September 19, 2022 4 min read
Men’s football continues its berserk season with a series of disguised World Cup warm-up games this week and next: Wales are in Belgium and at home to Poland, while England travel to Italy then host (of all nations!) Germany in what is sure to be a tribute to her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
In case you do want to watch men play football this week, the Scotland men’s team play twice in four days at Hampden Park: Ukraine on Wednesday and the Republic of Ireland on Saturday. This Dark Berry flavoured vodka would be a perfect way to celebrate should the boys in blue take six points from six.
Women’s football continues the start of its season following the berserk triumph of the England team at the recent EURO tournament. The first round of fixtures was postponed after the monarch’s passing, which meant the Women’s Super League finally kicked off last Friday night in Boreham Wood at Meadow Park, where Arsenal play their home matches.
The game was more or less decided by a sending-off in the seventh minute and it seemed inevitable that Arsenal, who had 38 shots on the Brighton goal, would win comfortably. Two Beth Mead goals wrapped up a 4-0 win for a side captained by Leah Williamson and which included one of the world’s top talents in Viv Miedema. Hope Powell, the former national team coach, could only call on five substitutes whereas Arsenal had the full complement of nine. They included Jordan Nobbs, a player who could comfortably fit into Mikel Arteta’s men’s team because of her ability to pass and move the ball. This vodka would be perfect to toast Nobbs, who has come back from two serious injuries in recent seasons.
With the men’s team dispersed around the world on international duty, it is the perfect time for a North London derby on Saturday lunchtime at the Emirates Stadium. Tickets start from £6 for kids and £12 for mum or dad and the game should be an occasion which celebrates the WSL. For their part, the Lilywhites began their season away at Leicester and won 2-1, with Ashleigh Neville posting a very early Goal of the Season contender. It’s certainly worth a drink, courtesy of Bohemian Brands, and Spurs fans can browse the bottles of gin and vodka here.
Manchester City have lost both their midfield maestro Keira Walsh and the experienced full-back Lucy Bronze, who have both been poached by Barcelona over summer. Three England internationals – Ellen White, Karen Bardsley and Jill Scott – have retired, which showed when their new-look squad went to Aston Villa last weekend and lost 4-3 in a game that must be described as thrilling.
Exactly one year to the day after the equivalent fixture last season, Chelsea host Manchester City at Kingsmeadow, the ground near Kingston where they play their home games. In May 2022, the Blues won the Women’s FA Cup final 3-2, their second a netbuster from Erin Cuthbert and the deflected extra-time winner coming from their Australian striker Sam Kerr, who begins a season which will end with her as the poster girl for the Women’s World Cup down in the Antipodes (she’s also on the cover of FIFA 23, by the way). Kerr had a goal disallowed for a marginal offside against Liverpool, who surprised the champions with a 2-1 win after promotion back to the top division.
The Reds will try to keep up the momentum on Sunday at Anfield, where there’s a Merseyside derby kicking off at 6.45pm, a time no men’s derby would dare take place at. Everton went to West Ham United for their first game of the season, losing 1-0 in a precise reverse of what happened to their men’s side, and West Ham are themselves at home against a Manchester United side which includes three EURO winners: goalkeeper Mary Earps and forwards Alessia Russo and Ella Toone. United scored four times in the first 35 minutes against Reading last Saturday, which bodes well as they go again for their first Super League title. The Royals, meanwhile, head down to Brighton for their second WSL fixture this season.
Liverpool were promoted back to that division from the second tier, known as the Championship. After conceding eight goals away at Sheffield United, Coventry currently sit bottom of the league and travel the short distance to Birmingham City on Sunday. London City is the club which split from Millwall FC and their impressive second-place finish last year promises good things this season. Sunderland, who welcome Charlton, and Crystal Palace, who trek up to Blackburn, are also fighting in the league below the WSL.