The English Women’s Super League season is underway! To get you ready for its 12th season, Soccer 360 Magazine’s Sean Maslin has a look at all the big stories and new faces coming into this season!
#10 New Season, New Name
Perhaps one of the biggest changes this season was one that most supporters didn’t even notice. With the start of the 2022-2023 season, the league dropped the ‘FA’ moniker out of the league name, now going simply by Women’s Super League or the Barclays Women’s Super League). The move is part of a larger plan to have the WSL stand on its own away from ownership by the English Football Association.
#9 The Reds Are Back!
After two seasons down in the League Championship, Liverpool are back in the top division! The side, led by coach Matt Beard, dominated the competition last season in the second division with a 16-4-2 record on 52 points (only one side is promoted in the WSL). Forward Leanne Kiernan (12 goals in all competitions) had a phenomenal season for the Reds last year and will hope for similar good fortunes in the top tier.
#8 The Rise of Chloe Kelly
It is kind of hard to top scoring the game-winning goal for England against Germany in a European final, but Manchester City fans are hoping Chloe Kelly can do just that. The 24 year old striker is considered to be one of the top young players in the game and is coming off of an injury-shortened season for City (one goal in five matches). City finished a distant third in the WSL table last season (15-2-5, 47 points) but with a healthy Kelly should be contending for top honours.
#7 Bunny Hop Into Season Two
The good news for Kelly and the City supporters is that she will not have to shoulder all of the scoring responsibilities for the side. Kelly’s strike partner up top, Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw had a superb first season, scoring nine goals in league play and was the joint top scorer in the League Cup. Having Kelly and Shaw working alongside Lauren Hemp (10 goals in 2021-2022) gives head coach Gareth Taylor multiple options up top and a young core of strikers to build around for years to come.
#6 Will So-hyun Spur Tottenham’s Attack?
In her first full season at Brisbane Road, midfielder Cho So-hyun impressed Spurs supporters with her expert passing and coolness under pressure. The South Korean international worked well with captain Shelina Zadorsky to build the spine of Tottenham’s defensive third. Now can she do the same for the attack? While Spurs were defensively very strong last season (just 23 goals conceded) they struggled to keep up on the attacking end (24 goals scored). The Spurs attack needs a leader to help galvanize them and So-hyun may just be that option.
#5 Moloney’s Time To Shine
In football, consistency is key and nowhere is that perhaps best exemplified than Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney. The Republic of Ireland international once again had another strong season, recording seven clean sheets for The Royals. Through her long career at Berkshire (she started with the side in their youth academy in 2009) she has often been tasked with performing miracles for the side, keeping them afloat in a very difficult WSL. With the side facing relegation and her contract up in February, a move to a bigger side may be coming.
#4 Can Toone and Russo Change Man U.’s Fortunes?
When it comes to Manchester United and the WSL the side has always seemed to lack that little bit of superstar quality to get them out of fourth and into the top three. With Ella Toone and Alessia Russo they finally seem to have it. Both Toone and Russo are coming off strong showings for United last season (9 goals for Toone and 10 goals for Russo) and in the EUROs for England. With Toone, Russo, goalkeeper Mary Earps, and forward Nikita Parris United finally seem to be putting the pieces together.
#3 Cup Glory
In addition to the WSL title, teams from the WSL will also be competing once again in the FA and League Cups. Both competitions have grown in size and scale over the years as interest in the women’s game has expanded in England. It doesn’t hurt that the matches have also been excellent to watch. Last season, Manchester City knocked off Chelsea 2-1 to claim the League Cup title. Chelsea got a measure of revenge though in May when they defeated City 3-2 in extratime to earn the FA Cup title.
#2 Gunning For The Top
It is kind of hard to look at Arsenal last season and see it as a disappointment. After all, the Gunners went 17-4-1 on 55 points, scored 65 goals, and conceded just 10. But that’s what happens when one finishes second and comes away with zero silverware on the season. With Vivianne Miedema (14 goals), Beth Mead (11 goals), and Manuela Zinsberger (13 clean sheets) all back at Meadow Park Arsenal should be contending for top honors once again.
#1 Can Chelsea Make It Four In A Row?
Chelsea have dominated the Women’s Super League since its inception, winning six of the last eight seasons. With Sam Kerr (20 goals last season), Bethany England (eight goals), and Fran Kirby (seven assists) the Blues have dominated English football and have brought the league to another level. Now can they make it four in a row? The side is largely unchanged from last season which should help against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City. The big question is though how much of an emphasis new ownership will place on winning the Champions League, a trophy that still eludes them.
It’s a Bet
It is going to be another action-packed Women’s Super League season in England, but who will be claiming the silverware when it is all said and done? Soccer 360 Magazine reporter Sean Maslin has his predictions below!
2022-2023 WSL Table
- Chelsea FC
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Liverpool FC
- West Ham United
- Brighton and Hove Albion
- Aston Villa
- Leicester City
FA Cup Champion: Chelsea over Manchester United
League Cup Champion: Arsenal over Manchester City
Golden Boot Winner: Sam Kerr, Chelsea
Golden Gloves: Mary Earps, Manchester United