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WSL: 10 things to look out for in the Women’s Super League this season | Football


1) New sponsors and more matches

The renamed Barclays FA Women’s Super League has an increased prize fund of £500,000 and has grown by one club to 12. The promotion of Tottenham and Manchester United (only Yeovil were relegated) will bring more derbies and should deliver more excitement.

2) A second season of success for Casey Stoney?

Manchester United won the second-tier Championship by nine points in their first season, losing only one league game, under Stoney’s management. The former England international has strengthened the squad and will be looking to bring this success into the WSL.

3) Opening-weekend derbies

Taking advantage of the men’s international break and building on the momentum from England’s World Cup campaign, the FA has scheduled two derbies for the opening weekend – at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge. The season begins on Saturday with Manchester City facing United; on Sunday Chelsea play Tottenham and all the tickets for that match have been allocated.


Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images Europe

4) The return of Jordan Nobbs

Expectations are high for the Arsenal midfielder, who got nine goals in eight WSL appearances at the start of last season before injury sidelined her for the rest of the campaign and forced her out of England’s World Cup plans. She scored on her return in a pre-season friendly against Tottenham.

5) A smoother start for Liverpool

Last season was rocky for Liverpool, with Neil Redfearn resigning as the manager after only two games and the club finishing eighth under Vicky Jepson. They have made some promising signings, bringing in Jade Bailey and Melissa Lawley from Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, and are aiming for significant improvement.

Liverpool’s Melissa Lawley surges forward during a pre-season friendly against the Metropolitan All Stars at Jordan Field in Boston, Massachusetts in July.



Liverpool’s Melissa Lawley surges forward during a pre-season friendly. Photograph: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

6) Consecutive titles for Arsenal?

The title race ended last season with a game to go when Arsenal beat Brighton 4-0 and they hope to secure their first back-to-back titles since 2012. They will have to do so without the forward Danielle Carter, who in August sustained a second ACL injury in 15 months.

7) More success for young managing director Jack Sullivan?

West Ham were a pleasant surprise last season, reaching the FA Cup final in their first year as a professional club. They lost 3-0 to Manchester City but can they kick on under managing director Sullivan?

8) All eyes on Ellen White

Manchester City needed to recruit well after losing their top scorer Nikita Parris to Lyon, and did just that when they signed Ellen White from Birmingham City. White, who got six goals for England at the World Cup, will miss the start of the season because of a knee injury.

9) Emma Hayes targets third Chelsea title

Last season brought a disappointing Champions League semi-final exit for Chelsea against Lyon and a third-place finish in the WSL. Having failed to qualify for European competition, can Hayes recapture the title won in 2018?

10) Never miss a moment with the FA Player app

Continuing a commitment to grow the women’s game, the FA and Barclays have launched an app, the FA Player, that will live stream every WSL game for free.



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