Women Super League 2019-20 Season Preview: Part One

In our first of two posts, 24/7 football looks at the potential prospects of football clubs Arsenal through to Everton ahead of the Women Super League that kicks-off on the 7/8th September.

No 1 Arsenal

First match of the season: West Ham United (H)

Last Season: Champions     Predicted finish:  2nd

The Gunners will almost certainly be challenging again this year but will face fierce competition from the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. 

What happened last season?

Arsenal won their first league trophy since 2012 last season, under the guidance of first team manager Joe Montemurro.  The key to the title win was their fast start; winning nine games in a row including a 5-0 win against 2018 champions, Chelsea in October.

Key Player last season: Vivianne Midema 

The 22-year-old Dutch forward was named PFA player of the year last season following an outstanding return of 39 goals in 46 games in al competitions – 22 of them came in the Women Super League.  She will be looking to carry on that goal scoring form into this season.

Player to watch: Jordan Nobbs

The 26-year-old midfielder scored with her first shot at goal in pre-season against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur – 281 days since she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in November 2018.  This injury forced her to miss the World Cup in France and Jordan will be keen to make up for lost time. Up until that injury she played a key role in Arsenal’s winning start to the league, scoring eight goals in eight games.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Arsenal conceded the fewest number of goals last season – 13 and also faced the fewest number of shots at goal – 141.

No 2: Birmingham City

First match of the season: Everton (H) 

Last Season: 4th  Predicted Finish: 6th

They will most likely struggle to match last season’s finish. Mainly due to losing key striker and England international Ellen White to Manchester City. There have been several changes to the squad and the new players such as Abbi Grant, who signed from Belgium champions Anderlecht, will need time to adjust. 

What happened last season?

The Midlands side achieved their best ever points total in the Women Super League last season, under the guidance of former Atletico Madrid manager, Marta Tejedor.  Marta only arrived part way through last season in January 2019 but achieved outstanding results in the short time she has been in charge of The Blues. One of her most impressive accomplishments so far has been winning the Manager of the Month award for April.  Defeats however against both Bristol City and Brighton and Hove Albion caused them to just miss out on Champions League football.

Key Player last season: Harriet Scott

The Irish right back proved to be one of the most consistent performers last season. This resulted in her being named FAI Senior International player of the year.  Harriet has also given the team a much-needed boost by signing a new contract this summer.

Player to watch:  Brianna Visalli

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder was signed from West Ham over the summer. She was a key part of the Hammers side that got to the FA Cup Final last season and will look to hit the ground running at her new club.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Birmingham achieved victories against every side in the league last season apart from the top two teams – Arsenal and Manchester City.  These sides were responsible for four of the Blue’s six league defeats.

No 3: Brighton and Hove Albion

First match of the season: Bristol City (A)

Last Season: 9th     Predicted Finish: 7th

The Seagulls will be looking to consolidate their place in Women’s football top flight.  I think with a year’s experience now in the Super League that they will improve on last season’s finish. 

What Happened Last Season?

Brighton were a newly promoted side to the Women Super League last season. Under the guidance of former England Manager, Hope Powell they managed to ensure their top-flight status for another campaign. Notably highlights included victories over Birmingham City, Liverpool and last season’s FA Cup Finalists West Ham United.

Key Player last season: Ellie Brazil

At just 20 years of age Ellie was Brighton’s top goal scorer last season with four goals and provided four assists.  This resulted in her earning a call up to the England under-21 squad. Ellie’s pace is her main asset and she will look to continue to build on the promise that she showed last season.

Player to Watch:  Iniabasi Umotong

The Nigerian striker will be looking to rediscover the form that made her Brighton’s top scorer in the Championship two years ago.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

The Seagulls scored 25% of their goals between the 71stand the 80th minute last season.

No 4: Bristol City

First match of the season: Bristol City (H)

Last Season: 6th        Predicted finish: 5th

Predicting that the Robins will have another strong campaign this time round.

What Happened Last Season?

Last season proved to be an encouraging season for the West-Country side. They were successfully led by Australian coach Tanya Oxtoby They achieved a record points tally for the club, 25 points, on their way to a sixth place finish.

Key Player last season: Sophie Baggaley

The young English goalkeeper, at just 22, kept eight clean sheets in 20 games for the Robins last season.  This resulted in Sophie being voted PFA Player of the Year by the fans and she was also named in the team of the year.

Player to Watch: Vita Van Der Linden

Signed by the Robins this summer and looks an exciting prospect. The Under 23 Dutch international featured for AFC Ajax Vouvren’s Champions League campaign last season.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

Bristol City achieved a club record number of wins in the Women Super League last season, seven in total.

No 5: Chelsea

First Match of the season: Tottenham Hotspur (H) 

Last Season: 3rd        Predicted finish: 3rd

The Blues will be another club that will be challenging for honours again this season, under the leadership of highly regarded manager, Emma Hayes.

What Happened last season?

It proved to be a season of what could have been for the London club. Their start in the league ultimately proved costly and included a damaging 5-0 defeat to local rivals Arsenal.

Key player last season: Erin Cuthbert

The young Scottish striker was awarded Chelsea’s player of the year. She scored 13 goals including a Champions League Semi-final goal against Lyon, which went to be voted as the best goal in the competition.

Player to watch: Magdalena Eriksson

The Swedish international’s performances last season made her one of the best centre backs in the Women Super League.  She helped keep 14 clean sheets last season and will look to carry on that impressive form in this campaign.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

The Blues scored over a 100 goals again during the 2018/19 season which included an 8-0 win over Yeovil Town back in May.

No 6: Everton

First Match of the season: Birmingham City (A)

 Last Season: 10th         Predicted Finish: 11th

Predicting another tough campaign for the Merseyside club.

What happened last season?

It proved a challenging campaign for the Toffees last time. They had to contend with a change  of manager mid-season after Andy Spence stepped down. Former Manchester United Assistant Manager Willie Kirk took over. Throughout the season they primarily  struggled with injuries and scoring goals. Everton did however manage to achieve a first victory over local rivals Liverpool in the WSL Cup for the first time in five years.

Key Player from last season: Simone Magill

The Northern Irish striker was Everton’s player of the year last season. Simone scored the long-range winner in the Toffees 2-1 victory over Liverpool in December. She also achieved over a half-century of senior caps for Northern Ireland.

Player to Watch: Esme Morgan

The England Under 19 captain was brought in on loan from Manchester City for the 2019/20 season.  Esme is fresh from skippering England at the UEFA Euro under 19 Championships and the talented defender can play at both centre back or right back.

Interesting Statistic for pub quizzes:

The Toffees only scored 15 goals last season that was four less than the previous season’s tally.

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