With the Ladies’s Tremendous League season wrapped up for one more 12 months, who impressed and which groups want enchancment subsequent 12 months? Right here, Sky Sports activities charges every group…
Chelsea – 4.5 out of 5
It is laborious to disagree that Chelsea have had a stellar season – or no less than a stellar second half of the marketing campaign.
By their very own excessive requirements, it was a gradual begin for Chelsea. They misplaced to Arsenal on the opening day and Studying in December. It was round Christmas the Gunners seemed assured of the title – however Chelsea got here roaring again into type in 2022.
They had been unbeaten within the WSL after the winter break, profitable 11 video games and drawing two. Chelsea had been pushed all the way in which by a much-improved and decided Arsenal, however it is a group that thrives below strain and got here out on high as soon as once more.
It reveals Emma Hayes’ “mentality monsters” can by no means be written off. A 3rd successive WSL title – a document streak – and fifth general, plus the Spring Collection title in 2017. Whereas the Champions League exit within the group stage on objective distinction was a merciless blow after reaching the ultimate the 12 months earlier than, there’s nonetheless a FA Cup ultimate this weekend to finish a home double.
Whereas Hayes continues to show herself as a tactical genius, let’s not overlook concerning the expertise she has at her disposal. Sam Kerr received the WSL Golden Boot as soon as once more and has had one other standout season, Millie Shiny and Magdalena Eriksson proceed to guide by instance in defence with Erin Cuthbert, Guro Reiten and Pernille Tougher persevering with to impress.
General, one other profitable season for Chelsea with one other WSL title within the trophy cupboard. Now, they are going to be aiming for an unprecedented 4 in a row.
Arsenal – 4 out of 5
Though Arsenal fell on the ultimate hurdle – one thing Jonas Eidevall mentioned made his aspect really feel “empty” – there’s lots for the Gunners to be pleased with this season.
This marketing campaign, they led for an enormous 182 days, however the previous couple of weeks of the season noticed an unstoppable Chelsea pip them to the title.
They might not fairly choose up the factors wanted towards their nearest rivals – an space the place Chelsea excelled – and can level to a harmful 2-0 defeat to eventually-relegated Birmingham as an in the end title-costing consequence.
However they’ve performed thrilling, attacking soccer whereas wanting assured on the again, scoring essentially the most WSL targets this season and conceding the fewest. England internationals Beth Mead and Leah Williamson have had a hand in each at every finish to select simply two standout gamers, making it an particularly mouth-watering prospect for the upcoming Euros.
Whereas Arsenal will wish to go a step additional subsequent season and win the WSL, they need to and are prone to be aiming for each cup ultimate. They haven’t received a home cup competitors since 2018.
A lot of it will hinge on the way forward for Vivianne Miedema, who’s out of contract this summer time. The striker says she is but to determine on her future and Arsenal would wish an enormous title to take her place if she did transfer elsewhere.
Man Metropolis – 4 out of 5
Six months in the past, many had written off Man Metropolis this season. They had been languishing within the backside half of the desk after accidents decimated their squad – Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton and Chloe Kelly had been amongst a protracted checklist of sidelined gamers.
Their harm points had been maybe epitomised as veteran midfielder Jill Scott was used as a centre-back within the early half of the season. “I performed with Jill for 15 years and I’ve by no means seen her play in defence,” Sky Sports activities’ Karen Carney mentioned.
The variety of lacking gamers Metropolis had, in addition to their high quality, would have been sufficient to hamper even the very best sides and as soon as the expertise began trickling again, so did Man Metropolis’s type.
After shedding 4-0 to Chelsea of their WSL assembly in November, Metropolis went on to win 13 of their remaining 15 video games, drawing one and shedding one other – additionally to Chelsea.
“If you concentrate on the place we had been seven or eight video games in, earlier within the season, to do what we have carried out is superb,” Taylor advised ManCity.com on Sunday.
Credit score should be given to the membership too for not sacking Taylor when issues had been wanting extraordinarily bleak. The supervisor has confirmed he’s the correct man to succeed when all of the expertise is at his disposal, and so they nonetheless have an FA Cup ultimate to return. After beating Chelsea within the Ladies’s League Cup ultimate in March, it units up a mouthwatering prospect for this weekend’s showpiece at Wembley.
In the end, ending the marketing campaign with Champions League soccer and a possible double of home trophies marks a superb 12 months for Metropolis given their early points. Now, they may wish to push for the title and hope to maintain key accidents at bay.
