The fourth round of WSL fixtures takes place over the weekend, with some particularly mouth-watering fixtures to look forward to.
Tottenham host unbeaten Manchester United on Saturday, Chelsea host Manchester City before the first ‘Big Three’ clash of the WSL season on Sunday.
90 Minutes caught up with former Tottenham and Chelsea forward – and ex-Arsenal physio – Wendy Martin to preview the fixture.
Amoros and Hills take Spurs from amateur side to WSL/Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Spurs have enjoyed a remarkable rise through the English football pyramid, propelled by the coaching of Karen Hills and Juan Amuros.
The club were in the fifth tier when Hills took the hot seat in 2007, and 13 years later they were a top-flight, fully professional outfit with Alex Morgan on their books.
“I don’t think there are any words to describe what he’s done,” said Martin, who won two promotions with Spurs between 2011 and 2019.
“They’ve both got a real drive to succeed, they always want more for the girls and the club, there’s an extraordinary amount of knowledge and experience between them and I think that’s key to the team’s growth.
“Juan’s tactical knowledge and preparation that goes into putting together a strategy and game plan is incredible. He looks at every fine detail of the game in team meetings and analytical meetings.”
United moved ahead of Spurs as both sides sealed promotion in 2019 / Nathan Strick/Getty Images
Manchester United’s success is the result of a lot of investment in a short time, and they ran away with the Championship title during the 2018/19 season, with Spurs finishing second.
United did the double over Spurs the following season and finished three places above them in the WSL, but Martin insists that despite United’s quality, the gap between the pair is closing again.
“When we went up against Manchester United in the Championship, there was a clear disparity between the significant and immediate investment made in the football club and the level of support they had. You could see the disparity,” he added. said
“But Spurs are very organized and have a great team spirit and work ethic, and their core qualities will give them a platform to compete with some of the best teams.
“I think Man Utd will compete with the top three this year. I think it’s going to be tough for Spurs, but equally I think if they stick to the game plan they can do something on Saturday. can get.”
After not playing competitively for more than a year, Morgan is still waiting for his Tottenham debut/Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Despite United bringing in two World Cup winners, it was Spurs who pulled off the blockbuster transfer of the window when they signed sporting icon Alex Morgan.
Spurs scored just 15 times in 15 games last season, and signing a player with 107 international goals to his name is a brilliant way for the club to address their woes in front of goal.
“He is what Tottenham are missing,” Martin said. “She’s unpredictable, she’s very adaptable in her game; she runs back, she drops to her feet, she scores with her left foot, with her right foot, she scores with her head.
“Speaking to one of the girls at training, Alex’s first training session they practiced shooting and she said: ‘He literally scored every single goal.’ It’s that kind of clinical finishing that will benefit Spurs.”
Manchester City have been superb in their last three / Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images
Manchester City have had a somewhat disappointing start to the new season under new boss Gareth Taylor and were comfortably beaten by Chelsea in the Community Shield the last time they met.
However, they seem to have clicked over the past two weeks. City were unplayable at times during their FA Cup quarter-final victory over Arsenal and followed that up with a comprehensive win over Spurs, before handing Everton their first defeat of the season on Wednesday evening.
Have the Citizens already found their feet so quickly under Taylor?
Martin said, “Man City have the advantage that they have a lot of England internationals in the set-up so not only do they have the connection to play at club level, but then the international level as well. Is.”
“I think unity and knowing how they play will always make them a threat.”
Hayes has done amazing work in Chelsea/Katherine Iwell/Getty Images.
Chelsea and Manchester City have enjoyed some memorable encounters over the years – from City’s 2-1 victory in 2014 to denying Chelsea the WSL crown on the final day of the season, 3-3 last season. A draw that eventually resulted in the Blues. claiming title.
Emma Hayes has been up front for every top-flight clash between the pair, and is someone Martin has known since she was Arsenal physio and Hayes was the Gunners’ number two between 2006 and 2008.
“I met Emma Hess when she was Vic Akers assistant,” explains Martin, “yet her knowledge of the game, her attention to detail, was just incredible.
“Seeing that I’m not surprised she’s having success with Chelsea. They know how to let City down; I think they let them down in the Community Shield.”
Pernell Harder and Beth England could both start for Chelsea on Saturday/Catherine Ivel/Getty Images
In terms of strength in depth, you don’t get much better than Chelsea and Manchester City.
From Pernille Harder to Rose Lavelle, Melanie Leupolz to Sam Mewis, the duo have spent the transfer window making their squad more enviable.
It’s especially up front where Hayes and Taylor have a real selection headache on their hands, and some of the best attacking talent in the WSL will be on display on Sunday.
“I love watching Ellen White play,” Martin added. “What I love about Ellen is her work ethic and her work rate, on the pitch she’s always chasing the ball. Yes, closes the ball.
“And Chelsea, they’ve got goals. Fran Kirby’s back, Sam Kerr is obviously a threat, and then you’ve got Millibright scoring outrageous goals from distance – so they’ve got goals all over the pitch. have gone.”
BT Sport is showing more Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches than ever before this season. Watch Tottenham Women v Manchester United Women on Saturday 10 October on BT Sport 3 from 12pm and Chelsea Women v Manchester City Women on Sunday 11 October on BT Sport 1 from 2pm.