Nick Cushing’s farewell tour off to a winning start
The big news in women’s football this week was the announcement that Nick Cushing is leaving his role as head coach of Manchester City to take up the role of assistant manager at New York City’s men’s side.
The 35-year-old will take up his new job next month so his last game in charge of the Citizens will be their crucial game against Arsenal on 2nd February. His farewell tour began on Saturday as his side comfortably beat Everton 3-1 thanks to a Pauline Bremer brace and a scrappy Gemma Bonner goal.
Cushing described the win as “professional” and the victory means his side remain just three points behind FA WSL leaders Arsenal but Chelsea in third are just a point behind with a game in hand.
A second WSL title seems unlikely, but Cushing will be hoping to set up his side for at least a second-place finish and Champions League qualification.
Tottenham keeping pace with ‘best of the rest’
Arsenal, Chelsea are Manchester City are firmly established as the ‘big three’ in the WSL so for the rest of the sides fourth place is realistically the ceiling.
Since the formation of Manchester United’s women’s team at the beginning of last season they have been seen as the team with the financial clout to challenge the established order.
However, Tottenham Hotspur currently occupy fifth just a point behind Reading in fourth after overcoming West Ham United 2-1 on Sunday. Arsenal loanee Emma Mitchell opened the scoring for Spurs with a curled shot from outside the box on the half-hour mark.
The Hammers equalised through a smart Kenza Dali finish in the 90th minute but Tottenham secured the three points in stoppage time through Rianna Dean.
Man Utd and Everton are one point behind Spurs and have a game in hand but that shouldn’t detract from the strides that Karen Hills’ side have made after winning promotion from the FA Women’s Championship.
Chelsea hit Bristol City for six but still conceded
Chelsea came from behind against Bristol City 6-1 at Kingsmeadow on Sunday to keep pace with Man City and Arsenal at the top of the table.
It was manager Emma Hayes’ 200th game in charge of the Blues after eight years at the club. Hayes was more than pleased by her side’s attacking display that saw them score four goals in the first half after Ebony Salmon opened the scoring for the visitors in the 15th minute.
However, the Chelsea boss was less than impressed with her side’s defence who have only kept four clean sheets this season.
Speaking after the games Hayes said: "I’ve still got a problem with conceding the first goal in the game, and that’s a big problem we’re not eliminating which is a huge concern for me. I can’t put my finger on it.”
Chelsea face league leaders Arsenal next week and their defence will need to improve to keep the league’s top scorers quiet.
Rest of the action
Arsenal made it nine WSL wins in a row with a comprehensive 4-1 away victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.
First half goals from Dutch teammates Danielle Van De Donk and Jill Roord set the tone for Arsenal. Jordan Nobbs and Beth Mead completed the rout in the second half.
Amalie Eikeland’s audacious chip ensured her side beat Birmingham City 1-0 at Adams Park. The result meant Reading moved up to seventh while it was Birmingham’s seventh defeat in 10 games.
Liverpool’s game with Man Utd was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.