Women’s Super League 2019/20 preview: What you need to know including teams, fixtures, transfers and odds

5 Sep

After a successful Women’s World Cup this summer, the domestic season in England gets back under way this weekend.

Twelve teams will fight it out to call themselves Women’s Super League champions, with Arsenal looking to defend their title.

Can Arsenal retain their crown this season?
Getty Images - GETTY

But the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, who had dominated the competition in recent seasons, will be determined to get back on top.

This season will welcome Manchester United to the top flight – a club that made a return in March 2018 following a 13-year absence and they will open their campaign with a trip to their local rivals.

The game is growing all the time, with the FA announcing the Barclays WSL will be broadcast overseas for the first time in its history earlier this summer.

And below you can read talkSPORT.com’s ultimate guide to the 2019/20 WSL season.


Arsenal

Manager

Joe Montemurro

One to watch

Vivianne Miedema (striker)

Miedema scored three goals at the World Cup and was the WSL’s top scorer last season
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Who have they signed?

Jen Beattie (defender, Manchester City)

Leonie Maier (defender, Bayern Munich)

Jill Roord (midfielder, Bayern Munich)

Fran Stenson (goalkeeper, Manchester City)

Manuela Zinsberger (goalkeeper, Bayern Munich)

First five games

West Ham (H), Manchester United (A), Brighton (H), Chelsea (A), Manchester City (H)

Title Odds

6/4

Predicted finish

1st

What are they saying?

“There is a lot we can improve on this year though and I think that we will definitely have to get stronger because the teams in the league are getting stronger.

“We also have the Champions League to deal with too and more games so it will be important that we continue to get better if we want to be successful again this season.” – Kim Little, Arsenal midfielder


Birmingham City

Manager

Marta Tejedor

One to watch

Lucy Staniforth (midfielder)

Staniforth played for England at this summer’s World Cup

Who have they signed?

Abbi Grant (forward, Anderlecht)

Rebecca Holloway (midfielder, Nashville Rhythm)

Adrienne Jordan (defender, Atalanta)

Brianna Visalli (midfielder, West Ham)

Claudia Walker (midfielder, Everton, after initial loan deal)

Lucy Whipp (attacking midfielder, St John’s University)

First five games

Everton (H), West Ham (A), Reading (H), Manchester City (A), Liverpool (H)

Odds:

20/1

Predicted finish

5th

What are they saying?

“Obviously we had a good season last season, finishing fourth. So to go above and beyond that is the aim really. You don’t want to take steps backwards. There are obviously some great teams in the league, but I think we can compete with anyone on our day. We will take
every game as it comes and look to get as many wins as we can.” – Lucy Whipp, Birmingham midfielder


Brighton & Hove Albion

Manager

Hope Powell

Ex-England boss Powell has been in charge of Brighton since July 2017

One to watch

Ellie Brazil (forward)

Who have they signed?

Lea La Garrec (midfielder, Guingamp)

Danique Kerkdijk (defender, Bristol City)

Matilde Skovsen (defender, Aarhus)

Megan Walsh (goalkeeper, Yeovil Town)

First five games

Bristol City (A), Chelsea (H), Arsenal (A), West Ham (H), Everton (A)

Title Odds

66/1

Predicted finish

12th (relegation)

What are they saying?

“I think last year was a learning curve, especially with the restructuring of the division but this year, I think everyone is more ready and excited to play.

“We will be going into most games as the underdog, but I think that is so exciting. We know we have nothing to lose. I think we could do very well this year.” – Megan Connolly, Brighton midfielder


Bristol City

Manager

Tanya Oxtoby

Oxtoby and Bristol City will be hoping to build on their sixth-placed finish last season
Getty Images - Getty

One to watch

Sophie Baggaley (goalkeeper)

Who have they signed?

Olivia Chance (midfielder, Everton)

Yana Daniels (forward, Liverpool)

Jasmine Matthews (defender, Liverpool)

Ebony Salmon (striker, Manchester United)

Meaghen Sargeant (defender, Birmingham City)

Vita van der Linden (midfielder, Ajax)

Charlie Wellings (striker, Birmingham City)

First five games

Brighton (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), Liverpool (A), Tottenham (H)

Title Odds

50/1

Predicted finish

10th

What are they saying?

“Everyone always wants to win something each season and it feels like everyone here has got high hopes after last season went so well.

“It’s going to be such a competitive league this time around and it’s going to be so close between all the clubs.” – Charlie Wellings, Bristol City striker


Chelsea

Manager

Emma Hayes

One to watch

Fran Kirby (forward)

England international Kirby is arguably Chelsea’s most gifted player
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Who have they signed?

Guro Reiten (forward, LSK Kvinner)

First five games

Tottenham (H), Brighton (A), Bristol City (A), Arsenal (H), West Ham (A)

Title Odds

4/1

Predicted finish

3rd

What are they saying?

