It’s fair to say the defeat to West Ham in the FA WPL Plate Semi-Final was disappointing and the Tigresses could have played better but they dusted themselves down and bounced back in style with a 7-0 win over Morecambe last Sunday. With no other distractions everyone at the club can now focus on the league with nine games between the Tigresses and the league title.
Results recently have gone in favour of the Tigresses with Liverpool and Brighouse playing out a goalless draw and Brighouse slipped up again in midweek when they could only draw away at Morecambe. Liverpool could then only draw with Chorley last Sunday as City Ladies were hammering Morecambe 7-0. All of this means that if the Tigresses win their last nine games there is nothing anyone can do to stop them winning the league title.
We have had the calculators out and City Ladies can afford to slip up once between now and the end of the season and they will still win the title but of course the players and management will be looking to win every game and pick up as many points as possible between now and the end of the season.
After studying the fixtures, when the Tigresses host Brighouse in April all three of the title challengers will have played the same amount of games which means it could well be a title decider. If they have managed to win the 6 games before then the title will almost be secure but we are really trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves!
Rachel Gay and Danny Johnson have a great squad at their disposal and as both of the coaching duo have emphasised on several occasions this season every player will have their part to play in the run in this season. We have seen a squad rotation policy work well in recent weeks with Amy Kay and Meg Render getting their chance at the back while Emma Westmorland returned to the side on Sunday in the win over Morecambe.
The competition for places is fierce and it’s no coincidence that this leads to success. The Tigresses have players able to come in and replace their counterparts in every position on the pitch and that leads to improved performances from the 11 players lucky enough to pull on the shirt every week. The players on the bench are chomping at the bit to get on and make an impact in the game and all this means everyone is giving it 100% in every game and when you have as much quality as The Tigresses do your going to take some stopping!
Rachel Gay was quick to highlight the strength in depth and the spirit of the squad when she spoke to us following Sunday’s thumping win over Morecambe, “We have massive strength in depth within the squad and its showing every week. Competition for places, keeping everybody fresh, rotation its great because when people are starting or coming on from the bench they want to prove a point and that’s probably why we are where we are in the league at the minute”
To draw a comparison from the men’s game you only need to look no further than Manchester City. They are walking away with the Premier League title and a lot of that can be put down to the overall quality of their squad. Raheem Sterling was on fire and then he picked up and injury, Bernardo Silva replaced him and now Raheem will struggle to get back into the team. John Stones is having a similar problem at the back for them too. Competition breeds success and City Ladies strength in depth should see them over the line this season.
The final stretch is coming into view and the message is simple, just keep winning!