It would have been easy for fans to panic after the first two weeks of the season; Everton lost its opening two matches by a combined score of 8–0. In a vacuum, the Toffees had the worst start of the 12 teams in the Super League. Add in context, however, and the disastrous start is much less worrisome than it appeared.
The opening two fixtures came against teams — Manchester City and Chelsea — that have legitimate title-winning aspirations.
The WSL season spans eight months and 22 games. Teams trend upwards and downwards depending on injuries, strength of schedule and general good fortune. The Blues just happened to begin the season with the division’s top two sides.
Last weekend, the Merseyside outfit proved why it is in everyone’s best interest to avoid overreactions after two weeks. Against Birmingham City last Saturday, Everton looked like the team Head Coach Willie Kirk raved about during the preseason.
En route to a 3–1 victory, Everton had 14 shots to City’s six, held 66% possession and won eight more corners than the opposition. The match favored the Toffees, with Birmingham never truly threatening the net outside of its lone goal.
Fortune stays with the Blues this week as they face one of the three teams below them in the table. Reading has had one of the roughest starts to the campaign, losing all three of its matches with seven goals against. To make matters worse, through 270 minutes, the Royals still haven’t scored.
With most of the team healthy, Kirk should maintain the 4–3–3 that saw success against City last weekend. The main injury news is the loss of Nicoline Sørensen for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL.
Reading lost two big names this summer in Angharad James and Danielle Carter, but the Royals brought in Deanne Rose, Justine Vanheavermaet and Natasha Dowie to stay competitive.
There was no love lost between the two sides on Valentine’s Day last year. A hard-fought and physical 1–1 draw saw Everton score late to salvage a point.
Competition: FA Women’s Super League, Matchweek 4
Date and start time: Saturday, October 2nd at 9:00 a.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. BST
Stadium: Madejski Stadium, Reading, England, United Kingdom
How to Watch/Listen
TV: N/A - United States; BBC Two - United Kingdom; Sportsnet - Canada, Optus Sport, Viaplay
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