5 WSL talking points as Man City pile pressure on Chelsea and Arsenal stutter

  • Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the WSL table with win over Bristol City
  • Everton starlet Issy Hobson made history with late equaliser against Arsenal
  • Bristol City relegated from the WSL but club show intent to keep building
Manchester City are closing in on the WSL title
Manchester City are closing in on the WSL title / Ryan Hiscott/GettyImages

Just three matchdays remain in this season’s Women’s Super League and things are starting to take shape at both ends of the table.

Five games took place over the weekend due to Chelsea’s involvement in the Women's Champions League, with their rescheduled game against Liverpool set to take place midweek, and it was business as usual for title chasing Manchester City.

Gareth Taylor's side are now six points clear at the top after relegating Bristol City with a comprehensive 4-0 win at Ashton Gate, while there was history made during Everton and Arsenal's 1-1 draw.

Here are 90min's takeaways from the weekend’s action.

Everton starlet announces big-time arrival in style

Issy Hobson, Justine Vanhaevermaet
Issy Hobson made history against Arsenal as she became the youngest ever goalscorer in the Women's Super League / Ben Roberts Photo/GettyImages

Heading into this weekend’s fixtures, Arsenal’s hopes of pipping Manchester City or Chelsea to a league title were slim. Now, they’re virtually non-existent.

Jonas Eidevall’s side controlled the game for most of the 90 minutes at Walton Hall Park and Alessia Russo finally broke the deadlock with 10 minutes of normal time left to play. They appeared to be heading for a narrow, but crucial, victory against a resilient Everton team.

Brian Sorensen called upon 16-year-old academy graduate Issy Hobson shortly after Russo’s opener, but few would have predicted what happened next. Five minutes into stoppage time, the youngster rose above everyone in the box to head the ball beyond Manuela Zinsberger and clinch a last-gasp point against the Gunners.

Hobson made history and became the youngest ever goalscorer in the WSL at 16 years and 180 days old.

Bristol City show intent despite relegation

Mary Fowler, Emily Syme, Carrie Jones
Bristol City have been relegated from the WSL following Sunday's defeat to Manchester City / Ryan Hiscott/GettyImages

Lauren Smith’s Bristol City needed to beat Manchester City if they were to live to fight another day against relegation. It wasn't to be, however, as the visitors showed their class in the second half of a 4-0 win on the road.

The result condemns Bristol City to the Championship next season after a difficult campaign back in the top flight that has yielded just one win in 20 games.

Smith revealed post-match that she hopes to be the one leading the rebuild next term and the club have already shown their commitment to the team by announcing they will continue to play their home games at Ashton Gate - season tickets will go on sale this week.

The club have built a strong core of support in recent years and an average home attendance of over 7,000 this season betters most teams outside the top four in the WSL. They’ll certainly be among the favourites to contend for promotion next term.

Manchester City get the job done without leading goalscorer

Mary Fowler
Two goals from Mary Fowler helped Manchester City to a 4-0 win against Bristol City / Ryan Hiscott/GettyImages

It was shaping up to be a difficult afternoon for City at Ashton Gate, who were without top goalscorer
Khadija Shaw thanks to a season-ending injury picked up last week.

City created plenty of chances in the first hour of the game, with Lauren Hemp, Jess Park and Chloe Kelly among those to come close to scoring, but they were lacking the cutting edge that Shaw has so often shown this season.

Just as the nerves were beginning to jangle, up stepped Mary Fowler to break the deadlock. City found their groove from that moment on, going on to score a further three times, and ended up sending a stern message to Emma Hayes and her Chelsea side, who now trail by six points in the title race albeit with two games in hand.

Toone rescues Manchester United late on

Ella Toone
Ella Toone helped Manchester United to a narrow 1-0 win over Leicester City / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

Leicester City have proved to be a difficult test for Manchester United this season after the Foxes secured a hard-fought draw against them in the opening few games of the campaign. Their meeting at King Power on Sunday was heading in a similar direction, City boosted by the return of goalkeeper Janina Leitzig after spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

The hosts had their fair share of chances and could’ve been leading themselves, but United’s quality ultimately came through in the end. 10 minutes after taking to the pitch in place of Hinata Miyazawa, substitute Ella Toone unleashed a ferocious effort from range to put United ahead.

Marc Skinner’s side held on for the win to move three points clear of Liverpool - a stat that made Toone's goal all the sweeter.

Captain Bethany England steps up again as FA Cup final looms

Bethany England
Bethany England scored late against Brighton to rescue a point for Tottenham / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

An FA Cup final against Manchester United is on the horizon for Tottenham, and they’ll be relying on their big players to step up and rise to the occasion at Wembley next month.

The signs for manager Robert Vilahamn are positive as captain Bethany England snatched a late equaliser against Brighton on Sunday. Spurs fell behind early doors following a goal from Elisabeth Terland, who has been on fire for the Seagulls this season.

Martha Thomas, who is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, has been enjoying a positive campaign herself at Spurs. England, though, has been back amongst the goals for the Lilywhites in recent weeks and Vilahamn will hope to have both his star forwards fit and firing on May 12.