Will there be festive cheer or a nightmare before Christmas?

Milly Thomson looks ahead to what is in store for the Women and hopes they can get back to winning ways

General view at the West Ham United v Manchester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th September, 2023.

At the end of November, things were looking pretty bleak for the West Ham Women. We hadn’t won a game in our last seven games and our last victory was against Championship side Charlton Athletic, 2-1 at home. In the league we haven’t won since the second game of the season when we beat Brighton and Hove Albion away 2-0 back in October.

Since the start of the season, we have had to deal with many injuries which hasn’t helped our flow. Since September we have had injuries to Viviane Asseyi, Riko Ueki, Mackenzie Arnold, Lisa Evans, Jessie Stapleton and Dagny Brynjarsdottir.

Even with our injuries issues, our performances have not been bad and we have still managed to find the net 10 times in eight league games, but our defensive record needs to improve quickly if we want to finish in the top half this season. We have conceded 19 in our eight games so far. Since Rehanne Skinner has come in, she has always wanted us to play with a back five but due to our injuries, we haven’t been able to be consistent in this formation, but also with personnel and players not getting used to each other.

I believe this is one of the main reasons we have had defensive issues so far this season. Only two games this season have we gone back-to-back with the same players in defence. On a more positive note, our attack force has gelled very quickly and we have found ways to score a lot more frequently than last year.

Also last season we relied heavily on Dagny Brynjarsdottir to score but this season so far the goals have come from different players. Our new striker Riko Ueki has already scored three goals and registered one assist in the six games she has featured in this season. She has also scored a variety of goals which has made it harder for defenders to mark her.

For Viviane Asseyi, she has also scored three goals this season in her six games but yet again because of injury, she hasn’t played as many minutes as she or the team would have liked. Keeping these two fit and scoring often is a must if we want to stay away from the relegation zone.

In December we will only play two games, these will be against Everton at home and Leicester City away. These are games on paper we need to be winning, even with our injury issues. Leicester City are currently positioned seventh and have only won two matches and Everton sit eighth and have only won two games all season also. At the time of writing, we are currently eleventh on four points.

If we can be more compact defensively and carry on our attacking threat, I will be hoping to get six points from these two games going into the Christmas break. If we can go into Christmas sitting with 10 points on the board and majority of our injured players coming back, I do believe we will have a good end to the season and hopefully we will have a good cup run like last year.

Also with the January window being around the corner, hopefully we can buy a few more players in different positions, especially defence, to come in to create depth in our team in case our injury issues carry on.

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