“We had a look at ourselves after last season and I think Emma and her coaches decided that actually we could be improving off the pitch as well as on it.

“After the summer I had to look at myself in the mirror and regroup a little bit because the World Cup hurt me a little bit – I needed to get over that.” – Erin Cuthbert, Chelsea midfielder


Everton

Manager

Willie Kirk

One to watch

Kika van Es (defender)

Everton avoided relegation to the Championship after Yeovil received a ten-point deduction for going into administration
Getty Images - Getty

Who have they signed?

Maeva Clemaron (midfielder, FC Fleury)

Lucy Graham (midfielder, Bristol City)

Tinja-Riikka Korpela (goalkeeper, Valerenga)

Esme Morgan (defender, Manchester City)

Kika van Es (defender, Ajax)

Molly Pike (midfielder, Chelsea)

First five games

Birmingham (A), Bristol City (H), Manchester City (H), Reading (A), Brighton (H)

Title Odds

50/1

Predicted finish

11th

What are they saying?

“I think things can only get better from last season – obviously we didn’t finish anywhere near where we wanted to or achieve what we wanted to.

“We just want to get on the ball and play more than we have recently – a lot of our games we’ve just been defending but now we’re going to go out and show we can actually play.” – Gabby George, Everton defender


Liverpool

Manager

Vicky Jepson

One to watch

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk (forward)

Sweetman-Kirk scored ten goals for Liverpool last season
Getty Images - Getty

Who have they signed?

Jade Bailey (midfielder, Chelsea)

Becky Jane (defender, Reading)

Mel Lawley (winger, Manchester City)

First five games

Reading (H), Tottenham (A), Manchester United (A), Bristol City (H), Birmingham (A)

Title Odds

25/1

Predicted finish

6th

What are they saying?

“I think we’ve built a really solid foundation, so we want to finish higher in the league, do as well as we can and play a good style of football and know what we’re about.

“Each game is different so we’re just going to take it one game at a time – no game is a given at all but to be able to try and get a good run and start the season well would be massive for this team.” – Niamh Charles, Liverpool winger


Manchester City

Manager

Nick Cushing

One to watch

Ellen White (striker)

White finished joint-top scorer at the World Cup alongside USA’s Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe
Getty

Who have they signed?

Laura Coombs (midfielder, Liverpool)

Matilde Fidalgo (defender, Braga)

Lee Geum-min (forward, Gyeongju KHNP)

Aoife Mannion (defender, Birmingham City)

Tyler Toland (midfielder, Sion Swifts)

Ellen White (striker, Birmingham City)

First five games

Manchester United (H), Reading (A), Everton (A), Birmingham (H), Arsenal (A)

Title Odds

11/4

Predicted finish

2nd

What are they saying?

“I am a winner so I want to win every game – we won the titles last season but of course everyone wants more and we know that we we’re close to winning the league as well last year.

“We lost too many points to teams below us in the table and did well against Arsenal and Chelsea so that is something we need to work on this season for sure.” – Tessa Wullaert, Manchester City forward


Manchester United

Manager

Casey Stoney

Stoney’s side could cause a few upsets this season
GETTY IMAGES - GETTY

One to watch

Jackie Groenen (midfielder)

Who have they signed?

Mary Earps (goalkeeper, Wolfsburg)

Jackie Groenen (midfielder, Frankfurt)

Hayley Ladd (midfielder, Birmingham City)

Abbie McManus (defender, Manchester City)

Lotta Okvist (defender, Hammarby)

Jane Ross (striker, West Ham)

First five games

Manchester City (A), Arsenal (H), Liverpool (H), Tottenham (A), Reading (H)

Title Odds

6/1

Predicted finish

4th

What are they saying?

“I think there’s something really special going on here and it can be a huge club – not just in men’s football, but in women’s football in years to come. So I’m excited to be a part of that.

“If people are expecting a lot of us it means they think we’re capable of a lot. We just need to go out there, express ourselves and show what we can do.” – Mary Earps, Manchester United goalkeeper


Reading

Manager

Kelly Chambers

One to watch

Jade Moore (defender)

Defender Moore represented England at the World Cup
Getty Images

Who have they signed?

Maxime Bennink (midfielder, PEC Zwolle)

Kristine Bjordal Leine (defender, Roa IL)

Amalie Eikeland (midfielder, IL Sandviken)

Angharad James (midfielder, Everton)

First five games

Liverpool (A), Manchester City (H), Birmingham (A), Everton (H), Manchester United (A)

Title Odds

28/1

Predicted finish

7th

What are they saying?

“I am excited for the start of season and to see the players bring everything together they have learned and gained and to really be a force to compete with in the WSL.

