Six things to look for

The WSL returns this weekend after the international break, as the women’s game attempts to take advantage of the gap in the English domestic soccer schedule created by the men’s World Cup.

A selection of matches have been put on by clubs in their home stadiums, there’s a massive clash between two WSL heavyweights, and two new coaches are trying to put their stamp on the teams.

Here’s everything to look out for in Week 7 of the WSL.

Jess Park

Everton will be without Jess Park this weekend/Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Jess Park has been one of the standout performers for Everton this season and continued her campaign in 2022/23 by scoring the first touch on her England debut during the international break.

The forward is on loan at the Toffees from Manchester City and is therefore not available to play against her parent club on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how Everton cope without one of their main attacking threats.

“that it [a setback] “Of course, but we knew that when we did the loan,” Brian Sorensen said. [an opportunity] For someone else to take a chance and show what they can do.”

City could be without an attacking threat of their own, with Lauren Hemp suspected of a thigh injury.

Everton vs Man City

when does it start? Saturday 19 November, 15:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Walton Hall Park
TV channel/live broadcast? Sky Sports Main Event / Football / Premier League (UK) FA Player (International)
What time does coverage start? 14:00 (GMT)
Rule? Emily Heaslip

Beth Mead, Katie McCabe

Arsenal return to the Emirates on Saturday/Clive Rose/Getty Images

As Arsenal and Manchester United prepare to take to the pitch at the Emirates Stadium in front of tens of thousands of people, these kinds of occasions are increasingly becoming the norm for the Women’s Football League.

Arsenal are in first place at the moment, but they will almost certainly be overtaken at least Chelsea must lose this. United also cannot take the mental blow of a second successive defeat by a major rival, having been their own worst enemy in a disappointing defeat to Chelsea last time out. They have the added threat of looking over their shoulder at Manchester City who are also getting better.

This is one of the biggest games of the season so far…and on the biggest stage.

Arsenal vs Man United

when does it start? Saturday 19 November, 17:30 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Emirates Stadium
TV channel/live broadcast? Sky Sports Main Event / Football (UK), FA Player (International)
What time does coverage start? 17:15 (GMT)
Rule? Kirsty Doyle

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is set to return to the touchline for Chelsea/James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Emma Hayes will return to the training center for Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday for the first time after a month-long break from football to recover from an emergency hysterectomy.

Dennis Reddy and Paul Green have led the Blues to six wins from six in Hayes’ absence – and the Chelsea boss picked the right opportunity to get back on the touchline.

Chelsea hosts Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, marking the first time that a Women’s Football League match has been held at the club’s main stadium since the opening day of the 2019/20 season, when Tottenham were the other opponent.

The Blues announced on Monday that all general sale tickets for the match have sold out, meaning the match will comfortably attract a record attendance for a Chelsea WSL match. The number the club is competing to surpass is 24,564.

Chelsea vs Tottenham

when does it start? Sunday 20 November, 13:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Stamford Bridge
TV channel/live broadcast? BBC One, BBC iPlayer (UK) Footballer (International)
What time does coverage start? 12:50 (GMT)
Rule? Rebecca Welch

Rachel Corsi, Kirsty Hanson

Aston Villa beat Manchester City last time out at Villa Park/Barrington Combs/Getty Images

Aston Villa are also in the club’s home ground this weekend as they welcome Brinding to Villa Park – a venue that has been the scene of recent success for Carla Ward’s side.

Villa recorded the best Women’s Football League victory in the club’s history at Villa Park on the opening day of the 2022/23 season, marking an impressive 3-2 victory over Manchester City.

“We love playing at Villa Park, it’s a great occasion, a great stadium,” said Ward. “The last time we were there was incredible, so we want to try to replicate that and still get bums on the benches.”

Aston Villa vs Reading

when does it start? Sunday 20 November, 14:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Villa Park
TV channel/live broadcast? Football player (UK, international)
Rule? Adam Herzig

Hope Powell, Amy Merricks

Merricks is the caretaker in charge of Brighton following the departure of Hope Powell/Brian Lennon/Getty Images

Usually strong and well-seasoned under Hope Powell, Brighton were capable of frustrating the WSL elite in their day but are not famous for their goal-scoring prowess.

After Powell’s resignation, Aimee Merricks took over on an interim basis, overseeing a chaotic 5-4 thriller win over West Ham in her first hot-seat match.

Will we see a more measured performance from The Seagulls against Liverpool on Sunday, or will Brighton’s identity under Merricks be pure chaos?

Brighton vs Liverpool match

when does it start? Sunday 20 November, 14:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Broadfield Stadium
TV channel/live broadcast? Football player (UK, international)
Rule? Abigail Byrne

Willie Kirk

Kirk is Leicester’s new boss / Paul Harding / Getty Images

It was announced that Willie Kirk would replace Lydia Bedford just three days before the Foxes took on Arsenal in Kirk’s then first game.

The former Everton boss has now had two weeks to work with his new team and has stressed the importance of increasing training intensity as one of his first adjustments as Leicester boss.

Fans may start to see the parts of Kirk’s Foxes start to slip away against West Ham on Sunday as they try to lift their new team off the bottom of the WSL.

“We need to get the points on the board as quickly as possible, and that’s the only goal between now and Christmas,” Kirk said. “We know the points we want to achieve between now and the end of the season, we’ve broken that down into smaller portions of matches so we know exactly what we need to do between now and Christmas.”

West Ham vs Leicester

when does it start? Sunday 20 November, 15:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Chigwell Construction Stadium
TV channel/live broadcast? Football player (UK, international)
Rule? Louise Saunders

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