WSL 20/21 | Brighton v United - 2pm Sun 4 April

jojojo

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Today's match is on FAPlayer. Free, but you need to register - https://faplayer.thefa.com/home/all

With qualification for Europe no longer in our own hands - because it's likely that Arsenal won't drop any more points this season - all we can do is keep winning.

Brighton are comfortably safe in the league but lost 5-0 to Everton last weekend. They beat Chelsea 2-1 in February though, so they'll be ready for this.
 

Maestro14

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Just four senior players on the bench. Injuries have really been a problem this season. I hope it's just an unlucky coincidence.
 

jojojo

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Lauren James goes off injured - Lucy Staniforth comes on. Our injury list just doesn't stop growing. Still Brighton leading 1-0.
 

kundalini

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It will be interesting to see Thorisdottir playing alongside Millie Turner.
I was surprised by the enthusiasm on here when Maria signed, having barely played for Chelsea in recent years and I'm afraid she's been rubbish for us so far. Perhaps she'll be a Vidic/Evra signing who comes good after struggling early on.

Sigsworth and Martha Harris look like they wouldn't make it into Brighton's team.

A lot of our players are struggling to control the ball on a difficult pitch. I thought Millie she have scored her header from Lucy Staniforth's wide free-kick.
 

Maestro14

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Really poor first half. Only two decent chances, and they both fell to Turner. Our midfield needs to step up. We're just giving the ball away far too easily.
 

RORY65

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It's still really poor by us with only 20 minutes left and unless we score at least once the CL is definitely gone, I'm not sure we've played well (barring maybe the first half at Everton) this calendar year. Once a couple of key players got injured it showed that this squad still needs quite a lot of work, some of the players who were with us from the beginning have served the club well but I think we've moved beyond them now.
 

DomesticTadpole

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It's still really poor by us with only 20 minutes left and unless we score at least once the CL is definitely gone, I'm not sure we've played well (barring maybe the first half at Everton) this calendar year. Once a couple of key players got injured it showed that this squad still needs quite a lot of work, some of the players who were with us from the beginning have served the club well but I think we've moved beyond them now.
Who do you think needs replacing? Think Casey is finding out who just is not up to competing at the top level. Unfortunately the injuries we have are to the players who make a difference. We are obviously struggling to score and we really are missing Leah Galton.
 

Lightbringer

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Lauren James injuries is a also a major problem, we cant rely on her being one our leading forwards. Clearly she is fragile and with the body type she has she will be prone to injuries because she is heavy built. We need to bring in 2 QUALITY strikers for next season. Sadly Sigsworth, Ross and Harris needs to be replaced. And probably Heath and Press as well, so we will need to add plenty of players. And we´ll need top notch players if we are going to compete with the top 3, its going to a massive challend to get the players that we need when we need so many of them. We also need to bolster our squad without replacing, so a big silly season coming up.

In addition, Earps is a mediocre goalkeeper, I was stunned when we extended her, hopefully she wont be our 1st goalkeeper for her whole contract, that would not be good. If Thorisdottir is a bust, we are in even more trouble.
 
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jojojo

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Painful result and it looks like our League season is basically over.

If our form and our results before Christmas exaggerated how good we are, our form since Christmas has fallen off a cliff. Some of it has been about squad depth in the face of injuries to key players, but some of it has been that we just don't look good enough overall to displace one of the top three as yet.

I guess it's good news that we're actually disappointed that it looks like we'll have to settle for fourth, but this really has been a very disappointing second half to the season. I'm not even feeling optimistic about the Cup any more.
 

Andersons Dietician

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Painful result and it looks like our League season is basically over.

If our form and our results before Christmas exaggerated how good we are, our form since Christmas has fallen off a cliff. Some of it has been about squad depth in the face of injuries to key players, but some of it has been that we just don't look good enough overall to displace one of the top three as yet.

I guess it's good news that we're actually disappointed that it looks like we'll have to settle for fourth, but this really has been a very disappointing second half to the season. I'm not even feeling optimistic about the Cup any more.
I think to be fair even Casey has said that they are a year ahead of where they really expected to be. The injuries to Heath and Russo really seem to have blunted us and some just look really out of form.

We lost a lot of fire power with Heath and Russo being injured, James had a few injuries this season as well so all in all I feel like it’s been good but just not quite at the experience or consistent level of the big 3. Easily beat any of them on any given day but just feel like when you compare them the others look more seasoned.

Today how that header before half-time wasn’t scored. Think it was Millie, just had to let it hit her face and it probably goes in. Then there was another later Sigsworth should have scored. Just wasn’t to be. Unfortunate but still look how far they’ve come in such a short time and surely only going to get better.

Worst part is I was really hoping we’d get champs league so we had a better chance of Press and Heath staying.
 

kundalini

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Depressing performance. Not really a surprise given our form since Christmas. We had the chances to win but our finishing was terrible.

The list of players that should probably move on in the summer gets longer after almost every game right now. Hard to make a case for Jess Sigsworth or Martha Harris being here next season after that match.
 

