WSL 2020/21 Season Preview

WSL 2020/21 Season Preview: Who are the WSL title favourites? Who could face the drop? Any potential surprise winners?

The WSL returns for a brand new season in the women’s game in England. We provide a rundown of the state of play, schedule, players, teams and more.

When is WSL season kicking off?

This weekend the FA WSL will make a return to our screens after a long-expected wait because of COVID-19 pandemic, with many exciting fixtures lined up after being released earlier on this week, with first games being played this weekend on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September. Aston Villa and Manchester City will play the opening game of the season at Villa Park, kicking off at 2.30pm (UK). There are big games coming up as Manchester United host Chelsea whilst Tottenham Hotspur welcome West Ham United. Games will continue to play behind closed doors because of and health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.

How are games being scheduled in the league?

For now, we only know the opening two matchweek fixtures for the new WSL season. Both weekends also have one sole game being played on each Saturday, with Aston Villa vs Manchester City at 2:30pm on September 5th and West Ham United vs Arsenal at 5:20pm on September 12th. There are also games being played at 12:30pm on both opening Sundays, with Arsenal vs Reading and Chelsea vs Bristol City.

What time do games usually kick off in WSL?

WSL games usually kick off around 2pm GMT on either Saturday or Sunday. The opening two weekends of action see six games kick off at 2pm on Sunday 6th and 13th of September.

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Who won promotion to the WSL for the 2020/21 season?

Going undefeated for the whole FA Women’s Championship season, and only dropping two points across 14 games played, Aston Villa will make the jump and compete in the WSL for the upcoming season. The Villains only drew 1-1 against 3rd place Durham last season, winning every other game and conceding just 11 goals. Melissa Johnson, Shania Hayles and Emma Follis scored 26 of Villa’s 39 goals scored throughout the season as they went up as champions.

Who suffered relegation from WSL last season?

With the season being abandoned and the league positions determined by a point-per-game system, Liverpool suffered relegation to the FA Women’s Championship without getting to play out their remaining fixtures. Just one win from 14 games saw the Reds sat on just six points and a PPG of 0.43 which was lower than 10th place Birmingham City who had won just two games but had also played one game less. With the voiding of the National League, Liverpool will take Aston Villa’s spot in the Championship and compete against the same Championship opponents from last season.

Who won the WSL title last season?

The point-per-game system really did not do Manchester City any favours when deciding the league winners for last season. Despite being a point ahead, City finished 2nd behind Chelsea who claimed the 2019/20 WSL Champions by PPG. Chelsea was on 39 points compared to Manchester City’s 40, however had a game-in-hand on City and therefore had a greater PPG at an impressive 2.60. Until the enforced break in the season, Emma Hayes’ side was undefeated with 12 wins and three draws from 15 WSL games.

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What were the talking points from the 2019/20 WSL season?

  • Season Cancelled – Unfortunately, they canceled last season because to the outbreak of coronavirus. Chelsea were awarded the title on a PPG (point-per-game system). Chelsea Women and Manchester City Women both qualify for the 2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League.
  • Liverpool Women relegated – The WSL relegated Liverpool Women who finished bottom on a PPG system. This is despite the male counterparts winning the Premier League and coming off a Champions League win, leaving some questions about why the club did not invest more money into the Women’s squad.
  • Highest scoring game – Arsenal Women humiliated Bristol City Women 11-1 last season. That defeat for Bristol City broke the record for the biggest defeat in WSL history. Dutch star Vivianne Miedema scored six of the 11 goals. Miedema went on to win Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season.

Who were the top players last season in the WSL?

Last season saw Vivianne Miedema score 16 goals, making her last seasons top goal scorer. Chelsea’s Bethany England was second top goal scorer with 14 goals.

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema also made the most assists last season along with Chelsea’s Guro Reiten with both having eight assists to name.

Chelsea’s Sam Kerr is yet to hit free-scoring form for the Blues, with just one goal to her name so far for Emma Hayes’s side.

Who won the 2020/21 FA Women’s Community Shield?

Manchester City have already started their trophy campaign with a loss after being defeated by Chelsea Women 2-0 in the Community Shield played at Wembley Stadium. With Jill Scott shown a red card in the second half, City could not get back into the game.

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Who are favourites for the WSL 2020/21 title?

City’s new boss Gareth Taylor still has five other trophies to focus on and Captain Steph Houghton wants the women to focus on as she also calls for calm despite the loss. Esme Morgan insists that their Community Shield loss will only add hunger and desire into Manchester City ladies. Looking to add more trophies and dominant not just the national scene but the European scene is Chelsea, who will be one of a few favourites to retain their WSL title.

Other contenders include Everton who recently spent £100,000 on striker Valerie Gauvin, who spent her last six years at Montpellier. Gauvin scored 14 goals in just 16 league appearances last season. Manchester United, who finished 4th in their debut WSL season, have added both Tobin Heath and Christen Press to their team. This year’s WSL is looking more competitive than ever with the trophy up for grabs for anyone.

Opening FA WSL Fixtures

Saturday 5th September

Aston Villa Ladies vs Manchester City Women (14:30)

Sunday 6th September

Arsenal Women vs Reading Women (12:30)

Brighton and Hove Albion Women vs Birmingham City Women (14:00)

Bristol City Women vs Everton Ladies (14:00)

Tottenham Hotspur Women vs West Ham United Women (14:00)

Manchester United Women vs Chelsea Women (17:20)

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