The gulf between the top three and the rest in SWPL 1 continues to broaden after only eight competitive games this season.
A 12-point margin has already built-up between them and the closest chaser, Hearts – who should be noted as being one of a few other sides to have also performed well so far.
Rangers, Celtic and Glasgow City have all had a flawless start, and the Old Firm are yet to even concede a single goal.
City’s only blemish came against Aberdeen after they found themselves level in that clash before salvaging all three points in the end.
Whilst the top three continue to enhance the standards of the women’s game domestically, the pace at which they are doing so is highlighting how far behind the others appear to be.
All three have a framework that is considered professional and both City and Rangers have a squad that is almost entirely full-time.
The advantage that gives them alone is enormous, and add to that the quality of players they have, it is no surprise they are far superior.
With the commitment of increased coverage in the years ahead, it is imperative that the revenue generated for all clubs is put to tightening the margins that exist.
The three frontrunners have invested ahead of the curve and have moved away from treating the women’s team like a charitable part of the club and instead offer an elite environment that promotes high performance.
The concern for me is that others are still far too conservative and that the gap will only likely continue to be move in an uneven direction.
Arsenal and Chelsea kick off Champions League group stage with wins
The group stages of the Uefa Women’s Champions League began this week, with both English clubs facing the top two French domestic sides.
Arsenal had the unenviable task of heading to Lyon to face the holders in the Groupama Stadium as their opening fixture.
Ahead of the tie many had ruled out the Gunners after they travelled without injured centre-back duo Leah Williamson and Rafaelle Souza. That left young English defender Lotte Wubben-Moy and makeshift central defender Steph Catley in charge of Lyon’s frontline.
There would be some consolation in that Ada Hegerberg was also missing, after the injury she picked up whilst away with Norway, while USA’s Catarina Macario was also unavailable in Lyon’s depleted attack.
The result was somewhat unexpected but made a clear statement to Arsenal’s potential and intent this season.
For the last few years the English sides have fallen short in the competition, but the 5-1 thrashing that Arsenal handed Lyon on Wednesday night could be the first clear sign that the trend could be changing.
Caitlin Foord gave the Gunners an early lead before Frida Maanum doubled it inside the opening half hour. Although Marie-Antoinette Katoto pulled one back, Beth Mead restored the two goal lead with a low driven free-kick before half-time.
The mistakes continued at the back for Lyon, and Foord and Mead added another each to give Arsenal a glorious victory to start their Champions League group play and send a strong statement that they hope to be contenders this time around.
Chelsea started with a trip to Paris to face the other French giants, PSG, with the sides meeting for the first time since March 2019 in the same competition.
Chelsea were still without Emma Hayes on the touchline who continues her recovery from emergency surgery two weeks ago.
Although the Blues would have felt confident going into the game, after their 3-1 win at the weekend over Everton, there possibly could have been nerves for those players involved in last season’s competition.
The side disappointingly failed to make it out of the group stages after making the final in the previous year and they would want to avoid a re-run of that.
The game was even for the most part and both teams had chances, but Chelsea made the breakthrough in the 27th minute when Millie Bright connected with Erin Cuthbert’s delivery from the wide area.
Putellas makes history with second Ballon d’Or win
Alexia Putellas won her second consecutive Ballon d’Or award, finishing ahead of Arsenal and England forward Beth Mead by just a single vote.
Putellas missed the Euros this summer after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury days before Spain were due to kickstart their tournament.
— Alexia Putellas (@alexiaputellas) October 17, 2022
However, the Barcelona captain was instrumental in the club’s domestic history-making season and amassed 11 goals in 10 Champions League games, as they finished as runner-ups in the competition.