“We have obviously added some fantastic players to the group we had last season to improve us as a squad, but I believe this group have added and gained so much during pre-season that will make us stronger than last year.” – Kelly Chambers, Reading manager


Tottenham Hotspur

Manager

Karen Hills and Juan Amoros

One to watch

Coral-Jade Haines

Tottenham came up from the Championship with Manchester United last season
Getty Images - Getty

Who have they signed?

Rosella Ayane (forward, Bristol City)

Gemma Davison (midfielder, Reading)

Hannah Godfrey (defender, University of South Alabama)

Kit Graham (forward, Charlton)

Chloe Peplow (midfielder, Brighton)

Ria Percival (defender, West Ham)

Lucy Quinn (forward, Birmingham City)

Becky Spencer (goalkeeper, West Ham)

Siri Worm (defender, Everton)

First five games

Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H), West Ham (A), Manchester United (H), Bristol City (A)

Title Odds

40/1

Predicted finish

9th

What are they saying?

“We’ll go out there and give it our all, we’ve got high standards at this club and we want to make our fans proud.” – Gemma Davison, Tottenham forward


West Ham United

Manager

Matt Beard

One to watch

Kenza Dali (midfielder)

Sam Allardyce slams 'disgusting' West Ham leak and reveals unhappiness with Jack Sullivan conduct
The managing director of West Ham’s Women’s team is Jack Sullivan, son of West Ham co-owner David Sullivan

Who have they signed?

Katharina Baunach (defender, Wolfsburg)

Courtney Brosnan (goalkeeper, Le Havre)

Kenza Dali (midfielder, Dijon)

Jacynta Galabadaarachchi (forward, Perth Glory)

Cecilie Kvamme (defender, IL Sandviken)

Laura Vetterlein (defender, SC Sand)

Martha Thomas (forward, Le Havre)

First five games

Arsenal (A), Birmingham (H), Tottenham (H), Brighton (A), Chelsea (H)

Title Odds

33/1

Predicted finish

8th

What are they saying?

“We just have to be ruthless and learn to be clinical. We want to challenge at the right end of the table and, to do that, we have to take our chances and keep clean-sheets. We want to be a team that prides ourselves on being hard to break down.” – Gilly Flaherty, West Ham defender

Women’s World Cup: England star Jill Scott reminds Tony Cascarino of Marouane Fellaini

24 Jun

Tony Cascarino has compared Lionesses record-breaker Jill Scott to former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini following the England star’s performances at the Women’s World Cup.

Scott, the combative Manchester City midfielder, made her 18th World Cup appearance during the 3-0 victory over Cameroon on Sunday, surpassing Peter Shilton as England’s most-capped player at the tournament.

Jill Scott was at her brilliant best once against during the Cameroon victory
Getty Images - Getty

The 32-year-old, featuring at her fourth World Cup, continues to play an invaluable and often thankless role for her country, doing the ugly work so her team-mates can shine.

And her style of play reminds Cascarino of a former Premier League star.

He wrote in his column for The Times: “Jill Scott reminds me a little bit of the former Manchester United player Marouane Fellaini in that she plays in midfield but displays all the skills of a centre forward adept at linking the play.

“She is brilliant at that role; she will use her body to shield possession, she will just get her toe to the ball ahead of an opponent and will produce headed flick-ons for an onrushing team-mate.

“The 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder is strong in the tackle and a vital link between defence and attack.

“It is no wonder that she has made a record 18 appearances for England at World Cups.”

Fellaini left Man United to join Chinese Super League club Shandong Luneng in January
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The eventful victory over Cameroon, which was overshadowed by VAR controversy, set up a quarter-final clash with Norway on Thursday as Scott bids to help the Lionesses win their first ever major trophy.

Her former team-mate, Faye White, tells talkSPORT the midfielder continues to be England’s unsung heroine.

“Jill Scott isn’t always the one that catches everyone’s attention, but having played with her, she does so much work,” White said.

“She does some of the ugly stuff to allow someone else to win the ball, she makes the run to allow someone else to be free.

“It’s that unselfish impact and her leadership.”

Manchester City Women 3-0 West Ham United Women: Citizens claim second FA Cup title in three years

4 May

Manchester City won their second trophy of the season with a 3-0 triumph over West Ham in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

The deadlock was broken on 52 minutes through Keira Walsh after she caught out goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse.

City captain lifts the trophy at the end of the match

Fellow England international Georgia Stanway’s low strike made it 2-0 in the 81st minute and substitute Lauren Hemp added a third with two minutes of normal time remaining.

It was a comfortable victory in the end for City as they won the cup for the second time, although West Ham went close to going in front in the first half when Jane Ross, playing against her old club, saw her header well saved by Karen Bardsley.

