The Women’s Super League begins this weekend, kicking off tonight actually with Man United against Reading. I think this might be a bit of a landmark season for women’s football in England; Sky agreed an £8m per-season deal with the FA to broadcast it, so I think we’ll see a lot more media attention directed towards it.
Which is good, because it’s a good league that’s usually tight at the top, with 3 established teams in Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal, and one emerging team in United. There are also teams who are increasing their funding and commitment to their women’s team; the Spurs team is only a couple years old and doing okay, Leicester got promoted last season so will be interesting to see what they do, and Everton have been steadily improving.
Last season saw Chelsea win by 2 points from City, on the basis of a ridiculously top-loaded attach featuring Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby, Penille Harder and Beth England (all basically world-class), which was somehow made to fit together by their manager Emma Hayes, who’s one of the best in the game by all accounts.
Man City on the other hand lacked quality at the top of the pitch, but had it elsewhere. They brought Lucy Bronze back from Lyon (who are basically the Real Madrid of women’s football, except even more successful and much less awful). Bronze is a right-back who women the FIFA women’s best player in 2020. In midfield they’ve got class players like Jill Scott and Caroline Weir, and have added to that with former Barca captain Vicky Losada who’s technically brilliant. This summer they’ve added Khadija Shaw up front, who they’ll hope can be their answer to the goalscoring power of Chelsea and Arsenal.
Arsenal themselves had a poor year last year, finishing 9 points behind Chelsea in third. The coach, Joe Montemurro who brought the title back to Arsenal two years prior, resigned on good terms to allow for some renewal in a team that had become a bit tactically stale in the big games. The new coach Jonas Eidevall emphasises counter-pressing much more, which should suit our style better.
I feel like Arsenal have strengthened hugely this summer. We’ve lost fan favourite Danielle Van de Donk to Lyon and Jill Roord to Wolfsburg among one or two others, but have more than made up for that. We signed Nikita Parris from Lyon, who I believe is the WSL’s second top scorer after current Arsenal no. 11 Vivianne Miedema. Japanese midfielder Mana Iwabuchi was signed from Villa, who’s an incredibly technically gifted, intelligent diminutive player with end product, possibly the signing of the summer. Last summer we were a lacking in midfield intensity and we looked to have rectified that with the signing of Frida Maanum, who looks at the moment like she can do everything you’d want a midfielder to do. And just today we’ve signed Tobin Heath, who’s a bonafide superstar in women’s football.
This is to fit into an existing team that already has more quality than they showed last seasons. Vivianne Miedema is one of if not the best player in the world, just a ridiculous goalscorer who’s also equally good at creating – think Van Persie (her childhood idol). Kim Little is my favourite player, another diminutive midfielder who has already proved a hell of a lot of fun to watch alongside Iwabuchi.
I have a feeling this year might be Arsenal’s, but maybe that’s just bias talking. I don’t really know what Chelsea have done to strengthen in this window tbh, and they were very good last season, so maybe they’ll go up another level and we won’t be able to touch them. Either way I expect some spectacular performances from both teams, with City maybe a bit behind. I have to say I don’t know much about the teams below – I’ve only picked up bits about City and Chelsea because they’re the ones we’re competing with. Any input about the others would be good!
For those of you wondering about how to catch the football and thinking that you’re interested now, but that your interest will wane due to lack of information and discussion about it, hopefully this thread can help but if not Sky Sports should have you covered. There are also plenty of people now on Twitter who are dedicated to covering women’s football. I’d advise giving these accounts a follow, please let me know of any good accounts you follow that aren’t included here:
Tim Stillman tweets a lot about Arsenal men but also does very good coverage on Arsenal women: