Preview: West Ham United v Blues

It's an exciting time to be in this league.

Brianna Viasalli

Blues hit the road for the first time in the Barclays FA WSL on Sunday with a trip to West Ham United Women (3pm).

And very much like Blues, the Hammers have a fresh look about them after a raft of new signings during the summer.

They have gone for a continental strategy, bringing in seven players from abroad to try and boost a side that finished seventh last season. In their opening match they staged a valiant fightback against reigning Champions Arsenal Women before losing 2-1. Martha Thomas pulled a goal back and French international Kenza Dali was twice denied by the woodwork. So Marta Tejedor's side know it won't be easy at Rush Green against their hosts, who reached the FA Cup Final last season.

Among their ranks then, of course, was attacking midfielder Brianna Viasalli, who moved to Blues in July. Visalli, like Blues' other debutants, showed bright moments of promise in the narrow opening day defeat by Everton Ladies at Solihull Moors. Visalli told that Blues could have done better in the 1-0 loss.

"All of us were a bit frustrated. We kept the ball well, we circulated it, but also we didn't keep it well in certain moments. It's that kind of detail we have to improve upon.

"Everton's goal came from us giving the ball away. That showed why we were our own worst enemies."

Blues have been ironing out certain aspects of their play this week in training and have also done their homework on West Ham.

Visalli admitted that it would be 'interesting' to see how her former club shape up.

"West Ham maintain the same culture and ID, which is not a bad thing. But they are trying to add to that and build. I think we will still see the same gritty, organised team and hopefully we can exploit that with the kind of things we do well.

We're kind of polar opposites in terms of philosophy".

"Personnel-wise, they have good strength in depth and it will be good for us to see what our character is made of. We believe we have the talent, the ability, it's a matter of executing it. Players step up to the role and take responsibility."

The opening weekend results gave a taste of what the WSL could be like this season.

Visalli said: "We've spoken about the competition in the WSL as a whole and you saw over the opening weekend with 2-1s, 1-0s, 0-0s how tight it is. There's not the blowout scores you might have seen in the past.

"That already tells us that on any given day, any team can beat anyone. It's an exciting time to be in this league."

Visalli has settled in well to her new surroundings and her style of play has already found favour with supporters. She insisted there was more to come.

"I really enjoyed it, the first game," she said, reflecting on her and others debuts. "A new club, new atmosphere, a club I've always wanted to play for. Maybe for the players whose first game it was in the WSL, it might have been more nerve-wracking.

In the locker room the consensus was, yes, a bit nervy initially (Blues took a while to settle). But we dominated that first-half before teetering off in the second-half.”

And as for herself?

"That's what I like to do. But I want to be a lot better converting chances and set up more people in the future. I was excited, but at the same time that emotional-management is going to be super important. You have to have control.  I'm an energetic player, I want to go forward. I think you saw a glimpse, but that was not the end of the story for what I can do."

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