FA Confirm Rearranged Date for Crucial Final Day of 2018/19 Women’s Super League Season

All Women’s Super League fixtures on the final day of the 2018/19 season have been brought forward by 24 hours from Sunday 12 May, as was originally scheduled, to Saturday 11 May.

Weekend WSL games are typically played on Sundays, but the move ensures that the final round of fixtures will not clash with or be overshadowed by the last day of the 2018/19 Premier League season, scheduled for the Sunday of that weekend.

Premier League Sleeve Badge

Although Premier League fixtures throughout the season primarily take place on Saturdays, the last day of every season now always takes place on a Sunday.

The FA confirmed the change of date for the WSL games, with all five fixtures that day due to kick off simultaneously at 12.30pm.

In a dramatic twist, the WSL title race could yet actually be decided on the very last day when current leaders Arsenal host second place Manchester City.

The last day will also see Liverpool and Everton contest the Merseyside derby.

The full final day fixture list is as follows:​
​Arsenal v Manchester City
​Liverpool v Everton
​Reading v Chelsea
​West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion
Yeovil Town v Birmingham City

With an odd number of clubs currently in the WSL, Bristol City will be the spare team not in action on the final day of the season and will already have played all their games before 11 May.


FIFA Confirm April 11 as Hearing Date Following Chelsea Appeal Against Transfer Ban

FIFA have set a hearing date of April 11th for Chelsea’s appeal of the one-year transfer ban they were hit with earlier this month. 

The Blues were sanctioned on 29 counts of alleged improper transfer dealings with overseas players under the age of 18, but have continued to deny the charges set against them.

And, as revealed in a tweet by Times correspondent Martyn Ziegler, FIFA have now set the hearing date for this final appeal against the ban to take place on April 11th after rejecting the chance to suspend the ban until the appeal process was completed earlier this month.

Upon receiving this news, a club statement on March 8th declared: “​Chelsea Football Club is astonished by the Fifa Appeal Committee’s decision not to suspend its sanction pending completion of the appeal process.

“The club acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and has already notified Fifa of its intention to appeal against the Disciplinary Committee’s decision and sanction.

“As a matter of procedural fairness and equality of treatment, and Swiss law, the Club’s right to an appeal process must be afforded, before any irremediable sanction takes effect.

Chelsea v Sheffield Wednesday - FA Cup Fourth Round

“So far as the Club is aware, in all previous cases where a registration ban has been imposed by Fifa, a decision has also been made to suspend the sanction until the appeal process has been completed. In this case, Chelsea considers that it is being treated inconsistently in comparison with other European clubs.”

The fate of this appeal will obviously have a dramatic effect on the club’s business going forward in the next two transfer windows, as well as on the future of a number of players, including ​Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who have been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.


Why Callum Hudson-Odoi’s England Call-Up Proves He Should Stay at Chelsea Despite Lack of Game Time

​Callum Hudson-Odoi is in line to make his first senior start for England against Montenegro on Monday after impressing from the bench in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic.

The 20-minute cameo clearly impressed England boss Gareth Southgate, as the 18-year-old is expected to start the next qualifier before he has even started a Premier League match for ​Chelsea, but that is not to say Hudson-Odoi isn’t making progress at Stamford Bridge.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

​Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho has set a precedent for young English players to leave big English clubs and make a name for themselves abroad. Of course, Sancho is flourishing in Germany, but this has somehow created the misconception that there are countless 18-year-olds at Europe’s top clubs and Hudson-Odoi is falling behind. 

In reality, Hudson-Odoi is ahead of others in his age group – for example, he has played nearly 500 minutes more than ​Manchester City‘s Phil Foden this season – and Southgate has echoed the sentiments that ‘CHO’ is right where he should be.

Speaking ahead of the qualifier with Montenegro, the England boss told ​Sky Sports: “If you look at the number of appearances, he [Hudson-Odoi] has actually been on the field quite a lot. And I know from when we were talking with the club earlier in the season how much faith Maurizio [Sarri] has in him. 

“He’s got some outstanding players just in front of him. He’s slowly getting more and more game time, and they’ve still got the Europa League as well.”

