Albion Analytics: Albion women's record start

How the numbers look ahead of Albion's match against Manchester United.

By Liam Tharme • 12 December 2021

By Kyle Hemsley
Albion have won five of their opening eight Barclays FA WSL matches.

Albion women’s team are currently enjoying their best ever start to a Super League season, having taken 15 points from their opening eight games, close to double their previous best (8 points – 20/21 season) at this stage of a season.

In addition to this impressive points tally, the Seagulls have kept clean sheets in half their games (4), with only Arsenal (6) and Chelsea (5) keeping more. They rank among the top four defences (just 7 goals conceded) and top five attacks (12 goals scored), finishing relatively clinically, having netted around 4 more goals than their xG total (8.2), and averaging the second furthest shot distance from goal (18.4 yards). Previously, the Albion had never scored more than seven or conceded less than 15 at this stage of either previous Super League season. Interestingly, Brighton have had eight different goal-scorers this season, evidencing the varied attacking threat they offer.

Hope Powell’s side are particularly outstanding defensively when compared to the rest of the league; over 34% of Albion’s pressures on opponents have led to turnovers inside five seconds, the second highest proportion of any side. Meanwhile, the Seagulls rank inside the top three sides for interceptions (173) and ball recoveries (776), and they are a top four side for final third tackles (28).

Albion captain Victoria Williams ranks inside the top ten players in the league this season for tackles won (14), press success percentage (41.1%), clearances (40), aerial duels won (25) and aerial duel win rate (80.6%). No Albion player has more goals than Williams (2) this season, whom has only shot four times, but from an average distance of just eight yards!

Williams is up for the November player of the month award, and in 3 games across the month she completed 119 of her 152 attempted passes (11 passes to the final third), recording 37 ball recoveries, 14 clearances, 11 tackles + interceptions and winning 9/11 aerial duels – evidence of her prowess in a variety of different defensive scenarios. In November, Williams kept as many clean sheets as goals conceded (2) and won more fouls (2) than she conceded (1).

Between the sticks, now-international Megan Walsh is one of the stand-out WSL goalkeepers. She has attempted the most passes (304) and recorded the most sweeper-keeper actions (19) of any number one in the league, also recording such actions father from goal (17.9 yards) than anyone else. Her 76% save percentage is her best ever in a WSL season (65.1% last season, 67.6% two seasons ago), and that total ranks among the top four goalkeepers in the league.

While most WSL sides are either incredibly direct or incredibly intricate in their attacking approach, Albion lie close to average for passes per sequence (2.55) and average upfield speed (1.41m/s), which may be down to system changes from a back four last season to more of a back three this campaign.

Such a system has maximised Maya Le Tissier’s attacking involvement this season; the teenager has attempted (450) and completed (304) the most passes of any Albion player this season topping the charts for progressive passes (49) as well as progressive carries (30), sitting second for open-play shot-creating actions (12). Defensively, she ranks second behind the aforementioned Williams for tackles + interceptions (36) and clearances (40), evidence of her all-round play style.

Up top, Danielle Carter (29) has been involved in the most shot-ending open-play sequences of any Albion players; Carter tops the Albion charts this season for progressive passes received (48), touches in the opposition box (33), shots (19), shots on target (10) and non-penalty xG (1.7). Her three goal involvements (2G, 1A) are also the most in the squad.