This week, in a new feature for this blog, I will be taking on, and going head-to-head with, fellow women’s football fan and YouTuber, Aleem Bolkiah by predicting the scores for Gameweek 2 in the FA WC alongside a preview of each match. Aleem’s YouTube Channel can be found here and he already has an interview with former West Ham and current Birmingham City midfielder, Bri Visalli available to view. 3 points will be allocated for a correct score and 1 point for a correct result.
Durham vs Crystal Palace
Durham impressed with a big win on the opening day of the FA WC season, beating Leicester 5-1 away from home in a slightly surprising result. Durham’s new signings appeared to slot into the starting XI well with substitute, Molly Sharpe helping herself to a brace.
Palace could only draw 0-0 with new comers Coventry, in a game that Coventry had the better chances and created more opportunities. Whilst clean-sheets will help, I’m still struggling to see where the goals are going to come from for Palace. Nonetheless, Palace will be pleased to get their first point on the board with much sterner tests to follow.
I think Durham will extend their winning start to the season with a convincing 3-0 win.
Prediction: Durham 3-0 Crystal Palace (+1)
Aleem: Durham 3-1 Crystal Palace (+1)
Result: Durham 2-1 Crystal Palace
Charlton Athletic vs Lewes
With the uneven number of teams in the FA WC this season, Charlton drew the short straw last weekend and did not have a fixture to play. Charlton, without a game, found time to further strengthen their squad with the signing of former Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder, Jenna Legg to an already very strong squad that includes former Manchester United striker, Charlie Devlin. Charlton should be fresh and ready to start their campaign.
Lewes excelled in front of their home fans with a dominant 5-1 win against newly promoted Blackburn Rovers last weekend. Tasha Flint started the new season where she left off from last year, swiftly equalising within 3 minutes of Lewes taking the lead through Emma Jones’ first competitive goal for the club.
I think this will actually be a very close game with all three results a possibility. I don’t see an obvious standout winner with two strong teams going toe-to-toe and may cancel each other out. I do feel, however, that Charlton will have that extra something to just pip Lewes to all three points, especially with the additional WSL experience that their squad boasts.
Prediction Charlton 2-1 Lewes (0)
Aleem: Charlton 1-2 Lewes (0)
Result: Charlton 0-0 Lewes
Blackburn Rovers vs London Bees
Blackburn found life in the FA WC tought going last weekend after their 5-1 trouncing at the hands of Lewes. Last weekend will have been a valuable learning experience for Rovers as they adjust to life in the Championship.
London Bees will want to kick-start their campaign this weekend with three points. Bees looked lively against London City Lionesses and could count themselves unlucky. Lauren Pickett was a handful for the City backline and should have scored a couple of goals had it not been for some heroic goalkeeping and wasteful finishing.
I think London Bees will notch up their first win of the season with a comfortable away win.
Prediction: Blackburn 0-2 London Bees (+1)
Aleem: Blackburn 0-2 London Bees (+1)
Result: Blackburn 0-1 London Bees
London City Lionesses vs Aston Villa
The new Lionesses impressed on their league debut last weekend, running out 2-0 winners against London Bees. Much was to be admired for their tenacity, aggression and attacks. Manager, Chris Phillips will want to work on the defensive line in training this week to ensure that balls over the top are dealt with more effectively. Despite that, there is much to be excited about with this team. They look a far cry from the team that limped to last place last season in their former guise.
Villa demonstrated their resilience and clinical nature to come back to win 3-2 from being 0-2 down last time out against Sheffield United. Mel Johnson impressing with a hat-trick to ensure they started the season with a win. As my early tip to be title contenders, I think Villa will run City close but ultimately my instinct is that London City Lionesses will continue their winning run with a dominant performance in their first home game of the season.
Prediction: London City Lionesses 3-1 Aston Villa (0)
Aleem: London City Lionesses 2-1 Aston Villa (0)
Result: London City Lionesses 2-3 Aston Villa
Sheffield United vs Leicester City
Sheffield United took an early 2-0 lead with goals from Olivia Fergusson and Katie Wilkinson, both on debut before Villa came back to win 3-2. The Blades did the double over Leicester last season, with both games tight affairs that were settled by late goals. United finished an impressive fifth last season, winning 11 of their games. I think this will be a very even contest that will be settled by the odd goal. I think The Blades will have learnt their lesson from last week and improve upon their defensive lines.
Leicester will want to put right their opening day 5-1 defeat at the hands of Durham to bed by beating Sheffield United. Leicester faded away in the second half after coming in at the break drawing 1-1. There will be harsh lessons learned for The Foxes but I think The Blades will just edge this tight match.
Sheffield United 1-0 Leicester (+1)
Aleem: Sheffield United 2-0 Leicester (+1)
Result: Sheffield United 7-1 Leicester