As teams prepare for the final stretch of the 2021/22 season, Everton can rest easy knowing that they will keep a spot in the Women’s Super League; Birmingham City can’t make up the 13-point differential in its final four games, where a maximum of 12 points can be earned.
Still, avoiding the drop is little cause for celebration for a team that had top-three aspirations just a few months ago. The Toffees overhauled their squad last summer in hopes of competing with the elite teams in the division — Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
But inconsistent play and injuries led to the firing of two managers — Willie Kirk and Jean-Luc Vasseur — as the Blues plummeted down the table. Since consecutive wins against Aston Villa (1-0) and Leicester City (3-2) in early March, the Merseyside outfit has suffered lopsided defeats to Chelsea (3-0), Manchester City (4-0, 4-0) and Manchester United (3-1). In their last four fixtures, Everton holds a minus-13 goal differential.
With the Toffees struggling for offense, it’s curious that the club let striker Valérie Gauvin sign with National Women’s Soccer League side North Carolina Courage. Even though Gauvin had yet to score in the league this season, she is a capable forward with strong instincts. She also never got much of a shot this year, featuring in 12 fixtures and mostly made substitute cameos.
Swedish striker Anna Anvegard leads the team with four goals, but no other player has netted more than twice in the league. Everton’s minus-20 goal differential is third-worst in the division.
On the other side of the pitch Sunday will be Arsenal; the Gunners trail Chelsea in first by a single point, and both teams have played 18 matches. Arsenal has spent most of the season atop the league standings and is searching for its first domestic title since 2018-19.
The Gunners are led by Vivianne Miedema, whose 12 goals are second-best in the Super League, trailing only Sam Kerr (16). On the wing is Beth Mead (eight goals) and Kim Little (six) through the midfield. On the defensive side, Manuela Zinsberger leads the league with 10 clean sheets.
Sunday will mark the first time these two sides have met since Oct. 10 — Arsenal picked up a 3-0 home win and held 57% possession. Everton also mustered just one shot on target back in October in a comfortable victory for the home side. Since the beginning of the season, the two outfits have gone in separate directions, so it could be another dreary day at Walton Hall come Sunday, especially with Arsenal pushing for the league trophy.
Competition: FA Women’s Super League, Matchday 20
Date and start time: Sunday, April 24th at 8:00 a.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. BST
Stadium: Walton Hall Park, Liverpool, 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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