JACQUI OATLEY’S WSL GUIDE: Chelsea and Arsenal to battle it out for the title, Man United’s new signings could sneak them into the top three… and watch out for England’s latest debutant Lauren James!
- The Women’s Super League season begins on Friday as Arsenal host Brighton
- Reigning champions Chelsea face competition from the Gunners for the title
- Manchester rivals United and City will fight for the last Champions League spot
- But it could be a tricky year for Leicester in only their second season at this level
After being postponed last weekend, the new Women’s Super League season begins on Friday night as Arsenal host Brighton.
Following England’s historic triumph at Euro 2022 in the summer, clubs are hoping to capitalise on increased interest in the women’s game.
Broadcaster Jacqui Oatley provides her guide to the campaign ahead for Sportsmail.
Current champions Chelsea face competition from Arsenal for the Women’s Super League title
FIVE STARS TO WATCH
Lauren James (Chelsea)
Turns 21 later this month and she’s only started 11 league games, but James is such a talent, having already scored nine WSL goals. I’m excited to see what she can bring to Chelsea and England.
Deyna Castellanos (Manchester City)
Burst on to the scene as a youngster and made the FIFA Best shortlist for top women’s player in 2017. City need the Venezuela forward and other signings to gel, as they’ve lost so much talent and experience.
Lauren James has only started 11 league games but has already scored nine WSL goals
Jess Park (Everton)
Fast, exciting dribbler who can play on either wing. Started eight league games last season for Manchester City but the loanee, 20, will want to be a fixture in the Everton line-up. