Red Devil Talk: MU Women Review

The international break is over (thank god) and that means Manchester United are back in domestic action this Saturday when they visit Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. However, the ladies are not back in action until the 28th when they travel to Leicester City to take on the Foxes in the FA Women’s Championship.

Last time out, MU Women recorded another comfortable victory as they beat Charlton with relative ease. Goals from Katie Zelem, Jess Sigsworth and Lizzie Arnot ensured the three points for the Reds.

As usual, I spoke to Red Devil Talk’s MU Women expert, Damon Morris, of @ManUtdWomen FC who regularly updates us on the ladies side of things. In this weeks write-up, Damon speaks about the victory against Charlton, the influence of Willie Kirk, and the coverage of the women on social media. In addition, he looks ahead to the next game away to Leicester City Ladies.

 


Hi Damon. It’s been nearly two weeks since we last spoke. How would you sum up the progression of Casey Stoney’s Mu women?

Yes and it has been a long two weeks without football! I asked a similar question on our @ManUtdWomenFC Twitter feed. I was looking to get some feedback from the fans as to what they thought of the journey so far. It has been three months since the squad was announced and I’d have to say I agree with what the majority had to say. The progression has been very good. To watch, they are pleasing on the eye and you can see Casey is getting them to play the ‘Manchester United way’ which is what is missing from the men’s side at present. It’s very refreshing supporting and watching the women. You have to remember we are a squad though with some quality individuals who should be in the top tier, so you can’t say being top of the table is too unexpected. The tougher tests and true mark of our progression will be in the Cup and next season, of course. The early signs are extremely positive, though.


Another victory. Another clean sheet. Was the 3-0 victory v Charlton as easy as the score suggests?

I’d say the scoreline was more than fair. Again, like most weeks, we could have had plenty more, but having said that, they could have had a couple too. Chamberlain’s clean sheet run was inches away from going late in the first half when they hit the bar. To be fair, we controlled the game and most of it was played in the Charlton half. When the opposition play 5 at the back and defend in numbers, they’ll always be hard to break down. They gave it a go at times but the chances they had came down to a couple of lapses in concentration from us more than their attacking threat. So, yes, I’d say it was a comfortable afternoon for United.


Can The ladies keep this run going?

Very much so. Nobody, as of yet, has given us too many problems at the back. As long as they have their shooting boots on, we should be winning every game in the league. Tottenham will obviously be our closest rivals this season after their four game winning start to the season, so we’ll know more after was face them, which is not far away.


Has the MU Women coverage improved after a poor start?

It has improved a bit, but in all honesty, it wouldn’t be hard to improve after the appalling start on their social media account. They still have plenty of teething problems, though. For example, having some of the players date of births incorrect on the website is a bit of an embarrassment, even if it is one day out. The game against Charlton was live on MUTV which was pleasing to a lot of fans and should be happening more. I’m not sure why it’s not, maybe they are trying to get the numbers through the gates rather than watching from home? I’m hopeful all this will improve over time, but it shouldn’t be down to fan accounts like mine to keep the fans updated during the games, although the thankful comments are nice! We’ll see how they go in our next game away at Leicester.


Who was the stand out performer v Charlton?

You’ll be glad to know it’s not Lauren James this week, mainly due to the fact she was away on International duty, but she did score the trophy winning goal for the Lionesses against the USA, so she still had a good week! For me, there were three that stood out. Amy Turner had another solid game at the back. She was calm, composed and always a threat in front of goal at set pieces. Also, Kirsty Hanson again caused all sorts of problems down the wing. She never gives up and is always looking to get to the byline. However, player of the match goes to Katie Zelem. She ran the show in the middle of the park and with the absence of Lauren she really stood out. She kept everything ticking over and is always looking to get on the front foot. To top it off, she scored a beauty from the edge of the box to give United the lead.


What do you think the impact of Willie Kirk has been?

Bringing him in was a great bit of business by Casey. It’s her first job in management, so having an experienced head coach alongside her will be key to her progression in the job. He had a number of years as manager of Hibernian Ladies and Bristol City Women, and has a proven track record of developing young players which we have in abundance. You always see him on the touchline stood alongside the manager, supporting her and instructing the players too. They seem to be a perfect management duo and complement each other well. I’ve seen a lot of photo’s from training and Willie – along with all the coaching staff – seems to have a really good bond with the squad which is showing on the pitch.


Up next, is Leicester City ladies. What can we expect from them?

Leicester have been a bit unpredictable so far this season in terms of their results but they are now sitting third in the table after a couple of wins, including an away win over Millwall last time out. They had a poor result early on in the season in the Cup where they lost to Aston Villa. After we beat them 12-0, you’d think Leicester should be an easy victory, but they are hitting some goal scoring form now having netted nine goals in their three outings. Being the home side, and on a high after recent wins, it could be a good competitive game.


Who do Utd need to keen an eye on? 

The Foxes No.10, Rosie Axten. She is in good form this season having scored or assisted 5 goals in her 8 appearances, including a lovely free-kick last time out to get the win over Millwall. We won’t want to be giving away any silly free-kicks in dangerous areas. She has over 50 goals now for Leicester so she won’t need many chances to get her name on the scoresheet.


Finally, what is your score prediction?

Really!? I have not got one correct yet! That is mainly due to me being convinced the clean sheet run will come to an end. Do I change that or will I jinx it? I’ll go for a 4-1 win.

(Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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