WSL talking points as Chelsea look to stay unbeaten

Venue: Brisbane Road, London Date: Sunday, 12 November Time: 12:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

The Women’s Super League continues with unbeaten Chelsea back in action for the first time since the announcement that manager Emma Hayes will leave at the end of the season.

Manchester United host West Ham while Tottenham face Liverpool and Brighton travel to Manchester City.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa will head to Bristol City looking for a first win and Leicester take on Arsenal.

Here are five key talking points before the weekend’s games.

‘It’s time to move on’ – Taylor & Eidevall saga ends

It has been a week of back and forth between Manchester City and Arsenal bosses Gareth Taylor and Jonas Eidevall following the match between their respective teams last week, which Arsenal won 2-1.

After the match, Taylor accused Eidevall of “bullying” the fourth official, doubling down on his comments in a press conference on Monday where he said Eidevall’s behaviour was “over the top” and “unnecessary”.

The Arsenal manager responded on Wednesday by calling Taylor’s comments “borderline slander” and saying he was “really disappointed” but would not take legal action.

After much media and fan attention on the unfolding drama, Taylor said it is time to “draw a line under it”.

“We’ve said what we needed to say, the press have had their bit with it so it’s time to move on,” he said.

“I’ve made comments and he’s made comments, it’s time to draw a line under it.”

Eidevall said on Friday that he had not received an apology from Taylor but that he had “said what I want to say” on the matter.

Chelsea look to charge on after Hayes news

Hayes’ Chelsea will be back in action for the first time since announcing that she will leave the club at the end of the season after 12 years at the helm.

They take on Everton on Sunday and, as the only WSL team who remain unbeaten, they will be keen to continue that form through to their manager’s departure next year.

Chelsea have won six WSL titles under Hayes and are going for an unprecedented fifth consecutive trophy.

Hayes’ legacy at the club will stretch from success on the pitch – 13 major trophies – to her work off it advocating for better pitches, more research into female athlete health and equal prize funds.

“It’s not actually an easy thing to do to leave at the top with a world-class team but I always made the promise to myself that I would do that,” she said in a news conference on Friday.

“I’ve taken this team to the top and I always said I wanted to leave at the top.”

Chelsea have already become known as “mentality monsters” thanks to Hayes’ instillation of a winning culture but, inspired by honouring their outgoing manager, they are even more of a frightening prospect.

Spurs and Liverpool face off for best of the rest

Two teams that it is perhaps surprising to see near the top of the table are Tottenham and Liverpool.

Spurs sit third while Liverpool are fourth – level on 10 points – and Sunday will see the two pitted against each other at Brisbane Road, live on BBC Two.

Liverpool went seven games without a win between September and December last season while Tottenham found themselves battling relegation after a run of nine straight defeats.

But both have got off to a better start this time around and will have similar ambitions of becoming ‘the best of the rest’.

Liverpool boss Matt beard said success for different teams this season “shows the progress of the league”.

“It’s important for the league that it is competitive. It’s great to see and long may it continue for us,” he added.

Villa ready to ‘turn around’ losing streak

Aston Villa travel to Bristol City on Sunday as the only team left in the league without a win under their belt.

Manager Carla Ward admitted her future is in the hands of club bosses after their 6-0 defeat by Chelsea last weekend but her side can take confidence from a 5-0 win over Sheffield United in the Continental Cup on Wednesday.

“It’s come at the right time and was a moment we needed,” said Ward. “The group are wholeheartedly together and want to turn things around.”

Villa finished fifth in the league last season and looked set to challenge the status quo and build towards a top-four finish this campaign.

But they have lost each of their last five WSL matches, their longest losing run in the league, and have already lost two away games so far this season, as many as they did in the whole of last year’s WSL campaign.

Thomas ‘enjoying football again’

Tottenham forward Martha Thomas left Manchester United on transfer deadline day with hopes of playing more regularly and enjoying her football again.

“It just wasn’t working out,” she told BBC Sport.

“I was playing quite consistently in my first year at United and all of a sudden it just sort of fell off last season. I wasn’t getting on the pitch as much as I wanted to and as much as I felt like I deserved.”

Since moving to Spurs, she has hit the ground running with six goals in five games, the highest tally in the WSL, and rediscovered her love for the game.

“I’m enjoying my football again and Robert [Vilahamn] having belief in me has really helped,” she said.

Scotland’s Thomas said she is even “looking forward” to the return of striker Bethany England, Spurs’ top scorer last season, despite the competition it may bring, and hopes they can “complement each other really well” at the top of the pitch.