Return to action in Europe sees big scorelines for Manchester United and Roma to start 2023

England’s Women’s Super League and France’s Division 1 returned for their first set of football fixtures since the New Year with some very dominating score lines, as La Liga and Serie A continued.

Title races and relegation battles are hotting up as we move into the second half of the season, and placings are looking tight at the top of some of Europe’s best leagues.

From a cagey London derby at the Emirates stadium to goal-filled fixtures in Serie A, here’s everything you need to know from this week’s helping of the top women’s football stories from across Europe, and some big international matches coming up.

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Top women’s football players of the week

Ghoutia Karchouni – Inter Milan

The 27 year-old midfielder played a principal role in Inter’s 4-0 league win over Sampdoria. It was Karchouni that helped open the scoring in the 29th minute with a perfectly placed, long-range free kick that fell directly to goalscorer Elisa Polli.

Karchouni then helped double the scoreline moments before the half time break, firing in the rebound that came from Tabitha Chawinga’s original shot being saved. Karchouni expertly read the game in the second half; she consistently tracking runs, finding herself pockets of space and unselfishly leaving balls for better placed teammates.

Shortly after a third goal from Chawinga that all-but confirmed Inter’s win, Karchouni was replaced for Pandini. The win puts Inter in third place on 25 points, three behind Juventus.

Ella Toone – Manchester United

England international Ella Toone kept Manchester United’s title hopes alive with a great performance in her side’s 6-0 English WSL1 win over Liverpool. Toone’s pressure on the Liverpool defense led to United’s second goal. The 23 year-old won the ball back outside the box and slotted it through to England teammate Alessia Russo who was perfectly placed to fire home.

It was Toone who also set up United’s fifth with a first-time cross from the left hand side that fell perfectly to Martha Thomas. The 23 year-old’s ability on – and off – the ball matched with her unwavering confidence is a key component to Manchester United’s setup and will help push the side forward as they look to knock Chelsea off the top spot.

As the London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal finished in a draw, Manchester United’s win puts them into second place just three points behind the league leaders.

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Top games of the week

Fiorentina 1 – 7 Rome

It was goals galore for top of the league Roma who traveled to fourth placed Fiorentina. It didn’t take long for the visitors to open the scoring with an Andressa Alves goal, and a magnificent strike from Giada Greggi just ten minutes later doubled the scoreline for the Italian league leaders.

Fiorentina headed into the break 2-0 down and with one less player on the pitch, after Mijatovic was shown a red in the 42nd minute.

Minutes after the interval, Roma goalkeeper Camelia Caesar pulled off an impressive save but Alice Parisi was there to fire the rebound into the back of the net to make it 2-1. The goal seemed to give Fiorentina a new lease of life, but that was short lived as defensive errors in the 54th minute led to a third Roma goal courtesy of Emilie Haavi.

From then on, the floodgates opened. Roma’s front line picked apart the Fiorentina defense in the 73rd minute which allowed Andressa Alves to easily secure her brace.

The league leaders dominated for the remainder, narrowly missing a number of chances until Zara Kramzar made it 5-1 in the 85th minute.

Norma Cinotti’s effort from outside the box in the 90th minute secured a sixth goal for Roma, and Giugaliano also got in on the action with a superb chip in stoppage time.

The win takes Roma five points clear at the top of the table, and leaves fourth placed Fiorentina on equal points with third placed Inter Milan.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Chelsea

It was all eyes on London as Arsenal and Chelsea battled it out in a top of the league clash at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The WSL giants served up a truly end-to-end encounter.

The first half saw brilliant chances for both sides, notably from Chelsea’s Lauren James and Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord, but the scoreline remained goalless as they headed in for halftime.

Arsenal hit the ground running in the second half, coming close with a chance from Lina Hurtig in the 53rd that was denied by Zecira Musovic.

Minutes later, Chelsea’s Niamh Charles brought down Caitlin Foord in the box. Arsenal captain Kim Little stepped up to take the penalty and calmly made it 1-0, sending Musovic in the wrong direction.

The chances kept coming from Arsenal, who also hit the bar in the 73rd minute.

But Chelsea’s Jelena Cankovic floated in a brilliant ball to Sam Kerr who provided on equalizing header in the dying minutes.

The 1-1 draw sees the visitors remain top of the WSL on 28 points, whilst Arsenal sit in third on 25 points.

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Top results of the week

Man Utd 6 – 0 Liverpool

Manchester United jumped to second place in the WSL with a dominant 6-0 win over Liverpool. Goals from Garcia, Russo, Ladd, Koivisto, Thomas, and Williams saw the Red Devils capitalize on the London Derby result.

Atletico Madrid 2 – 2 Villarreal

Second from bottom Villareal secured an all-important point with an 87th minute equalizer against fourth placed Atletico Madrid, who now drift further from the top three in the Spanish league.

Soyaux-Charente 0 – 3 Lyon

Lyon stayed hot on the heels of league leaders PSG with a superb 3-0 win over Soyaux Charente. The defending league champions remain in second, just one point behind PSG having played the same amount of games.

Women’s football schedule for the week ahead – 16 to 22 January 2023

League football continues in England, Italy and France whilst Spain make way for midweek Supercup semi-final clashes. There are also some big international games taking place with FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts NZ facing the USWNT. Here are our top picks for the coming week.

Tuesday 17th January

  • New Zealand v USA – women’s friendly international –

**Wednesday 18th January **

  • Spanish Supercup Semi-Final: Sociedad v Sporting Huelva – 18:30 CET

Thursday 19th January

  • Spanish Supercup Semi-Final: Barcelona v Real Madrid – 18:30 CET

Friday 20th January

  • New Zealand v USA – women’s friendly international –

Saturday 21st January

  • Lyon v Montpellier – French Division 1 Feminine – 21:00 CET

Sunday 22nd January

  • Everton v West Ham – English WSL – 13:00 GMT / 14:00 CET
  • Parma v Roma – Italian Serie A Women – 12:30 CET

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