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FA WSL Preview: Birmingham skipper predicts more twists in race for title

12.08.2011 - Football

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Birmingham City Ladies v Chelsea Ladies; DCS Stadium , Sunday 14 August, Kick Off: 1400.

Birmingham City captain Laura Bassett believes there will be yet another twist in the race for the inaugural FA WSL title, with just a couple of games remaining.

By David Brenchley

After a 1-1 draw with second-placed Arsenal on Sunday Blues seem to have lost the initiative, as the Gunners are now two points behind with a game in hand, despite the Midlanders having led from day one.

Arsenal, though, still have one potential banana-skin in the shape of Everton, who defeated Laura Harvey's side a fortnight ago, and Bassett is banking on her rivals slipping up before the season ends.

"Everyone knew [Birmingham v Arsenal] was a massive game and it could be a big statement so, as a result, neither team wanted to lose," the England international told WSR.

"We were disappointed we only got a point because now it is out of our hands; we can only carry on and win the next two games and rely on Arsenal dropping points.

"But I think there is still going to be a twist before the end of the season.

"[The draw] was a bit disappointing but all the players love playing in the massive games and it is great that Birmingham are still playing in those kind of games at the end of the season."

Blues host Chelsea on Sunday in their penultimate game of the season and, despite the Londoners coming into the weekend off the back of three straight losses, Bassett is expecting a challenge.

"It has been quite a funny season because some of the teams, like Everton, didn't have a great first half to the season but have picked up points in the second half and Chelsea has been the reverse.

"We know a lot of the players that play for Chelsea, they are really organised, hard to beat and have players who know where the back of the net is so they are always a threat going forward.

"As we are one of the top two sides they will want to stamp their authority and beat us so I think it will be a tough game for us."

One important ingredient in their superb season has been the goalscoring form of their side and, in the main, striker Rachel Williams, for whom Bassett reserved special praise.

"Rachel has been absolutely fantastic. On and off the pitch she is such a team player and she is so modest. She works hard, is always a threat and looks like she is going to score in every game she plays.

"As well as being powerful and quick she is also technically very good; she has great touch and you can see with some of her finishes she knows where the back of the net is."

Williams has an impressive twelve goals in as many games but has been ably supported by others in the side, including full back Kerys Harrop, winger Karen Carney (both three) and Dunia Susi (two).

Bassett continued: "As much as Rachel has been scoring the majority of our goals, it is nice that from all areas of the pitch we are able to score, we have especially been a threat from set pieces this season.

"We have a good physical team with height so we can dominate from set pieces and then from open play, Chelsea [Weston] and Kez [Harrop] like to get forward and Dunia and Kaz [Carney] like to join in and have a shot on goal."


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