From a derby draw to NWSL solidarity – 5 things from the WSL weekend

Arsenal top the table after beating Everton to make it five wins out of five.

By Press Association Published: 11 October 2021 - 5.50pm

Players stood in solidarity with counterparts in the United States, Ellen White responded to being dropped, and Arsenal continued their perfect start.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from this weekend’s action in the Women’s Super League.

All-White in the end

Seeking to snap a three-game losing streak, Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor made the brave call of dropping England striker Ellen White to the bench for Saturday’s derby against Manchester United. Things looked bleak for City after Georgia Stanway’s first-half dismissal was followed by United going 2-1 ahead with just 15 minutes to go. But, 24 hours after being shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or, substitute White gave Taylor a timely reminder of her talents with an equaliser to earn City a first point since the opening day.

Awesome Arsenal

Under the guidance of new boss Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal continue to set the pace following an emphatic 3-0 win over Everton. A stunning volley from Katie McCabe followed by a goal from defender Lotte Wubben-Moy put the table-topping Gunners in control at the break, before Frida Maanum’s 25-yard strike capped a perfect afternoon. Swede Eidevall is yet to suffer a setback in the league since replacing Joe Montemurro in the summer, with his side three points ahead of champions Chelsea and Tottenham following five wins from as many games.

Show of support for NWSL players

WSL teams showed solidarity across the weekend, with players linking arms or clapping ahead of each of the six fixtures. The acts of unity came after the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League was rocked by sexual misconduct allegations made against coach Paul Riley, who denies the accusations. NWSL players had performed similar acts at their games on Thursday – the first set of fixtures since a report containing the allegations was published.

Spurs stall

Arsenal were afforded early breathing space at the summit after the 100 per cent record of north London rivals Tottenham was halted at Brighton. Hope Powell’s Seagulls swooped in to secure all three points on the back of two successive losses courtesy of strikes from Lee Geum-min and Victoria Williams. Spurs’ forgettable trip to Sussex was compounded by striker Rachel Williams seeing red for two bookable offences.

Birmingham up and running under Booth

At the bottom end of the table, there was welcome relief for Birmingham. The Blues, who escaped relegation by just two points last term, finally picked up their first point of the new campaign by battling back to hold West Ham. A difficult start under new manager Scott Booth looked set to continue when Claudia Walker put the Hammers on course for a third successive WSL win. But Birmingham captain Louise Quinn led by example to salvage a 1-1 draw and finally give her team something to build on.

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