Ladies 22/02/2019

Ladies: Loughborough Foxes Preview

By Chris Smith

It’s another away game for Watford in the FA WNL this Sunday, with Loughborough Foxes the opposition.

The Golden Girls have picked up four points from their previous two league games, which included a draw on the road at QPR last time out.

Loughborough have had a good season after winning promotion last campaign. They currently sit in sixth place, two points behind Watford.

Views from the Head Coach

It’s been a win and a draw for Watford in the league so far this month, although it’s clear that Armand Kavaja wasn’t satisfied with the result in the previous fixture.

“We were very disappointed with the draw,” he told watfordfc.com. “It felt like a defeat to all of us, there’s been a few things from that game that we have been trying to put right this week.

“We did not retain purposeful possession during the whole game, we forced the ball too many times, we rushed things and got in to fights in wrong areas.

“We’ve focused in training on retaining possession and trying to play forward without forcing it. Out of possession we have tried to cover a few things in terms of our shape, like being compact, covering and recovery.”

One of the themes in recent league games has been tight encounters, with the last five either ending in a draw or being settled by a one-goal margin.

“I think the league is very competitive and there is no team that you can say it’ll be an easy game,” said Kavaja.

“We certainly need to be at our best in all games, sometimes even more against the teams that you are expected to win against.”

It’s an intriguing match-up this Sunday, as Watford take on a Loughborough Foxes side who are just below the Golden Girls in the standings.

“We know that they are a team that are very positive in their game,” explained Kavaja. “They are very creative going forwards, with individuals that have the ability to get past players in a one v one and also the ability to shoot from different distances.

“We must be organised, focused and not allow them to get through us and get shots away in and around our box.”

The Hosts

It’s safe to say Loughborough Foxes were emphatic in winning promotion to the FA WNL Southern Division. Last season they dropped just two points in 22 games, scoring 91 times and conceding only nine in the process.

That form carried on to the beginning of 2018/19, with Watford one of the victims of their early season form. QPR were dispatched on opening day 7-0 and then that was followed up by that 3-1 win at Kings Langley.

They progressed to the FA WNL Cup with a 4-0 win over Denham United. The winning run was ended in the league next time out, but they remained unbeaten with a 1-1 draw against C&K Basildon.

Loughborough were brought back to down to earth with four consecutive losses. Looking back, this maybe wasn’t as big a blip as it seemed, with all defeats to the current top four and three on the road.

The fixture list was a bit kinder in their next six and they took 16 points from a possible 18, including a good 1-0 win over Cardiff City and emphatic victories against Milton Keynes Dons and Plymouth Argyle.

That run was ended on Valentine’s Day, with unbeaten Coventry United securing the three points at the Loughborough University Football Stadium

Since December, Loughborough have only played two league games, with the focus mainly on cup competitions. Like Watford, they enjoyed a run to the fourth round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, beating Gillingham and Billericay Town, before falling to Championship side Sheffield United.

That isn’t the end of their cup adventures. They’ll be one of four teams remaining in the FA WNL Cup, with the most noticeable performance so far being their comeback victory at Cardiff City, winning in extra-time after being 3-0 down at half-time.

Last time out

QPR 1-1 Watford

Team: Baranowska, Hinchcliffe (Kikomeko, 52), Edwards, Kettle, Hallsworth, Scanlon (Akerman, 73), Stojko-Down, Bell (Afuakwah, 82), Fatuga-Dada, O’Leary, Ward ©

Goal | Ward (28 – PEN)

Loughborough Foxes 3-0 AFC Wimbledon

Team: Burle, Eastham, Bartle ©, Young, Acton, Cooper (Knight, 80), Steele (Chambers, 11), Rogers, McGrother, Simes (Cassidy, 71), Chandarana

Goals | Cooper (39), McGrother (48, 90+2)

 

Information

Loughborough Foxes Women v Watford FC Ladies

FA WNL

Sunday 24th February

2pm

Loughborough University Football Stadium

LE11 3TU

First Team 21/02/2019

Janmaat: “We Know We Can Still Get Better”

Dutch defender Daryl Janmaat has been speaking about the Hornets’ aims for the rest of the season as they prepare for a tricky away game against Cardiff City.

The Bluebirds are stronger at home, having won five of their 13 games at the Cardiff City Stadium, compared to just two of 13 away.

Janmaat, singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest of this group drilled so well by Javi Gracia, is ready for a searching examination.

“Every game is difficult [in the Premier League],” said the full-back. “They are out of the relegation zone now, and they’ve won the last two. 

“It will be tough, so we have to be ready and prepared because we want the three points, they are massive for us.”

Like he says, Cardiff have been picking up a few more points recently as they’ve slowly adjusted to competing in the top-flight. 

The Premier League is one of the most – if not the most – entertaining league in world football because anyone can beat anyone else, regardless of perceives strength, weakness or stature.

“The league is so hard to predict,” said Janmaat. “Cardiff struggled early on but they are picking up now. 

“They are doing good now, and their aim is to stay in the Premier League.”

The Hornets meanwhile have moved swiftly after being promoted in 2015 from aiming to simply survive, to aiming to be the ‘best of the rest’ outside of the top six.

With that comes a level of ambition, certainly, but that is also tempered by a pragmatism that ensures no one believes they will reach that target by rights alone – it is something that will only be achieved by working day to day on the marginal gains that can make the difference.

“So far we’ve had a really good season,” said the defender. “We’re in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and we have a league good position too.

“We must push now to end of the season and reach something we haven’t done before.

“We are one point off 7th and European football which is something we haven’t done before so we have to try and get it.”

The Golden Boys haven’t tasted European football since reaching the third round of the then-UEFA Cup in the 1983/84 season (let’s not count the Anglo-Italian Cup, shall we?).

That was back in the glory days under Graham Taylor, so to reach that level of competition again would be a just reward for all the hard work done on and off the pitch to maximise the potential of the club. 

It would also verify that this is most likely the best-assembled squad the Hornets have ever had.

“It’s a big thing for the club. Lot of our players have not played in Europe before, it would be good for everyone. 

“You never know but it’s really tough for all teams. We show a lot of ambition and every year the group improve – and we know we can still get better.”