The latest published stats from Opta, the number-crunching performance analyst which is regarded as gospel in the sport, place Chelsea’s central midfielder Millie Bright as top of the tree in the FA Women’s Super League… for aerial prowess.
At 17 successful airborne claims, Bright has won more ‘aerials’ than any other player this season.
Yet Chelsea’s overall record this year is a pale shadow of last year, when the women’s team dominated almost every department.
This time round it’s Arsenal who are the leading force, with Vivianne Miedema having had 10 shots on target so far this season, more than six of the other 10 clubs in the WSL. Unsurprisingly, she has also had the most touches in the opposition’s penalty area this season (34).
But the stat that should give Chelsea the chills is so-called ‘big chance creation’, an oddly subjective bracket within Opta. The honour goes to the player who, arguably, should have been begged to stay and offered even better terms during the summer… Gemma Davison.
Her loss is being felt in every department by Chelsea Women, and the Blues’ loss is Reading’s gain. According to Opta, Davison has now created five ‘big chances’, though none has been converted by her team-mates.
Put her back into a Chelsea shirt, and supply those chances to Fran Kirby, Erin Cuthbert and Drew Spence, and Chelsea would be back where they belong, at the top of the WSL tree.
Interestingly, Davison is also the most fouled player in the WSL this season, having been upended 10 times.