Hudson-Odoi is growing in stature at Chelsea as someone Sarri can call upon to affect games. The Italian turned to the 18-year-old as the Blues trailed in both of their last two league games, and he brought him on from the bench in the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City. He has also featured in every Europa League match, scoring four goals.

On the perceived lack of opportunities for the youngster, Sarri said in a post-match press conference in March: “I have my opinion. In my opinion a player at 18 years cannot be at the top yet. He needs to improve because he will be able to arrive at the top only at 22 or 23, like every other player.”

These statements are consistently criticised by fans and journalists alike, but regardless of Hudson-Odoi’s capabilities, Sarri is not wrong and the young winger only has to look at his new England teammates for confirmation.

​Harry Kane spent four loan spells away from ​Tottenham Hotspur before establishing himself as a first team regular aged 21 in November 2014. ​Jesse Lingard was also forced to ply his trade elsewhere for four different clubs before making the grade at ​Manchester United during the 2015/16 season, aged 22.

With this in mind, there is no reason for the England international to quit Stamford Bridge for Bayern Munich after just one season in the first team.

Considering there are 41 players loaned out by Chelsea across the globe this season, Hudson-Odoi should count himself lucky that he has not entered the dreaded loan cycle and it is highly unlikely that he ever will with the Blues’ looming transfer ban.

Hudson-Odoi’s opportunities will only improve in west London over the next two years. ​Eden Hazard is moving ever closer to his dream move to ​Real Madrid and ​Willian and ​Pedro will turn 31 and 32 respectively this summer, with their current deals both expiring in 2020. The London-born winger could very conceivably be Chelsea’s star man before his 21st birthday.

Although Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will both leave Munich this summer, Hudson-Odoi would be competing with 23-year-old ​Serge Gnabry, who has enjoyed a fine season at the Allianz Arena, as well as 22-year-old Kingsley Coman and 18-year-old Canadian prospect Alphonso Davies.

It goes without saying that it is up to Chelsea and Sarri to convince Hudson-Odoi that his future lies at Stamford Bridge beyond his current deal, but his first senior England cap should be a message that his progress is on track and a new contract should be the only thing signed this summer.


Eden Hazard Reveals the Highlight of His International Career as He Reaches 100 Appearances

Eden Hazard has claimed that Belgium’s quarter-final victory over Brazil at the 2018 World Cup is the highlight of his career, as he prepares to make his 100th appearance for the Red Devils. 

The Chelsea winger has scored 29 goals and provided 26 assists for his country since his debut in 2009, and has reached a century of international appearances in Belgium’s game against Cyprus on Sunday night. 


Speaking before the match, ​Hazard revealed that the 2-1 win against Brazil last summer was his crowing moment in the jersey. Belgium had taken a two-goal lead courtesy of a ​Fernandinho own goal and a strike from ​Kevin De Bruyne, before substitute Renato Augusto pulled back what turned out to be mere consolation.

Speaking to​ L’Equipe, Hazard stated: ”The victory against Brazil was my best game in the individual aspect as well as the collective one. I perfectly succeeded in everything I was trying to do. Just like the team. 

”We were not seen as the favourites, as Brazil is one of the best nations. We had trouble in the second half and had a bit of luck too. But it’s still the most accomplished thing I have achieved, all teams included. Because of the emotion we’ve provided to the staff and the whole country was extreme.

”We had a lot of critics at the Euros and we weren’t far from an outing against Japan in the World Cup. It would have been seen as a total failure.”


Belgium were defeated by eventual champions France in the semi-finals, before overcoming England 2-0 to secure third position. Hazard scored his third goal of the tournament, having scored two previously in the 5-2 demolition of Panama in the group stage. 

That Panama game is also memorable to the former PFA Player of the Season, who explained: ”These are my first two goals in the World Cup, we won well and it’s also one of my best games, to start our second participation in this competition, we did not win it, but we finished third.

”The best result in the history of Belgium. We lost in the semi-finals against France on a corner. I will remember the feeling we left. We were not the best. But all the testimonials that I receive tell me that the most beautiful team was Belgium, I like to emphasise the pleasure and the memory that we have left.”


