Williams that will be the biggest reasons Birmingham could survive relegation this season.
It’s not about the dog in the fight
The other reason will be how much belief the team has in itself. It’s clear that everyone in the team plays for each other.
Completely disregarding the situation they find themselves in, Birmingham have a true belief in themselves.
There’s a certain “never say die” attitude that radiates from the squad. To be fair, they have no reason not to believe in themselves. They’ve got nothing to lose now.
Birmingham have lost so much as a club in the last two seasons and them surviving the drop this season will be one of the best feel-good stories in recent memory.