Women’s Super League: Record crowd at the Emirates

HOSTING Women’s Super League games at big stadiums creates a definite showcase occasion and positive PR for the cause. While not every game is a full house, it shunts the women’s game into the spotlight, which is the clear objective.

On international breaks, the WSL has the opportunity to meet the demand for live action, and while such inflated crowds are somewhat artificial (whether you talk about tickets sold or actual  attendances – did 6,500 people really buy a ticket for the north London derby and not roll up?), they show what can be achieved.

Arsenal drew a crowd of 47,000 for their clash with Spurs and totally trounced their neighbours 4-0, their second consecutive victory by such a convincing margin. The Gunners  were in fine form, which bodes well for their Champions League second leg game against Ajax this week.

The big game of the weekend was the clash between Chelsea and Manchester City at Kingsmeadow. Both sides lost their opening fixtures and although the meeting of two of the WSL  heavyweights didn’t live up to expectations, Chelsea won 2-0, although City were the better team for much of the 90 minutes. Fran Kirby got her second goal of the season and the points were clinched by a penalty from Maren Mjelde.

There was another big local derby, with 27,500 attending the Merseyside clash between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield. Everton were by far the better side and there was a standout performance from Jess Park, the 20 year-old forward who is on loan from Manchester City. Everton won 3-0 and brought their hosts down to earth after their 1-0 win against Chelsea in their first game back in the WSL.

Manchester United continued their good start to the season with a 2-0 win at West Ham where only 2,100 turned up. United’s goals were scored by new signing from Bilbao Lucia Garcia and full back Hannah Blundell. United have yet to concede a goal and look a good bet for a title bid at this stage.

In the all-Midlands clash,  Aston Villa consigned Leicester to their second consecutive home defeat with Rachel Daly adding to her brace against Manchester City with the first goal in a 2-0 victory.

A crowd of over 5,000 at the Amex Stadium saw Brighton get off the mark with a 2-1 win against Reading. Hope Powell’s side took a 2-0 lead through Lee Guem-min and Katie Robinson and Reading’s consolation from Charlie Wellings came deep into added time.

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