Predicting Where the ‘Big Six’ Will Actually End Up in the Premier League Based on Remaining Games

The international break might be here, but there can be no doubting that the only football that people are truly looking forward to is how the business end of the Premier League seasons pans out.

In one of the most exciting and cut-throat title fights in recent years, Liverpool and Manchester City continue to set the league alight with a remarkable back-and-forth contest. Below them is an equally enticing top-four race, with Tottenham’s dramatic slump in form seeing them nervously looking behind their backs.

Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are all battling out for the two places remaining in the coveted Champions League spots, and each side can all make a genuine case for doing so.

With the disclaimer that I don’t have a mystic ball, below is a look at where the Premier League’s famed ‘big six’ might actually end up when it’s all said and done come 12 May.

6) Chelsea – 71 Points

Eden Hazard

​After a shock 2-0 defeat to Everton just before the international break, ​Chelsea missed the opportunity to go level on points with Arsenal in the hunt for a top four spot. Maurizio Sarri’s side have struggled to adapt to their new manager’s methods and out of the current top six, are perhaps the side looking the least likely to go on a significant winning run in the latter stages.

Even more importantly for the Blues was the kind Europa League draw they received for the quarter-finals, with the relatively less-fancied Slavia Prague. With a potential route into the Champions League next season coming via a triumph in this year’s Europa League, Sarri’s side may well ease off in the ​Premier League and put all their eggs in one basket. 

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 57)
​Cardiff (A) ​W 2-0 ​60
​Brighton (H) ​W 3-0 ​63
​West Ham (H) ​D 2-2 ​64
​Liverpool (A) ​L 2-1 ​64
​Burnley (H) ​W 2-0 ​67
​Manchester United (A) ​D 1-1 ​68
​Watford (H) ​W 3-1 ​71
​Leicester (A) ​L 2-1 ​71

5) Manchester United – 73 Points


After a simply stunning run of form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge, ​United were brought back down to Earth when they fell to a 2-0 defeat to top-four rivals Arsenal at the Emirates. That was then followed up with the Red Devils crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals in fairly meek fashion to Wolves, and may just be thankful that the international break has come up.

If United can stay injury-free, and that’s a big if, then Solskjaer’s side have every chance of going on another incredible winning run to finish in the top four. Their Premier League destiny undoubtedly rests upon their fixtures in April which read – Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Everton (A), Man City (H) and Chelsea (H). 

Those games also include a two-legged quarter-final against Barcelona in the Champions League sandwiched between them. The City and Chelsea games look particularly pivotal to their chances of finishing in the top four; win both and they should get there, drop points in both and that could well be the end.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 58)
​Watford (H) ​W 3-1 ​61
​Wolves (A) ​D 1-1 ​62
​West Ham (H) ​W 2-0 ​65
​Everton (A) ​L 2-1 ​65
​Manchester City (H) ​D 2-2 ​66
​Chelsea (H) ​D 1-1 ​67
​Huddersfield (A) ​W 3-0 ​70
​Cardiff (H) ​W 4-0 ​73

4) Arsenal – ​76 Points

Granit Xhaka,Alexandre Lacazette,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Having suffered back-to-back defeats in their opening two games to both Manchester City and Chelsea, who would have predicted Unai Emery’s first season in charge of ​Arsenal would see them in the top four in the middle of March and in the quarter-finals of the Europa League? The Gunners have showcased that at home they are a formidable opposition, and in beating Manchester United, saw them leapfrog the Red Devils and into fourth.

That game against Solskjaer’s side was Arsenal’s last fixture against another member of the ‘big six’ and on paper, they have the best run-in towards the end of the season. However, their biggest issue lies in the away-heavy nature of their remaining games. After facing Newcastle at the Emirates when the clubs return from the international break, Emery’s side face five away games in their final seven. 

