Underdogs run riot in latest WSL match week

(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Match-day 14 was certainly one to remember for the Women’s Super League underdogs.

Chelsea and Manchester United were dealt an unfamiliar taste of defeat, meanwhile Villa sealed their first home win. The top squads can thank Brighton and Reading for the upset to their phenomenal league form.

Iwabuchi punishes Spurs

In a bid to escape Championship football again, Aston Villa went up against Tottenham in a must-win fixture.

December signing Mana Iwabuchi was the name of the day, after she scored a stunning solo strike from the right flank. The curling effort from the Japanese international was the only goal of the game.

Spurs struggled to find a way back into the match to steal points, granting the Birmingham outfit their first home win of the season. After suffering heavy beatings from Man City and Chelsea, it’ll be a good result for the team to build on.

New appointment Marcus Bignot will be looking to pull his side from the bottom of the table – this win giving him the boost to do so. 

Brighton thwart the champions

Emma Hayes’ side were favourites to win their fixture – a run of form and continuous goals on their side. Despite the expectation of sealing three points, it was the away side who took the win home.

The south coast underdogs came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Kingsmeadow, with Aileen Wheelan and Megan Connolly printing their names on the scoresheet.

Hope Powell and Megan Connolly of Brighton | Copyright: Adam Davy

With only 23% of the possession and two shots on target, Chelsea’s 33 game unbeaten run was brought to an unlikely halt.

In comparison, with 697 passes and 30 shots at goal, the reigning league champions still fell short. Brighton now sit eighth in the table, slowly moving out of the relegation waters.

Reading’s glory in Manchester

Up north, Reading were the enemy when they served Manchester United their first home defeat since January 2020.

Stellar goals from Natasha Harding and Danielle Carter saw the Royals steal all three points. Unlike Chelsea, Casey Stoney’s side weren’t dominant in possession or shots taken. Although, it was set-piece galore for both winning sides.

Both of Reading’s goals came from corners and free-kicks, an Emma Mitchell assist at the double.

Kelly Chambers’ squad have proven themselves on numerous occasions this season, most recently sharing a point with league giants Arsenal. Results from both fixtures has helped boost them into sixth place in table. Could they contend for a top four finish?

Next round of fixtures

The next round of fixtures is bound to be just as exciting, as we are blessed with a battle of the top four.

Chelsea will be looking to bounce back as they host Arsenal on Wednesday. Two days later, the two Manchester outfits are due to meet on Friday. A league-defining week, four squads will be grinding it out to prove their place in the table.

Credit to @NWSLAnalitica for all statistics used.

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