Man Utd – 3.5 out of 5
A optimistic first season for Man Utd below Marc Skinner. Whereas Casey Stoney steadied the ship after their promotion to the WSL, Skinner has used all of his league expertise to assist construct United additional.
Issues had been wanting ever so barely worrying when Christen Press, Lauren James and Tobin Heath left the membership in the summertime with Stoney additionally making her exit. However signings equivalent to Hannah Blundell, Vilde Boe Risa, Martha Thomas and Aoife Mannion has made certain the transition to a brand new period was fairly easy.
Man Utd’s purpose this season would have been to interrupt the highest three, though they in the end fell on the final hurdle. Not securing Champions League soccer – and lacking out on it to their native rivals – will give them hearth for subsequent season.
Skinner should additionally enhance United’s capability to see video games out. They misplaced essentially the most factors from profitable positions final season (13), which can assist them to safe European soccer for the primary time.
However there’s lots to construct on for subsequent season and with a supervisor who is aware of how to achieve success within the WSL
Tottenham – 4 out of 5
A outstanding season from Tottenham. In simply their second full season within the WSL, they pushed the standard ‘high three’ in addition to Manchester United all the way in which. They benefitted essentially the most from Metropolis’s harm woes and Man Utd’s lack of consistency, however struggled themselves with type in direction of the tip of the marketing campaign.
Rehanne Skinner’s shrewd summer time acquisitions helped propel Spurs into the highest half of the desk, fostering a hard-working however pleasurable surroundings inside her group. The contract extensions of key gamers like Ashleigh Neville and Shelina Zadorsky – as properly Skinner herself – is the marker of how thrilling the longer term is at Spurs.
A Champions League end was all the time going to be a bonus, and regardless of a winless run in the course of the ultimate few weeks, can nonetheless be considered as a fantastic success.
Skinner advised Spurs TV on Sunday: “The gamers have purchased into the imaginative and prescient and what we’re making an attempt to do right here as a soccer group. On account of that, it is bought us some improbable outcomes and upset a couple of individuals alongside the way in which, which has clearly been nice.
“We have got ourselves in and across the high three for giant chunks of the season and it is all all the way down to the work they’ve put in and funding they make into this group every day.
“We have just about cleared 10 factors from final season and jumped increased up the desk so it is a improbable achievement for everybody, the entire membership and I am actually happy and grateful for the help from behind the scenes.”
As many across the membership have mentioned themselves, it is now about constructing and sustaining the progress this season to additional check the groups round them. They’ve the gamers, supervisor and amenities to take action.
West Ham – 3.5 out of 5
One other group that’s comparatively new to the WSL by all accounts, a sixth-place end for West Ham is actually a hit. Olli Tougher made his group troublesome to beat, however can even look to seeing video games out as an space to enhance, shedding eight factors from profitable positions this time period.
In addition they reached the FA Cup semi-finals, in the end shedding to Man Metropolis, and have one of many brightest women academies within the league.
However this summer time will check the Hammers. Tougher introduced his departure after the ultimate sport of the season, with former West Ham midfielder Paul Konchesky taking up on a two-year deal. They can even lose captain Gilly Flaherty, who shall be trying to find a brand new membership this summer time.
West Ham might must faucet into that younger expertise to assist them subsequent season and enhance additional on what Tougher had carried out this 12 months. Nonetheless, any push above mid-table will possible take a couple of extra years to craft.
Brighton – 2.5 out of 5
It is a midway mark for Brighton after a middling season. Hope Powell’s aspect started brightly in a bid to beat their highest league end of sixth from the 2020/21 marketing campaign.
They received six of their opening seven video games – shedding solely to Chelsea – and seemed on target for a European push. However after a 1-0 win towards Leicester on November 14, would go on to win simply three extra WSL video games this season.
They suffered defeats to the underside two of their reverse fixtures, however did grind out a decent 0-0 residence draw towards Chelsea in January. In each of their WSL matches towards Man Metropolis, they conceded 13 targets and scored twice.
However Brighton had been only a place and some extent worse off from their greatest WSL tally from the earlier 12 months and had been by no means really in peril of a relegation battle. They may need rather more although and with the wealth of expertise from Powell guiding the way in which, there’s nonetheless loads of potential there for Brighton.
Studying – 2.5 out of 5
One other stable season for Studying and Kelly Chambers. She is the WSL’s second-longest serving supervisor behind Emma Hayes and continues to pave the way in which for proficient feminine coaches.
Summer time signing Deanne Rose has been one of many revelations of the WSL season, contemporary off her Olympic gold with Canada in the summertime of 2021. She was Studying’s second highest scorer within the WSL this season (4) and registered essentially the most assists (3).
