Tri Motrat – PROMO Epizodi 49
Manchester City’s game against Everton on Saturday will almost certainly result in Gareth Taylor’s side finishing in their lowest position in the Women’s Super League for nine years.Lucia Garcia’s last-gasp winner in Sunday’s Manchester derby kept the title race between United and Chelsea alive but was near-fatal for City’s Champions League qualification hopes.
Third-placed Arsenal’s 11-goal superiority means the team who were three points off the top of the table less than four weeks ago are on the brink of not competing in Europe for the first time in eight seasons. So how much might that damage City?
What went wrong for City?There is a symmetry between Taylor’s remarks on the eve of the season and in the immediate aftermath of their painful defeat at their neighbours.
On both occasions, Taylor observed that the demands of the WSL do not afford City the time they need to iron out the creases caused by their current state of transition.
After Nils Nielsen was appointed director of football at the beginning of May, he immediately had his work cut out to rebuild a squad which saw a succession of star players leave last summer.
Five Lionesses were among the influential names to move on, with Ellen White, Jill Scott and Karen Bardsley retiring, Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh joining Barcelona, Georgia Stanway heading to Bayern Munich and Caroline Weir signing for Real Madrid.
The loss of White has been eased by Khadija Shaw’s prolific season. And Japan midfielder Yui Hasegawa, who was one of only two City arrivals to have previously played in the WSL, has deservedly become highly popular.
Nielsen aims to get Man City back to topManchester City players Khadija Shaw and Yui Hasegawa
Top scorer Khadija Shaw (right) and summer signing Yui Hasegawa have been two of the stars of a City season ending in dejection
Inevitably, though, the departure of such a wealth of experience and pedigree in defence and midfield has cost City at either end of the season.They lost their entire midfield,” tactical analyst Michael Cox told The Athletic. “They’ve done as well as could be expected for a side who were pretty much dismantled at the start of the season.
hey’ve got some really exciting attacking players but the midfield isn’t anywhere near good enough compared to Arsenal or Manchester United, to a certain extent.”A 4-3 defeat at Aston Villa and a subsequent 2-0 loss at Chelsea ensured Taylor – who had spoken of title ambitions in September – was under pressure by the third game of the season.
Yet when City beat Reading 4-1 to stay firmly in the title race on 30 April, Taylor suggested his players had been concentrating on scoring enough times to make sure goal difference did not decide their fortunes.
As it is, three defeats in five games have made their preceding 14-game unbeaten run seem little more than consolation.They probably should have won one of the last four titles, but not this one,” said Cox, who had expected City to be “miles away” from challenging this season.
They had a real chance of winning the WSL in 2020, when the season ended early and it was decided on points per game.Maybe last season they could have been better, but this time around I don’t think they’ve got a great squad.”
How will not playing in the Champions League affect City?
Taylor nodded to City’s 10-point cushion over fifth-placed Aston Villa when he reflected that there are four teams “going at it” for European qualification.It is a blow because you love being in the Champions League,” he said. “It is so tough now. The hardest place is getting in it and then the qualification process – certainly for us.”
Despite City falling short in Champions League qualifying in each of the last two seasons, Taylor thinks his current group of players would have the potential to emulate Arsenal and Chelsea’s recent runs to the semi-finals.
“I feel like if we can get into the group stage we can do what Arsenal and Chelsea have done, potentially with this group of players in the next two or three years, but the hardest step is making it into the group stage,” he said.