To add a little context, the Gunners have won just the one away fixture since December. If their Spanish boss can get their away form alive and kicking then the Gunners are well placed to make their return to the Champions League; if they can’t, then they will have nobody but themselves to blame.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 60)
​Newcastle (H) W ​3-1 ​63
​Everton (A) D ​2-2 ​64
​Watford (A) L ​1-2 ​64
​Crystal Palace (H) W ​2-0 ​67
​Wolves (A) L ​2-1 ​67
​Leicester (A) W ​2-1 ​70
​Brighton (H) W ​3-0 ​73
​Burnley (A) ​W 2-0 ​76

3) Tottenham – 77 Points


​Out of all the sides in the ‘big six’ desperate for the international break, Mauricio Pochettino’s men needed it most. After being considered a dark horse in the title race just a month ago, a run of wretched ‘Spursy’ form has seen them fall out of contention for the league title, and more worryingly, looking over their shoulders to just stay in the top four. The north Londoners lie just three points above fifth-placed Manchester United, and still have to face both Liverpool and Manchester City in their remaining games.

An even bigger X-factor comes in the shape of their new stadium; set to be officially opened next month, ​Spurs could very well feed off the incredible atmosphere at their new ground and propel themselves back into winning form. Or, trying to adjust mid-season with a stadium move could prove to be too much too soon, and see them slip out of the top four altogether. 

Pochettino’s side also have the added element of their Champions League quarter-final with Manchester City as well, and that could prove to be a potentially season-defining ‘distraction’ for a set of players whose mentality has already been called into question in recent years.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 61)
​Liverpool (A) ​L 3-1 ​61
​Crystal Palace (H) ​W 2-1 ​64
​Huddersfield (H) ​W 3-0 ​67
​Manchester City (A) ​L 2-0 ​67
​Brighton (H) ​W 2-0 ​70
West Ham (H) W 2-1 ​73
​Bournemouth (A) ​D 2-2 ​74
​Everton (H) ​W 2-1 ​77

2) Liverpool – 93 Points


Two points clear of Manchester City (having played a game more), and a plum Champions League tie against Porto, it is all set up for ​Liverpool to have a truly legendary season. Jurgen Klopp’s men missed out on both last year, but have kept up the pace this season, and ​it would be truly heart-breaking for the passionate Anfield faithful to slip up once more. No pun intended.

The Reds’ most difficult fixtures come in the shape of Tottenham and Chelsea at home, and if the title race does come down to the final day, then they face a potentially trick clash against Wolves, who have been notoriously good against the division’s best sides this season.

As it always does when it comes to titles and trophies, it will come down to who can hold their nerve better. The Reds certainly have the technical quality to do so, and in Virgil van Dijk have a real leader at the back. Klopp’s biggest concern might be the allure and possible distraction of another Champions League final, and whether that might just take their eye off the ball in the league. 

The Reds face Porto, Chelsea and then Porto again in the space of eight days, and that one week will no doubt shape their destiny in the Premier League and in Europe.

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 76)
​Tottenham (H) ​W 3-1 ​79
​Southampton (A) ​D 2-2 ​80
​Chelsea (H) W ​2-1 ​83
​Cardiff (A) W ​4-1 ​86
​Huddersfield (H) W​4-0 ​89
​Newcastle(A) D​1-1 ​90
​Wolves(H) ​W2-1 ​93

1) Manchester City – 96 Points


The quadruple is well and truly on. City boss Pep Guardiola has done his best to downplay things at the Etihad, but with a Carabao Cup triumph under their belts, and ‘favourable’ draws in both the FA Cup and Champions League, the side could achieve something historic. 

The Citizens currently find themselves two points behind leaders Liverpool, but with a game in hand. Their biggest week of the season comes in mid-April when after facing Tottenham at home in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, they host Pochettino’s side again just three days later, before rounding off a seismic few days with the small matter of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

Just as with Liverpool, how big a part will European commitments play on the nature of their Premier League performances? Certainly, City have more of a squad for Guardiola to choose from than his German counterpart at Anfield, but will the pressure of being favourites in almost all the competitions they’re involved in eventually take its toll? 

Fixture Result Points (Currently on 74)
​Fulham (A) ​ W 0-3 ​77
​Cardiff (H) W 5-0​ ​80
​Crystal Palace (A) W ​2-1 ​83
​Tottenham (H) ​W 2-0 ​86
​Manchester United (A) ​D 2-2 ​87
​Burnley (A) W 1-0 ​90
​Leicester (H) W ​3-1 ​93
​Brighton (A) ​W 3-1 ​96