Women’s Super League matchweek 8 preview

Emma Hayes‘ Chelsea side remain top of the Women’s Super League for another week. Will they keep their first-place spot after this weekend’s games?

Friday

Brighton vs Reading – 19:45

This matchweek is very spread out thanks to Brighton and Birmingham having their games on Friday and Wednesday.

Reading are in good form at the moment and beat West Ham last week despite going 2-0 down and having Rachel Rowe sent off.

Reading won 4-1 in this fixture last year. However, things may be different this time around with how different the teams look.

(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Marie Hourihan scored an own-goal to give Reading the lead last season. She now plays for SC Braga. Gemma Davison, who scored the fourth, now plays for Spurs.

Despite only winning one game so far this season, Brighton are four points away from the relegation zone. However, they should probably view this game as a good opportunity to get some points.

Reading looked defensively fragile at times last weekend and Brighton may be able to capitalise through players like Kayleigh Green.

Sunday

Arsenal vs Bristol City – 12:30

It was only last week that these two sides faced each other in the Continental Cup with the Gunners winning 7-0.

The Vixens will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that result as they travel to Meadow Park to take on an Arsenal side that is really flourishing.

Vivianne Miedema scored a brace against Bristol when the sides met last week. She and captain Kim Little combined to score four goals.

Bristol are yet to win a game in the league this season but have drawn three of their seven WSL fixtures so far. They’ve also conceded more goals than any other team in the league.

Their 5-0 loss to Manchester City last week did not help that statistic and they face a tough challenge away to an Arsenal side that are looking to keep the pressure on league leaders Chelsea.

Everton vs Chelsea – 12:30

Chelsea do not look like slowing down this season whatsoever. Emma Hayes’ side look ruthless every time they step on the pitch.

Last week they put six past a Birmingham side that did not perform like a team that had lost 6-0. Yet Chelsea did it anyway.

Hayes has instilled a winning mentality with the players at Chelsea and it is reflected by them being top of the league. Going into the season, it was widely accepted that it would be Arsenal and Manchester City fighting it out for the title.

Chelsea playing so well makes for a different beast of a title race.

(Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Saying that, you should definitely not write Everton off here. The Toffees have won two in a row, including an impressive 3-1 win over Spurs last week and a victory in the first WSL Merseyside derby at Anfield.

They completely played Spurs off the park last week and looked deservedly like the side that currently sits in fourth in the WSL.

It will be an indicator of how big the gap between the top three and everyone else is when these two sides meet on Sunday.

Manchester City vs Liverpool – 14:00

Laura Coombs could make her first league start for Man City as they welcome her former side Liverpool to the Academy stadium.

Nick Cushing said after Man City’s 4-1 win over Everton in the Continental Cup that Coombs was close to a start in the league. However, she remained an unused substitute against Bristol City last weekend.

(Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Liverpool are still at the foot of the table with one point from seven games. The Reds have struggled in attack this season and keep leaking goals.

Last weekend’s performance against Arsenal should provide hope for better performances down the line.

This is the second in a tough run of games for Liverpool. They play West Ham, Durham and Chelsea in their next three games before the winter break.

Man City, alongside Arsenal, are desperate to keep up with Chelsea. Dropping points anywhere could be catastrophic in a title challenge. Especially with Man City facing Chelsea next weekend.

West Ham vs Manchester United – 15:00

West Ham have been beaten twice in the row in the league by sides that have had sendings off.

First, it was Manchester City who won 5-0, with Georgia Stanway getting two yellows. The Hammers later blew a 2-0 lead against Reading after Rachel Rowe was given her marching orders.

West Ham have won their last two Conti Cup games but have lost three times on the bounce in the WSL.

(Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Things don’t get much easier for the Hammers as they welcome Casey Stoney’s in-form Manchester United to Rush Green.

Other than their loss to Chelsea, Manchester United have a 100% win rate in all competitions since September 17. This includes wins against Everton, Reading and cross-town rivals Manchester City.

Millie Turner and Abbie McManus have been huge in this impressive run for Manchester United. Their defence is extremely solid. They’ve only conceded four goals this season.

It will be a tough task for Adriana Leon and Jacynta Galabadaraachchi to make big things happen but you can’t write off the Hammers just yet.

Worth noting that Lauren James is one yellow card away from suspension.

Wednesday

Birmingham vs Spurs – 19:30

And finally, way off in the future… Birmingham host Spurs on Wednesday. It was originally scheduled for Sunday.

The game’s date has had to be changed as a result of Solihull Moors playing Rotherham in the FA Cup on Monday at Damson Park.

The Blues are hoping to see a turn in their fortunes after a sobering 6-0 loss to Chelsea last weekend.

(Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

Spurs, on the other hand, lost 3-1 against Everton last week and will also have to see a change in play-style to get back to winning ways.

Everton dominated Spurs on and off the ball but the North London side will be hoping to see more of the ball when they face Birmingham.

Kerys Harrop and Sarah Mayling missed out last week, whilst Rachel Williams sat on the bench for the entire game. Marta Tejedor will be hoping to have a healthier squad for the visit of Spurs.