The team I support, Everton Ladies, are playing against the team that have dominated English Women’s football for the past decade, Arsenal Ladies.
That said, Arsenal haven’t had it their own way this past season. In the 2013 Women’s Super League, they only finished third, behind champions Bristol Academy and 2nd place Liverpool.
Admittedly Arsenal were deducted 3 points for bringing on Katie Chapman as a substitute when she wasn’t properly registered. But, those 3 points would only have put Arsenal above Liverpool. They wouldn’t have been enough to catch Bristol.
On the other hand, Arsenal did win the Women’s FA Cup (beating Bristol Academy) and the WSL Cup (beating Lincoln Ladies).
But, since the end of the 2013 season, there has been a real exodus of players from Arsenal. I think we were told on the WSL Review Show that Arsenal have lost EIGHT of their first-11 over the winter.
A lot of the players that have left Arsenal have gone to Manchester City, who were entering the WSL for the first time in 2013. Man City Ladies were now fully affiliated with the Men’s team, and so had access to a lot more money than they ever had before. So they could go after and try to bag the best players they could. And where better to find them than in the team that has been so successful in recent years – Arsenal.
Arsenal are now a team in transition. It takes a while to integrate new players into any team, but it is even more difficult when there are so many new players. And the result is that Arsenal are currently BOTTOM of the table in WSL1, with only 1 point from 3 games.
This could be an opportunity for Everton to get some well-needed silverware. Although they finished 3rd in the WSL in 2012, quite a few of their top players left at the end of that season. Most went to Liverpool, who were on a spending spree after the ignominy of finishing bottom of the table in 2012. The result was that Liverpool won the WSL in 2013, while Everton dropped to 5th.
At the end of the 2013 season, more of Everton’s top players left. Their last 2 regular players in the England international team (Jill Scott and Toni Duggan) both left, and signed for... Manchester City.
The result of all these top signings is that Man City are currently 2nd in the WSL, with 6 points – 1 point behind leaders Birmingham City (Man City have won 2 out of 4 games, while Birmingham have played 3 games, winning 2 and drawing the other).
The result of losing so many of their top players in a short space of time is that Everton are currently only one place above Arsenal in WSL1, with 2 points from 4 games.
So, the Women’s FA Cup Final could be anybody’s game.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, I don’t have any deep-rooted reasons to support Everton. The only reason I support Everton rather than any other English Women’s team is that a friend of mine plays for them: Simone Magill (from Magherafelt, 10 miles up the road from me).
COME ON YOU BLUE GIRLS!!!!