Katie McCabe is superhuman! Women's Super League winners and losers as Arsenal secure big win over Man City
Another week of Women's Super League action, another round of incredibly significant results. Sunday's glitz and glamour was provided by Manchester City's trip to Arsenal, where the Gunners came from a goal down to record a 2-1 win that could be massive in the title race.
Chelsea capitalised on the Citizens' slip up and moved up to second with a win over an in-form Aston Villa, but it is Manchester United who continue to lead the way at the top after beating Brighton.
The Seagulls, meanwhile, have dropped into the relegation zone after their loss was coupled with an incredibly dramatic victory for Leicester City against Reading.
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Spurs will continue to look over their shoulder following defeat to Everton, but Liverpool grabbed another point at West Ham to move them well clear of danger.
As we prepare for an international break and, after that, the last few matchdays of the WSL season, how big could this past weekend be? GOAL takes a look at the winners and losers from the latest round of games...
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WINNER: Katie McCabe
On Wednesday night, Katie McCabe's left foot was covered by a protective boot as she hopped about on crutches after going off injured during Arsenal's 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.
On Sunday afternoon, that same left foot sent an absolute rocket of a shot into the top corner as the Gunners came from 1-0 down to beat Manchester City 2-1 and reassert themselves in the WSL title race.
AN ABSOLUTE ROCKET FROM KATIE MCCABE! 🚀@Katie_McCabe11 that is incredible!#BarclaysWSL @ArsenalWFC pic.twitter.com/um671lyjKG— Barclays Women's Super League (@BarclaysWSL) April 2, 2023
It was a goal of the highest quality and it could turn out to be one of the highest importance, too. Arsenal went into the game in fourth, three points behind second-placed Man City. After a demanding midweek Champions League game, they were without captain Kim Little and also lost the in-form Caitlin Foord to injury midway through Sunday's game.
But the Gunners clawed their way back into things after a poor first half, and McCabe was the star, creating four chances, winning three tackles and recovering possession nine times all on top of her big moment in the 74th minute.
Thanks to the Irishwoman's goal, Arsenal are now third in the table, three points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand. Not a bad contribution from a player who looked certain to miss this match just four days prior.
LOSER: Manchester City
Seven days ago, it felt like Man City had made a huge step forward in the race for the title, beating and out-playing Chelsea in a 2-0 win.
What a difference a week makes, though. On Sunday, City's hopes of topping the table took a huge hit when they were defeated 2-1 by an Arsenal team that they had got the better of in the reverse fixture in February.
Sunday's game was one that they led after just four minutes in north London, too, thanks to Bunny Shaw's goal. At half-time, it was difficult to see where a turnaround from the Gunners was going to come from, but they came out much better from the break while City wasted some big chances.
Lauren Hemp had the best of them but could not convert from close range. The England winger was electric last week against Chelsea but will have been replaying that missed opportunity in her head over and over when the final whistle went.
Gareth Taylor's side are now fourth in the standings, three points off United at the top. However, like their city rivals, they've played a game more than Chelsea and Arsenal. It's no longer in their hands.
For the first time since September, Leicester are NOT in the relegation zone.
The Foxes have been rooted to the foot of the table for almost the entire season, losing all of their first nine games. Such poor form prompted a change of manager in November, when Willie Kirk replaced Lydia Bedford, and over time it has paid dividends.
Kirk used the January window well and, midway through it, got some points on the board in a 3-0 win over relegation rivals Brighton. With a win over Liverpool in February, a point at home to Everton following in March and a dramatic 2-1 win over Reading coming on Sunday, Leicester are now a place and a point above the drop zone.
We’ll just leave this here… ☕️#LEIRDG— LCFC Women (@LCFC_Women) April 2, 2023
It's a testament to the work of the new coach and how he has not only brought in new players who are having an impact, but helped lift those already at the club - such as Sam Tierney and Carrie Jones, the goal-scorers at the weekend.
Jones' strike came with 96 minutes on the clock, the Manchester United loanee securing the biggest three points of Leicester's season in incredible fashion.
Now, can they stay out of trouble? This win will certainly give them the belief that they can.
Which team replaces Leicester in the drop zone? That is Brighton, who were leapfrogged by the Foxes after losing 4-0 to Manchester United on Saturday.
The Red Devils continue to throw down the gauntlet for the rest of the division, setting the pace at the top of the table. This past weekend, that fine form came at the expense of the Seagulls.
Brighton were, well, all at sea for the four goals, their opponents certainly providing quality but the relegation-threatened side not helping themselves, either.
It's been a season to forget, really, for the team from the south coast. In October, they suffered an 8-0 defeat to Tottenham that broke all sorts of unwanted records. In the aftermath, coach Hope Powell left her role and they picked up a couple of solid results under interim Amy Merricks, beating West Ham and drawing with Liverpool.
Then Jens Scheuer, former manager of Bayern Munich, arrived and, almost as quickly, he departed. In charge for only three league games, the most significant of his tenure was the dire 3-0 defeat to Leicester in January.
Now, they once again don't have a permanent manager, they still cannot stop conceding and that threat of relegation is no longer looming. It is a very real possibility as they drop to the bottom of the standings.
Brighton do have games in hand in which they will try to claw back some of that ground, but they need to stop this poor form and fix their defensive frailties as soon as possible in order to make them count.
WINNER: Clare Wheeler
Everton have been one of the mot intriguing teams in the WSL this season. New boss Brian Sorensen has a philosophy that differs to most of his peers in this division and it has been interesting to watch him drill that into this team since his arrival last April.
With time and some transfers still needed to really take more steps forward with it, Sorensen himself notes that it can produce good performances without the results and good results without the performances at the moment.
On Sunday, he got the performance and the result as Everton beat Tottenham 2-1.
The star of the day was Clare Wheeler, the Australian midfielder who Sorensen signed from his former club, Fortuna Hjorring. No one on the pitch completed more passes in the final third (12), won back possession more often (12), made more interceptions (4) or was successful in more tackles (5) than the 25-year-old.
"I think what people don't see all the time is her defensive work. It's so good," Sorensen said of Wheeler, who has struggled at times with injuries this season but appears to have put those behind her now.
"Off the ball, the way she shuts down the spaces and so on. She's getting better and better on the ball, more comfortable. When you play a lone No.6 in midfield, it's a big area to control but I think, the last three games, she has been outstanding."
That form has seen her keep her place in a talented Australia squad for the upcoming international window, when the Matildas take on Scotland and England. It certainly bodes well for Wheeler ahead of a home World Cup this summer, too.
LOSER: Caitlin Foord
One Aussie who didn't have a good weekend was Caitlin Foord.
The Arsenal forward has been on fire lately, with three goals and an assist in her last three WSL games heading into Sunday's clash with Man City.
But with only 36 minutes on the clock in that game, she had to come off with what looked like a hamstring injury.
It will be of concern to her international manager, Tony Gustavsson, as Australia prepare for two of their final World Cup warm-up games. Foord is certain to be a key player for his team this summer.
Should it keep her out for any longer than the international break, then that would be a massive blow for both the player and her club.
Arsenal's first game back after that window is the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg. To be without one of their best forwards for that would be a significant setback, particularly when their injury list already contains both Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema.
It'd be a shame for Foord, too. She's been excellent this season and deserves the chance to show that quality on another huge stage.