City had already lifted the Continental League Cup this term, and while they have fallen short in the Women’s Super League title race, with Arsenal being crowned champions, Nick Cushing’s side can complete the season unbeaten domestically when they face the Gunners away next week.

It was a fine achievement for the Hammers to have reached the final – the first time the club have done so – with them having only become a professional outfit last summer.

In the early stages Nikita Parris took the ball into West Ham’s box only to be thwarted by a wonderful tackle by their captain captain Gilly Flaherty, and City had little joy in attack throughout the first half.

West Ham, meanwhile, were showing no sign of being overawed by the occasion and almost grabbed the lead just before the half-hour mark when ex-City striker Ross’ header was kept out by a superb Bardsley save.

They subsequently had a penalty shout turned down when Alisha Lehmann was tackled by Jill Scott before City threatened towards the end of the half, with Scott’s effort being blocked by Claire Rafferty and Parris curling off-target.

There was further pressure from City as the second half got under way and after Caroline Weir blazed into the stand, Walsh sent a shot wide.

Moments later, the midfielder fired City ahead, collecting the ball from Scott, cutting past Kate Longhurst and striking it from almost 30 yards out. The ball swerved and bounced on its way towards goal before beating Moorhouse, but it appeared the goalkeeper should have done better.

Walsh celebrates her goal

Moorhouse then did well to push a Parris strike wide before Lehmann spurned a good opportunity at the other end, sending a shot into Bardsley’s arms.

City went back on the attack and Moorhouse blocked a Weir effort with a leg and Stanway shot wide.

Stanway, the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year, then effectively wrapped things up as her right-foot effort found the bottom corner.

And Hemp subsequently made it 3-0 as she ran on to a long ball and guided it past the outrushing Moorhouse in fine style. Hemp almost added a second soon after but was denied by the post.

It’s cup final heartache for West Ham

Arsenal Women win FA Women’s Super League for first time since 2012 with 4-0 thrashing of Brighton

28 Apr

Arsenal Women won the Super League with a game to spare following their 4-0 victory over Brighton.

It is the first time they have won the title since 2012 and have won 17 of their 19 games this season.

Vivianne Miedema opened the scoring with her 22nd goal of the season after five minutes, the Dutch striker hitting a thunderous shot from the edge of the area which went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Arsenal Women celebrate winning the title
Getty

And the 22-year-old then turned provider after half an hour, setting up team-mate Katie McCabe to double the visitors’ lead at the Amex Stadium.

Beth Mead made it 3-0 with a superb long-range effort and Danielle Van De Donk completed the rout in front of a record crowd of 5,265.

Arsenal face second place Manchester City Women in the final match of the season in what could have been a title decider if they had slipped up at Brighton.

Katie McCabe celebrates scoring Arsenal’s second
Getty

City are unbeaten this season but have drawn five times and will now finish as runners-up.

Miedema told BT Sport: “I came to Arsenal to win the league but I don’t think I’ve realised what we’ve done yet.

“I’m happy we’ve done it and we’ve done it with a 4-0 win. Joe (Montemurro) changed a lot when he came in, so he has to take a lot of credit, but more than anything he really made us believe in ourselves.”

Fellow goalscorer Mead added: “It’s hard to describe right now but it’s been a long time coming – everyone’s ecstatic. Joe says we’ve had a lot of ups and downs as a group with injuries and things like that so enjoy the moment.”

FA Women’s Cup semi-final results: Manchester City seal victory over holders Chelsea, West Ham beat Reading on penalties

14 Apr

Manchester City booked their spot in the Women’s FA Cup final after Magdalena Eriksson’s unfortunate own goal in added time saw them clinch a 1-0 win over holders Chelsea.

The tie looked to be heading towards extra-time between two sides who have met four times in this competition in the last five years, before City set up a Wembley date against West Ham next month in unlikely fashion.

Man City knocked out Chelsea to reach the final

Under no pressure, Eriksson inadvertently turned Demi Stokes’ cross past Blues goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger in the second minute of injury time at City’s Academy Stadium.

Reading Women 1-1 West Ham (West Ham Women win 4-3 on penalties)

The Hammers had earlier sealed a spot in the final for the first time after a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Reading at Adams Park following a 1-1 draw.

Rachel Furness’ header four minutes after the interval was cancelled out by Alisha Lehmann just before the hour, but Fara Williams then saw her spot-kick for the Royals hit a post.

West Ham sealed a victory against Reading on penaltiies

With no goals in extra-time, the shootout went to sudden death as Lauren Bruton and Rakel Honnudottir missed for Reading, and Brianna Visalli and Kate Longhurst did the same for West Ham.

Jade Moore then saw her spot-kick saved by Anna Moorhouse, allowing Cho So-hyun to win it for the Hammers.