With the 2020-21 Women Super League (WSL) season set to get underway this weekend as Chelsea Ladies look to defend their crown, here are three reasons as to why you should tune into WSL this season.
Manchester City and Arsenal will both be looking to push Emma Hayes’ women until the end in what looks set to be a fierce title fight between the WSL’s ‘Big Three’, whilst Manchester United, Reading and Everton have invested in their squad over the summer as they look to mount a challenge against last season’s top three with third-place also guaranteed a Women’s Champions League spot next season.
We therefore have rounded up three of the biggest reasons as to why you should tune in to the 2020-21 WSL season.
This summer has seen an influx of new players arriving from across Europe and America with Man City boasting two top American signings in Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle, whilst Chelsea broke the world record fee for a female player by securing Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg in a statement of intent as the Blues look to defend their crown in not only the league but also League Cup.
With NWSL regular season cancelled in America, several players have instead opted to sign temporary deals with WSL clubs in search of regular first-team football, which has benefitted smaller clubs like Tottenham, Reading and Birmingham City whilst Mewis and Lavelle opted to sign for City.
Outside of last season’s top two, several teams have also invested in new signings with Everton in particular adding five international signings from across Europe, including Valerie Gauvin and Nicoline Sorensen from Montpellier and Brondby IF respectively with 30 goals scored between the pair last season.
Various WSL players including Chloe Kelly and Lucy Staniforth have meanwhile switched clubs as the pair left Everton and Birmingham for Man City and United respectively, as both Manchester clubs look to improve on impressive 2019-20 campaigns in which they finished second and fourth.
We are therefore set for an exciting season full of new players looking to make their mark on not just their clubs but also the league itself as WSL expands its collection of foreign stars which could well influence the pecking order if clubs have made the right investment.
Top three Into Europe
From this season, the third-placed team will also gain entry into next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League as part of an UEFA restructure of the competition, meaning that there could well be an almighty scrap for third.
Based on quality, you would expect Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal to lock out the top three in any non-specific order after Arsenal finished 13 points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United but all clubs have improved their squads over the summer and will be looking to close that performance gap to the top three.
Add in emerging young talent looking to push on from last season plus a strong selection of new signings and we are certainly set for a cracking season with several teams looking to cause a shock and clinch that final European spot at the expense of one of the leading clubs.
Can Vivianne Miedema be Stopped?
Vivianne Miedema has won the WSL Golden Boot in each of last two seasons with a combined total of 38 goals but with new players and emerging stars looking to continue their rise, this season’s battle for the Golden Boot could well be the toughest yet.
Chelsea’s Beth England looks the obvious contender after scoring 14 goals last campaign but will face competition for fellow Blue, Sam Kerr, who has worked on her gameplay through lockdown yet still needs to polish her finishing after a wasteful display in Chelsea’s Community Shield win last weekend but shouldn’t be ruled out yet.
Other contenders include two emerging Manchester stars in Chloe Kelly and Lauren James who play for City and United respectively whilst Ellen White will be looking to mount a strong challenge after experiencing an injury hit start to life at the Academy Stadium last season.
Either way, Miedema will certainly put up a strong defence of her Golden Boot trophy after also topping the assists chart last season, so expect a tough battle raging throughout this season between various players looking to end Miedema’s reign as the top WSL season scorer which can only mean plenty of goals.
- Liverpool were relegated at end of last season to the Championship but face tough competition for promotion from Sheffield United and Durham, whilst Leicester have done solid transfer business and will be looking to get in on the promotion fight.
- Man City are under new permanent management of Gareth Taylor but will be desperate to end a three season streak of finishing as runners-up.
- WSL newcomers, Aston Villa will be looking to avoid becoming the first promoted team to suffer instant relegation to the Championship.