Macario scores on Chelsea debut; City, Arsenal keep up pressure

Between the 2024 Olympic qualifiers, a longer-than usual international window for UEFA teams (including the Nations League finals), and the ongoing Concacaf W Gold Cup, domestic football returned this weekend with a muted calendar and the Women's Super League took centre-stage as there was no Liga F or Frauen Bundesliga.

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Macario scores on return from injury

Sidelined with an ACL injury since June 2022, Catarina Macario's return to the pitch couldn't have come at a better time for Chelsea as the U.S. international finally made her debut and scored in a 4-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday afternoon.

Having signed on a free transfer in summer 2023 from Lyon while injured, and without a goal in 644 days, Macario needed just six minutes after coming off the bench in the 72nd-minute at the King Power to grab her first goal for the club -- the final effort of the game after Nathalie Björn, Mayra Ramírez and Rytting Kaneryd had made the result safe already.

It was a much-needed boost for Chelsea up front as they chase the title without USWNT star Mia Fishel or Australia's Sam Kerr, who have been sidelined with ACL injuries as well.

As much as Macario will be able to add a further dimension to the squad, the joyful scenes after her goal highlighted the mental boost that her return is for the squad. It could well be a galvanising moment ahead of a busy couple of months.

Man City continue to rack up the points

There was plenty for Manchester City to be happy with after their 2-1 win over Everton, but also areas to be worked on. The goals came by way of a gift from the Everton defence, as Bunny Shaw intercepted a poor backpass from Justine Vanhaevermaet, and a fine solo strike from Lauren Hemp. But there were also a few nervy moments at the back, especially after Hanna Bennison's rocket got one back.

Against an injury-hit Everton team, City let their eye stray off the ball more than once to allow the visitors room to work around their box. But ultimately, City had the quality to come away with all three points at home and keep the pressure on Chelsea at the top.

No team need to be perfect as long as they get over the line but, with tougher tests to come this season, City need to resettle a midfield that ran the game so fluently against Chelsea last time out in the league.

Arsenal win North London derby, but Spurs stick to their style

Sometimes it's hard to not encourage a defender to stick their boot through a ball and clear it. But under coach Robert Vilahamn, Tottenham have a clear philosophy of playing out from the back and aren't about to just hoof a ball long now. With training sessions at Hotspur Way designed to get the backline used to staying calm under pressure and being smart with the ball, things have improved at the back. Yet the side still haven't won in four games.

In front of the second-largest crowd in WSL history (60,050), Arsenal came away with all three points from the North London derby with Tottenham thanks to a 1-0 win after an Alessio Russo strike in the second half.

Just like others around them (Leicester, Liverpool, West Ham) in the WSL, this has been a season of development for Tottenham. A little more attacking nous at the Emirates could have provided a different scoreline but the Gunners did enough in a tight game.

Lawson: Spurs show growth despite defeat to Arsenal

Sophie Lawson reviews Arsenal's 1-0 win in North London's derby against Tottenham in the Women's Super League.

West Ham show mettle to hold Man United

After giving up a sloppy goal to Manchester United in the fourth minute, it could have been game over early on for West Ham, but they managed to settle back into the tie and went toe-to-toe with their opponents to claim a 1-1 draw.

Viviane Asseyi's fine lofted finish for the equaliser in the 85th minute may have seemed like something of a smash and grab, but it was a just reward as the hosts managed to find their rhythm late in the game.

The Hammers' growth since the winter transfer window is clear. Still 11th in a 12-team league, there is a feeling of evolution under Rehanne Skinner but questions are mounting around United boss Marc Skinner as the fourth-placed side are now nine points adrift of a European spot.

Bristol's defence crumbles under pressure

Heading into a huge game for their hopes of avoiding relegation, the WSL's bottom side Bristol City were looking to close the ever-widening gap against struggling Brighton. Indeed, Sunday afternoon would have been the perfect chance for Bristol to take all they'd learned so far this season and put it into action against the Seagulls.

However, the Robins' backline folded under pressure and they made basic error after basic error to let the visitors pick up a head of steam for an eventual 7-3 win that was only 2-0 to Brighton at half-time.

Having found a way to get forward in games, Bristol pulled themselves back into the tie and at 4-3 down could have gone on to snatch a vital point (or maybe even three). But rather than roaring on, they fell apart at the back and conceded a further three goas in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Now six points adrift of safety, and with matches against the top six left in their last seven games, time looks to have all but run out for the Robins.

Unstoppable Lyon

With 15 wins from 16 games in France so far this season, Lyon are used to easing their way to victory, leaning on the sheer quality and depth of in their squad. Sunday evening's 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Dijon was no exception.

Even after giving up a rare equalising goal before half-time, it was another routine win at the Stade Gaston-Gérard (with 76% possession and 25 shots to five) even if the champions had to wait until the final minute for Sabrina Dabritz to get her second of the game and fully wrap the result up.

Florence gain narrow advantage over Juve

Juventus struggled for fluency in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal against Fiorentina as they fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Having only played out a 2-2 draw five weeks ago in Serie A, the familiarity looked to favour the hosts, who had the better of the game and struck a deserved winner through Michael Catena just after the hour.

With Roma leading the Serie A table comfortably, the lure of the Coppa Italia final and a chance at silverware should be strong for both teams, but La Viola's six-year trophy drought is strong motivation in itself.

Still, Fiorentina will know that Juventus will be dangerous in next week's second leg. After such a poor showing in Florence, the Bianconere will want to prove they're far better than this.