However they may lose one other huge participant in Natasha Harding this summer time, following Fara Williams’ departure final 12 months. This may give Chambers and Studying one other huge gap to fill heading into the brand new season.
Whereas the Royals had been by no means thought of relegation contenders this 12 months, the query stays will they ever push additional up the desk? The WSL is changing into an increasing number of aggressive – and solely persevering with to develop with the arrival of Matt Beard’s Liverpool subsequent 12 months – and Studying may very well be in peril of being left behind.
Aston Villa – 2.5 out of 5
There was loads of summer time hullabaloo when Carla Ward jumped ship from Birmingham to Aston Villa, taking Hannah Hampton along with her. Their season proved to be one other of consolidation of their second WSL season.
Ward has put collectively a proficient squad as properly – Remi Allen and Alisha Lehmann have impressed. Jill Scott and Anita Asante additionally introduced expertise, though the latter shall be retiring this summer time and Scott returning to guardian membership Man Metropolis.
It means Villa shall be searching for extra leaders of their dressing room, and actually need a dependable goalscorer. They scored the fewest variety of WSL targets this season (13) and had the fewest variety of goalscorers (6).
Once more, room to enhance for Aston Villa as they give the impression of being to be greater than only a potential relegation contender subsequent 12 months.
Everton – 1 out of 5
It was not Everton’s 12 months. A lot of the pre-season hype was their potential push of the standard ‘high three’ and the way they could fare with European soccer the next 12 months. The membership additionally broke their switch document to signal Hanna Bennison in the summertime and welcomed Toni Duggan again into the fold in two of 9 summer time signings.
Issues shortly started to unravel with the departure of Willie Kirk in October, profitable two and shedding three of his opening 5 video games. Nonetheless, the defeats got here towards Man Metropolis, Chelsea and Arsenal, with wins towards Birmingham and Studying.
Champions League-winning supervisor Jean-Luc Vasseur was hailed as the reply and got here with a formidable CV. However he was additionally unable to show issues round, with The Telegraph reporting gamers had been sad together with his coaching strategies.
Since his departure on February 1, interim supervisor Chris Roberts has overseen two wins, three attracts and 6 defeats, and there was a nervous second the place relegation was very doable.
There may be lots for brand spanking new supervisor Brian Sorensen to compete with and organise when he arrives this summer time. Nonetheless, one of the vital essential elements is Everton stay a WSL membership.
Leicester – 3 out of 5
It was job carried out for Leicester this season – surviving relegation. It was all the time going to be a troublesome ask for the Foxes to go a lot increased than they completed as they steadied themselves in a aggressive and demanding league.
Though Jonathan Morgan was instrumental in serving to the Foxes get promoted, it was new supervisor Lydia Bedford that helped Leicester to all 13 of their WSL factors.
They received their first sport of the league season towards Birmingham in December, happening to win three extra video games and draw as soon as towards Studying within the penultimate sport of the season.
Bedford is working with the youngest squad within the WSL by a long way (24 years and 127 days), however has expertise in there, together with Abbie McManus, Jess Sigsworth and Jemma Purfield.
There may be loads of room for development and enchancment, with persevering with additions to the squad essential this summer time, however they in the end achieved their foremost objective.
Birmingham – 1 out of 5
It is a unhappy finish for one of many WSL’s founder golf equipment, however one that isn’t wholly stunning. The ladies’s group have lengthy been at loggerheads with the hierarchy at Birmingham, even going as far as to ship a letter to the board in April 2021 with a collection of points and grievances.
It led to the departure of Ward in the summertime, with Scott Sales space failing to win any of his opening video games. He was changed by interim supervisor Darren Carter, who nearly pulled off a fantastic escape when the Blues drew with Everton earlier than beating Brighton – one among their three wins all season – of their ultimate few video games.
However defeats to Chelsea and Man Metropolis in the end despatched them down, though their 2-0 win towards Arsenal did have an enormous impression on the different finish of the desk. There can even be fingers pointing to the controversial defeat to Leicester wherein goalkeeper Emily Ramsey was incorrectly despatched off – solely to have the pink card rescinded a couple of days later.
With two factors between Birmingham and Leicester, any consequence there may have proved important. However general, their squad has merely not had the standard or price range to compete in an extremely tight league.
Extra than simply including higher gamers or discovering a everlasting supervisor – though Carter would absolutely match the invoice – there must be an actual tradition change at Birmingham with regard to their ladies’s group if they’re to return to the WSL.