To be honest, this was the same situation last campaign, it seems Gareth Taylor has fine-tuned his attacking formation and has recruited some of the best attacking talents in the womens game. But then it seems to just stop when it comes to his defensive line.
He speaks a lot about how consistency is king in this league and to club success yet doesn&apost quite practice what he preaches with his defensive selections – the keeper situation and attackers are pretty concrete.
Being without Alex Greenwood would hurt any side – ask Sarina Wiegman about that one. But it&aposs not like Taylor hasnt got the players. His side seeps international talent, why keep the likes of Kerstin Casparij on the bench? She was heavily featured last season, whats going on? Instead, Esme Morgan bounces from the number four, to centre back to right back, why?
Laia Aleixandri is a brilliant option at centre-back and has yet to have a bad game in the Sky Blue shirt. She links up well with the height of Greenwood or Alanna Kennedy (either as the fellow centre-back or the left-back over Leila Ouahabi) both of whom have had a great start to the season.
We still see appearances of Steph Houghton and Julie Blakstad at the back, there is just zero consistency here – no wonder they look chaotic when trying to clear their line and left Khiara Keating vulnerable.
At only 19 years of age, the keeper managed to turn a moment of chaos – her mistimed challenge on Cloe Lacasse – into channelled focus to deny Kim Littles spot kick. It showed true character and poise for someone of such a young age to turn that around so fast. Its exactly what you find in England&aposs Number One, Mary Earps.
Clearly distraught at the final whistle, Keating blamed herself for the second Arsenal goal which means this player takes ownership and accountability for her actions. She will use this to grow, learn from, and undoubtedly work hard to improve elements of her game. Although it might hurt now, a wiser, stronger Keating will rise.
Khadija Shaw slipped the ball into Chloe Kellys path to find the equaliser. So Shaw is serving her squad well and her hold-up play has improved tenfold since last year, but for me theres still an essence of unease watching the Jamaican striker on the attack.
She is slower to react than last year, despite her work rate being on-par. In front of goal theres been a touch too many, she seems hesitant to pull the trigger as if there&aposs some overthinking going on, or a lack of confidence perhaps? Whatever it is that gnawing away at the striker, I hope she can overcome it, and soon.
I loved watching Lauren Hemp take up a more central role. Her style of play, turning to face the defender one-on-one centrally complimented the 23-year-old and the players Taylor lined up with; Kelly on the right, Mary Fowler on the left and Shaw in the centre.
Hemp writhed in between red shirts, the ball glued to her feet. Victoria Pelova and Lia Walti were unwilling to put a foot in and draw the foul – the tactic worked. Hemp orchestrated attack after attack by inviting the full-backs higher and linking the play from flank to flank. Her energy knows no bounds and it reflected on Citys 17 chances on Arsenal&aposs goal. I think it would be great to see her take up the 10 role under Sarina Wiegman too