Lightbringer

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Worst part is I was really hoping we’d get champs league so we had a better chance of Press and Heath staying.
Do we really want Heath and Press staying? Heath will be 33.5 years old when next season starts and she relys on speed, she is beginning to trend downhill in that regard. Press a bit younger but have shown signs of slowing down and to be honest she has been pretty terrible during her time here. Press also managed to be sick or injured almost all season long. If there are younger quality players that fit into our long term plans I would go that route, in hindsight we should have done that this season. The Heath & Press experiment was a failure, chances are it wont be better next year, and its still very much a short term solution which would have made more sense if we were challenging for the league and Champions league title, which we clearly are not.
 

Lightbringer

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Depressing performance. Not really a surprise given our form since Christmas. We had the chances to win but our finishing was terrible.

The list of players that should probably move on in the summer gets longer after almost every game right now. Hard to make a case for Jess Sigsworth or Martha Harris being here next season after that match.
I remember when Marta Harris came back from her long injury spell, and Lotta Okvist was immediately dropped even though she was in game form while Martha had not played a game in forever. I just never realized why Harrris is getting what it seems preferential treatment from Casey. Stoney does have her favourites that seem to get playing time not always on merit or performance, I hope it wont hurt the team in the long run.
 

RORY65

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Do we really want Heath and Press staying? Heath will be 33.5 years old when next season starts and she relys on speed, she is beginning to trend downhill in that regard. Press a bit younger but have shown signs of slowing down and to be honest she has been pretty terrible during her time here. Press also managed to be sick or injured almost all season long. If there are younger quality players that fit into our long term plans I would go that route, in hindsight we should have done that this season. The Heath & Press experiment was a failure, chances are it wont be better next year, and its still very much a short term solution which would have made more sense if we were challenging for the league and Champions league title, which we clearly are not.
We've lacked depth this year, I wouldn't want to lose those two if there was a chance of keeping them particularly given no Champions League is going to make it harder to bring in a whole load of quality young players. Heath was excellent until she got injured, not just in terms of the much greater quality she provided but her pressing and intensity really helped the team and it's not a surprise we've dropped off partially because she's been missing. Press I would more agree but it seems like they're a package deal, you either get both or neither and I'd much rather have both with the hope that with a proper preseason we might get a top class striker in Press alongside the other options we have currently.

They're not the issue with this side, it's the likes of Sigsworth, Harris and Zelem still playing quite often (as you noted Casey does seem quite loyal to her favourites but hopefully she will learn from that - she's still relatively new to management) and the lack of numbers in certain areas that have killed us.
 

Andersons Dietician

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Do we really want Heath and Press staying? Heath will be 33.5 years old when next season starts and she relys on speed, she is beginning to trend downhill in that regard. Press a bit younger but have shown signs of slowing down and to be honest she has been pretty terrible during her time here. Press also managed to be sick or injured almost all season long. If there are younger quality players that fit into our long term plans I would go that route, in hindsight we should have done that this season. The Heath & Press experiment was a failure, chances are it wont be better next year, and its still very much a short term solution which would have made more sense if we were challenging for the league and Champions league title, which we clearly are not.
Heath when fit was easily our best player. Recent outings Press has certainly looked better than what she did first half of the season and I’m not sure about the slowing down bit as Press has looked ridiculously quick.

In the end I suppose it was a move akin to bringing in Zlatan in the men’s team. To winners to impart knowledge upon a young team and help them develop. I wouldn’t be worried if they stayed another season. I think it would be a good thing and in champions league there experience invaluable. However most likely they’ll leave now.
 

Andersons Dietician

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Sigsworth, Harris and Zelem still playing quite often
I know she had Covid and we don’t really know how that has affected her but yeah, she has looked a bit off it this season. Hoping it’s just something to do with the layoff or maybe playing out of position for Toone and she can get back to the form of a few seasons ago. As no doubt she when on it is a great passer of the ball.
 

RORY65

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I know she had Covid and we don’t really know how that has affected her but yeah, she has looked a bit off it this season. Hoping it’s just something to do with the layoff or maybe playing out of position for Toone and she can get back to the form of a few seasons ago. As no doubt she when on it is a great passer of the ball.
That obviously has to be taken in to account and it's probably a bit harsh to mention her in that list but I'm also not really sure what role she has within this team. Ladd has seemingly been carrying an injury for a while (it's the only thing that would explain why she's been on the bench lately and then is suddenly out today) and so Zelem has been playing there and she's not good in that role while I'm not sure she has the dynamism you would want for the other 2 midfield roles. She can be there as a squad option, as you say at her best she's a fine passer, but ideally in a more limited role.
 

Andersons Dietician

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That obviously has to be taken in to account and it's probably a bit harsh to mention her in that list but I'm also not really sure what role she has within this team. Ladd has seemingly been carrying an injury for a while (it's the only thing that would explain why she's been on the bench lately and then is suddenly out today) and so Zelem has been playing there and she's not good in that role while I'm not sure she has the dynamism you would want for the other 2 midfield roles. She can be there as a squad option, as you say at her best she's a fine passer, but ideally in a more limited role.
I think with Ladd as the DM and then Either James or Jackie playing 8’s we previously have looked really good and she showed what she could do in that formation. However I think with the form and sheer threat of Toone Casey shuffled things about and Toone is somewhat undroppable in her eyes even though to me that seems to mean we can’t play our best midfield.

Ladd
Jackie. Zelem
Just feel like that’s somewhat impacted us.