The Manchester United Women train is gathering momentum with Tottenham Hotspur Ladies the latest to be put to the sword at the weekend. United swept aside their opponents with four goals which means they are now just two points behind the league leaders; with a game in hand. Jess Sigsworth showed her class once again as she scored twice to take her tally for the season to 8 goals. In addition, Lauren James scored one and assisted one of Jess’ goals, with Charlie Devlin scoring her first for the club.
As usual, I spoke to Damon Morris, editor of @ManUtdWomenFC to discuss the weekends victory over Spurs and looked against to the Crystal Palace game. Further, we spoke about the brilliance of Lauren James. It is hard to believe she is just 17 but she looks a talented player and there is no doubt she has all the tools needed to go to the top.
On paper, the Spurs game looked a real test. It certainly didn’t pan out that way. What statement does that send out to the rest of the league?
Based on their results this season – winning all six of their opening games in the league – it’s safe to say many (including myself) were expecting a much tougher test than what we saw. I think it shows that we’re already a good side, despite it being a newly formed one, we should be challenging in the Super League. Being the only full-time squad in the division is certainly showing but as the manager explained last week, who was to know how quickly the team would gel and what squad she could put together in a few weeks prior to the season kicking off?
If Utd win their game in hand, they go top. This team certainly looks the real deal and like it is hungry for silverware doesn’t it?
The table looks quite tight at the top but I think as the season progresses, we will open up a decent gap with the likes of Tottenham and Durham battling for the runner up spot. Like I said, we are a full-time squad with International players (all ages) in the ranks, and many of them took a step down in terms of divisions to join what United want to build so of course, they’ll all be hungry to get straight up at the first attempt. They also have a manager who was a senior pro and demands the best out of her players. However, Casey had a few negatives to say about the performance despite the comfortable win.
27 goals. 1 conceded. Unbeaten. Those are fairly comprehensive statistics. Where was the game won and lost v Spurs?
They are amazing stats. They’re averaging a goal every 20 minutes in the league and it took 532 minutes for Chamberlain to concede her first goal. I know that one goal hurt the players as they were keen to keep the clean sheet run going but the win was the most important thing. The game was definitely won in midfield. I thought Katie Zelem and Ella Toone ran the show and when you have the likes of Jess Sigsworth and Lauren James up top on their A game, there’s only going to be one outcome.
I’d like to speak about Lauren James for a moment; surely it is only a matter of time before she earns a national team call up?
You been reading my tweets?! I said that exact thing during the game. If Phil Neville looks at players with the mindset of “If they’re good enough they’re old enough”, then surely it’s only a matter of time before she gets the call up to the senior squad. Although she’s only just turned 17 and very inexperienced, she is making a name for herself in a United shirt, what a great coup from the manager bringing her in from Arsenal in the summer. She hasn’t had a bad game yet and she has every attribute in her locker. I said at the start of the season Lauren would be the one to watch and she hasn’t disappointed. I’m not completely useless at my predictions after all!
From Casey Stoney’s point of view, what will have been most pleasing about the victory today?
As I said earlier, the manager had some stern words after the final whistle so it wasn’t all good from her point of view. Being the only full-time squad in the division, she thinks we should be dominating the ball more and playing more teams off the park which is fair enough, but I don’t think that will be too much of a worry. They’re a young team and still a working progress. She did however tweet later in the evening that she was proud as to how far the squad have come in 17 weeks. I don’t think she’ll be too pleased with the defending which was a bit shakey at times, but the attacking side of things was much more pleasing and the finishing was much more clinical. She’ll also be pleased to see Leah Galton back on the field after the serious looking injury she picked up against Durham back in September. She looked very good after coming on and nearly got her name on the score sheet a couple of times.
Up next, we are away to Crystal Palace, what can you tell us about Palace?
Yes, a trip to the capital on Sunday, and without disrespecting the opposition, I’m expecting a comfortable win. They’re currently second from bottom in the table with just the one win from their opening seven which was a narrow 1-0 win over London Bee’s. In all honesty, I don’t think the manager will be singling out anyone in particular in terms of goal scoring threats from Palace. They have only scored 4 goals up to now and one of those was a penalty, so I’m expecting them to go down the route Durham did, parking the bus and going for a goalless draw which they aren’t bad at. They don’t score many but they haven’t conceded many either with all their games being low scoring ones by the odd goal or two. However, I expect that to change come Sunday.
Can United keep this run going? They look to be going from strength-to-strength.
Most definitely, #MUWomenInvincibles is a hashtag I think could be trending come the end of season. We may slip to a draw or two if teams set up with 10 players behind the ball, but I really can’t see anyone beating them from what we’ve seen so far. With a full-time squad, a demanding manager and the clubs backing, they’re only going to improve from week to week and I can’t wait to see how they get on amongst the teams in the Super League next season. Some will say I’m jumping the gun but can you blame me after what’s happened so far?
Finally, I know you are eager to give a mention to the supporters. They have been great haven’t they?
Yes, a shout out to the fans. It’s great to see such a strong support early on for the women’s side. We all know about the support the men’s side get and I’m glad to see the women’s attendances are doing well. There were almost a thousand more fans through the gates on Sunday than there were in the big Super League clash between Arsenal and Birmingham. A mention to the likes of Natalie (@natalie_17) and Benjamin (@bennymufc) who are big supporters and are getting behind them in a big way. If you’ve been in and amongst the crowd at Leigh Sports Village, I’m sure you’d have heard them getting the chants going, keep it up guys!