6 Things You Can Expect to See During the Remainder of the 2019/20 WSL Season

The Women’s Super League pauses on Sunday, with teams turning their attention to the League Cup. 

Attendance records were sent tumbling on the opening weekend as club sides capitalised on the wave of post World Cup positivity, and the action on the field has equally as pulsating.

There have been talking points galore, stunning individual goals and unexpected results – so what more is there left to see? Here, 90min takes a look at what might be to come…

This Could Be the Closest WSL Season Yet

Drew Spence

The formation of the Women’s Super League in 2011 has improved the competitive side of women’s football in England. Gone are the days when Arsenal would go unbeaten for years at a time.

However, in recent WSL seasons, there has been a clear divide between the top three and the remainder of the division. Birmingham’s 3-2 win against Chelsea made them the only team from outside the top three to inflict a league defeat on either Arsenal, Manchester City or Chelsea during the entirety the 2018/19 campaign.

This gap between the elite and the rest of the league saw some pretty hefty score lines and a real gulf in class. West Ham were on the receiving end of a 7-1 hammering at the hands of Manchester City, Yeovil were the victims of an 8-0 humiliation against Chelsea, and Arsenal hit six without reply against Reading.

However, the first two rounds of 2019/20 fixtures would suggest the gap is being bridged. Brighton held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw, West Ham narrowly lost 2-1 to an Arsenal side who finished 31 points above them last season and Manchester City beat Reading 2-0 – in the only game of the season thus far to finish with a margin greater than one goal.

Wonder Goals Becoming a Weekly Occurrence

Chloe Kelly

Caroline Weir kicked off the start of the WSL season in style with a fabulous soaring strike to win the Manchester derby. A finish that would surely be a shoo-in for goal of the season contender, only for it to be bettered by Beth England’s sublime long range effort the very next day.

The Chelsea striker then had her thunder well and truly stolen by Fara s. No stranger to a wonder goal, the veteran England midfielder found the top corner from a free kick 25 yards from goal to help Reading overcome Liverpool. 

The following weekend, Chloe Kelly hit a marvellous strike from distance for Everton against Bristol City, before going one better two minutes later with an absolutely stunning first time drive that flew into the top corner. 

Need we say more?

Bumper Attendances to Continue Flowing

Manchester City v Manchester United - Barclays FA Women's Super League

The Manchester derby smashed the record for the highest ever attended WSL match as over 31,000 fans flocked to the Etihad Stadium, before 25,000 rocked up at Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea play Tottenham.

A seat at the Manchester derby had cost money, whilst Chelsea gave tickets away for free, suggesting the best way to pull in the biggest crowds is to charge fans. If supporters have made a financial commitment, they’re more likely to come than if they’re just given a free ticket.

With Tottenham due to host Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and West Ham welcoming Spurs to the London Stadium, further bumper crowds are in the pipe line.

A Strong First Season From Man Utd

Amy Turner,Casey Stoney

Casey Stoney’s side could consider themselves hugely unfortunate to not be leading at half time during the Manchester derby. United knocked the ball around really well, refusing to surrender their playing out from the back principles as they took the game to City. 

Although losing captain Alex Greenwood to Lyon was a huge blow, United have recruited well. They have proven WSL experience in the shape of Jane Ross and Amy Turner, combined with the exciting youth of Jess Sigworth and Lauren James. 

The results haven’t been there yet, but there is promise in the performances. United could well be in contention for a finish in the upper echelons of the WSL as a result.

Arsenal to Fire Following Jordan Nobbs Return

Jordan Nobbs

Midfield engine Jordan Nobbs made her long awaited return to action on the first game of the season, entering the fray just after the hour mark against West Ham after nine months on the sidelines. 

The England vice-captain agonisingly missed the World Cup after rupturing her ACL in November, having played a bit part in Canada four years previously due to a hamstring injury. 

The former Sunderland midfielder followed up her substitute appearance with a first start against Manchester United the following week.

Yes, the Gunners won the title last season in Nobbs’ absence, but the addition of her energy, passing range and ability in front of goal will make them an even more frightening prospect.

The Highest Standard of Goalkeeping We’ve Seen

Sophie Baggaley

Women’s football has previously been lamented for the supposedly poor standard of goalkeeping. 

Critics of the women’s game will happily dig out a calamity reel of goalkeepers fumbling crosses, letting the ball slip through their fingers and being comedically lobbed – all while questioning whether women’s football should be allowed to exist. 

However, the opening two weeks of WSL action will have gone some way to silencing those critics. From Ellie Roebuck’s reaction save at point blank range from a Jane Ross header, to the heroics of Sophie Baggaley between the sticks for Bristol City against Everton, we’ve already seen that goalkeeping slip ups should be few and far between this season.


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