Recently, the UK has been going through some testing times with the weather. At the start of March, a snow storm wreaked havoc everywhere—something we’re not used to. This extreme weather meant many fixtures were postponed. This weekend wasn’t quite as bad, but there was more snow. League games across the country were hit, as well as the FA Cup quarterfinals which were due to take place on Sunday 18th March. Only one game survived, with Sunderland vs Manchester City, Durham vs Everton, and Arsenal vs Charlton all called off. These games look to be rearranged for Sunday, March 25, but this is going to cause scheduling headaches with WSL games to be moved. Liverpool managed to keep their Cup game on against Chelsea, but they might have wished it had been postponed, as Chelsea ensured their place in the semifinals with a 3-0 win.
These postponements—both this season and in previous seasons—do raise some questions. It’s not just snow that’s caused havoc, but heavy rain too. Some teams invest in their playing staff, training and various other things but is it time to start really investing in playing conditions and pitches?
There are some complexities here. Some teams share grounds and might not have much much power to change things. Chelsea, for instance, own the leasehold at Kingsmeadow, but AFC Wimbledon—the previous owners—still share the stadium with them, for the time being. Manchester City own their own stadium, which is the ideal solution. The women play at the Academy Stadium, which is just down the road from the Etihad, where the men’s side plays. Owning it means they can do what they want there and improve the playing surface if needed.
What do you think? Should investments into playing facilities be high on the priority list for women’s clubs?
Most leagues operate a winter season beginning in August and September, then ending in May or June. Leagues are now entering championship rounds, relegation rounds, and the business end of the regular season, and this comes along with chances for silverware. Some cups are close to wrapping up.
Arsenal claimed the first silverware of the season when they beat Manchester City 1-0 to win the Continetal Tyres Cup. They have now won the Conti Cup five times—a record—with City having won the other two.
The FA Cup, which pits WSL sides against all comers from county and regional leagues on up, is heading into its final rounds. Charlton are the lowest ranked team left in the competition, as they currently ply their trade in the WPL South. They are up against Arsenal, who have won it the most times (14). Durham are the sole WSL2 representative left, with WSL1 teams making up the rest of the teams. The semifinals will be televised on the BBC for the first time on April 15. The first one will be on at 12:30pm GMT on the Red Button and the second one will be on at 3:30pm on BBC2. The final will be taking place at Wembley on May 5, and it will kick off at 5:30pm GMT. This will also be televised by the BBC on BBC1. This is available to watch for UK viewers with access to this but there are no details yet as to how people outside the UK can watch.
In Sweden, the teams for the Svenska Cupen final have been confirmed. Linköpings narrowly beat Eskilstuna United 2-1 to book their place, with Rosengård beating Djurgårdens to confirm their place as well. This is a repeat of the past few finals, with Linköpings winning in 2015, but Rosengård winning twice in 2016 and 2017.
The main silverware in Europe, however, is the UEFA Champions League, which decides who really is Europe’s best team. The quarterfinals take place on the March 21 28. Manchester City, who were knocked out by Lyon last year in the semifinals, take on Linköpings. Montpellier take on Chelsea, Wolfsburg take on Slavia Praha and Lyon face Barcelona. That final match will be the one to watch—Barcelona made it to the semifinals last year before being knocked out by PSG.
Attendance is quite a talked about point in women’s football, with an ever-present debate about how to attract more spectators, and whether women’s sides should be playing at the same grounds as their male counterparts. That’s what Atletico Madrid did this weekend when they took on Madrid CFF in the Madrid derby.
For some background, Real Madrid do not have a women’s team yet. Madrid CFF, or Madrid Club de Fútbol Femenino were founded by current president Alfredo Ulloa in 2010. Alfredo is a Madridista, and didn’t want to see his daughter Paola, a goalkeeper, go and play for archrival Atletico, so he started Madrid CFF. Those two teams faced each other at the Wanda Metropolitano and drew 2-2 before a crowd of 22,202. Luckily for Atletico, Barcelona also drew so they stay ahead in the title race.
Thank you for reading yet another Euro Roundup. Are there any leagues you would like to know more about? Let me know on Twitter @englionesses or in the comments below!