Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur: US superstar Alex Morgan will be up against it to make a serious impact after hew new side are thrashed in Women’s Super League
- Chloe Kelly scored twice as Man City put the struggling visitors to the sword
- Alex Morgan is working her way up to full fitness after joining Tottenham
- Morgan’s international team-mate Sam Mewis is already shining in the WSL
Alex Morgan says she must have ‘missed the memo’ telling her that Manchester, not London, was the destination of choice for the armada of US players who have landed here to find some football and escape the sporting chaos of their own nation.
She could do with some powers of persuasion to entice a few of her compatriots south. Tottenham are in the formative years of their development as a force. Less than a year ago, their players were turning up for training with a sandwich and were not even allocated a fridge to put them in. They were a very long way from challenging one of the division’s best.
It means that for Morgan, not even yet fit enough for the bench, this was a bullet best dodged. She will be up against it if she is to make a serious impact when the moment comes.
Chloe Kelly was the star of the show as Manchester City were dominant against Tottenham
Alex Morgan will be aware of the magnitude of the task facing her new team after a heavy loss
Alanna Kennedy, the rangy Australian seen as the most probable supply line for Morgan, could not develop any kind of passing range. Kit Graham, the 24-year-old who has only known London football, at Charlton before Spurs, offered the best creative threat but nothing could come of it.
It will take time for a side only promoted to the top flight last year, but the WSL needs a strong Spurs as soon as possible. The weekend’s results reinforced the sense that the power is coalescing around five sides.
Everton’s 6-0 evisceration of Aston Villa cemented their threat to the established elite, as did Manchester United’s 3-0 defeat of Brighton on Sunday. Spurs now face United at home and Arsenal away, so a benign introduction for Morgan will require a few more weeks on the sidelines.
Ellen White was the joint-top goalscorer at the 2019 Women’s World Cup and scored the fourth
Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Roebuck 6; Morgan 6, Bonner 6 (Stokes 70min, 6), Houghton 6.5, Greenwood 6; Walsh 7; Beckie 6, Mewis 7 (Scott 70, 6), Weir 6 (Lavelle 62, 6), Kelly 8 (Park 62, 6); White 7. Subs not used: Bardsley, Taieb, Coombs, Stanway, Bronze. Manager: Gareth Taylor 6.5.
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Spencer 6; Percival 5.5, Zadorsky 6, Harrop 5, Worm 6; Kennedy 5.5, Filbey 6; Graham 7 (Addison 46, 6), Green 6 (Quinn 70, 6), Davison 5.5 (Leon 79); Dean 5.5 (Ayane 69, 6). Subs not used: Martin, Godfrey, Neville. Manager: Karen Hills 6.5. Referee: Stacey Pearson 7.
City’s visit to Chelsea next Sunday, though, will tell us something about the balance of power in this competition. The manner of their victory here demonstrated the value of bringing Chloe Kelly in from Everton.
The first of the 22-year-old’s two goals — a right-foot shot which arced into the top-right corner from just outside the area — was easily the standout moment of the afternoon. She supplemented it with a penalty when Ria Percival shoved City’s Gemma Bonner in the back.
But though City’s dominance was supreme, their forward movement does look more predictable than Chelsea’s. The flanks feature prominently, while Emma Hayes’ side transfer the ball around with dynamism through small pockets of space.
City’s Ellen White breaks out of any City predictability. She is a throwback in some ways: an old-fashioned striker who just looks for goal and sets out in pursuit of it. You gave thanks for her 30-yard first-half shot, which struck the bar, amid all the pretty stuff which brought little end result.
Her header which diverted Steph Houghton’s own aerial effort into the net made it 4-0 and by then Sam Mewis, one of City’s new US stars, had signalled her own promise by shrugging off Gemma Davison and finishing. Anna Filbey’s header from a corner brought Spurs’ consolation.
‘We’re going to work hard to assist her,’ Spurs manager Karen Hills said of Morgan last night. ‘We are early in our development and it’s no surprise that we find it hard to break teams like this down. Alex can bring that leadership and work for us in the transitions.’
None of which will be as easy as it sounds.
Anna Filbey headed home a consolation for Karen Hills’ team on a very difficult afternoon