January 20, 2020 by Stephen L Wright
The majority of the 1200 fans (Man City had the majority of the total) who turned out yesterday would have missed the first goal. The echo from the ref’s whistle had hardly faded when former Blues goal-getter Ellen White popped the ball past Hannah Hampton.
Blues clearly felt the hit and couldn’t find their rhythm. But that’s nothing new. If you’re a fan you will have seen it and if you’re one of my regular readers you will have seen me mention it more than once.
I’ve started to watch the opposition more closely this season. More than just watching the flow of the game. Everyone so far, and I can’t see things changing, get stuck in. Blues have the ball in a corner at their end, the opposition is on them. Blues have the ball in the outfield, they’re swamped. This contrasts completely with how Blues play and is clearly the way Marta Tejedor wants them too. She said in her match analysis that she instills in the players the need to be patient and to wait for opportunities. To me that implies waiting for the opposition to make a mistake. The result is that Blues stand off, thus giving the opposition the time and the space to do whatever they want, which on the whole is not to making a mistake – especially when you’re Man City. Consequently, we saw the result and but for the gymnastics and courage of Hannah Hampton the result would have been different. It’s also fair to say that Man City had a good few hoiks at goal, any one or more of which could have gone in. And Blues were not without their hoiks too. But they were, as is becoming the norm, too few and far between. They need to make their own luck, not wait for it to pop up.
The difference in the rhythm came when Captain Fantastic Kerys Harrop returned to the field, late in the second half, from injury, quickly followed by Bri Visalli and debutante/new signing Emma Kelly. They also changed the vibe. Emma was straight into ‘getting stuck in’ and we know that Bri is a midfield terrier who can also play good connecting football and get decent shots on target. Man City began to feel the pinch. It was all too little too late – which is maybe what I should have called this post.
We go again this Sunday at Sheffield United in the 4th Round of the FA Cup. Marta has to put both new signings (the other being Georgia Brougham) and Bri in the Starting XI. Who would I leave on the bench? Harriet Scott, Becks Holloway and Lucy Whipp. I can tel you now, those choices are controversial but it’s time to change things up.