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Birmingham City v Sunderland - Barclays Women’s Championship

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Lasses Preview: Sunderland welcome Birmingham to Eppleton for the final game of 2023

Sunderland Women have the opportunity to go top of the Women’s Championship today as they are visited by an in-form Blues team.

Photo by Malcolm Couzens - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Sunday 17th December 2023

Sunderland Women v Birmingham City Women

FA Women’s Championship - 2pm kick-off

Eppleton Colliery Welfare, Hetton-Le-Hole, DH5 9NA

Tickets & match coverage

Tickets: Tickets are still available and are currently 50% off. Fans wishing to attend the Lasses’ fixture can secure their seat with tickets priced at £5 for adults, £3.75 for concessions and £2.50 for students and U16’s.

Highlights: The FA Player will have highlights and a full match replay from Monday afternoon.

Coverage: Supporters who cannot attend the game can watch it live on Sunderland Women’s Twitter page live. Updates will be provided on Twitter via @SAFCWomen, and we will be sharing photos, videos and comments on the game via our @HawayPod Twitter account.

Other: The club have announced that supporters will receive a free hot drink should they wear a Christmas jumper to the game. and they will also have food bank collection point just by the entrance for any fans willing to donate supplies.

The Lasses

Ignoring the imposter syndrome that currently imbues most Sunderland fans of both the men’s and women’s persuasion, the lasses currently find themselves in the dizzying heights of second in the Women’s championship, losing only one game in all comps this season, scoring 13 and conceding only six. Whilst on the same number of points as Charlton in first place and the same goal difference, the Addicks take advantage over us by having scored two goals more.

The current goals for tally, however, does not reflect what we are witnessing on the pitch. Relentless, merciless and buoyed, there is no resting on their laurels with these players and the constant barrage of attacking opportunities can only be compared and encapsulated perfectly.

Beautiful football is the theme for the season so far with this Sunderland team. But it takes more than just technical ability, sublime passing and confidence to get the squad playing like potential promotion chasers. Credit undoubtedly has to be given to the incredible work done by the entire team, from the manager, coaches, general manager, to the physio, to the kitman, media team and of course the players themselves for following the philosophy and tactics prescribed.

With a plethora of young, energetic and exciting talent, mixed with experienced and mature heads, this Sunderland team is captivating to watch and a ruthless side. The press from the entire squad is mesmerising to witness, starting off with focal point Liz Ejupi in attack. The desire and determination to get the ball back, hustle the opposition and force them back is captivating and entertaining. The new summer additions to the squad in Katie Kitching, Mollie Rouse, Ellen Jones, Natasha Fenton, Jenna Dear, Amy Goddard as well as the number of youth prospects coming through into the senior setup like Emily Cassap, Mary Corbyn and Ella West, have been nothing short of sensational. With every player being heavily involved in all aspects of the game.

Since the international break, the lasses have continued their fine form with a 7-0 win over Durham Cestria in the FA Cup last Sunday and a midweek 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Conti Cup. But now comes the real test for Sunderland in what could potentially be a pivotal match in terms of Sunderland’s title hopes, as they look to keep pace with the likes of Charlton, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Birmingham for that sole promotion spot.

Sunderland Women v Durham Cestria Ladies - Adobe Women’s FA Cup Third Round Photo by Nigel Roddis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

The Opposition

Birmingham enjoys playing a passing game. They are content to move forward slowly and develop the play from the back and middle of the field. They wait for openings to arise by using their passes to entice rival players away from their positions.

Birmingham’s weaknesses include a propensity for playing too high up or getting caught up the pitch. As a result, when they are dispossessed, it offers the ideal opportunity to play in a through ball, which is ideal for the pace and accurate passing of Liz Ejupi, Mary McAteer, Emily Scarr and Katy Watson.

The Blues may be guilty of attempting to be too nice at the back and overusing the passing game. Under pressure, they can attempt to play the ball out from the back rather than clearing the threat with a lofted ball up the field, which has resulted in goals being scored as a direct result of these mistakes.

They keep the ball in their possession for too long, which invites challenges and eliminates any opportunity for a counterattack or charge up the field. They have a hard time keeping their shape and can engage in excessive ball-watching.

However it is important to acknowledge that since Sunderland last played Birmingham, the Blues have hit fine form, winning five of their last five league fixtures, scoring 15 goals and conceding four. The Blues currently sit fifth in the Women’s Championship and are only two points off Charlton and Sunderland, who both sit on 22 points, with Charlton edging it goals scored.

MK Dons Women v Birmingham City Women - Adobe Women’s FA Cup Third Round Photo by Peter Nicholls - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Head to head...

(All venues, WSL2/Championship + Continental Tyres Cup since 2014)

Played: 12

Sunderland wins: 3

Birmingham wins: 6

Draws: 3

Sunderland goals: 13

Birmingham goals: 20

Last time out...

Birmingham City Women 1 - 1 Sunderland Women - Women’s Championship

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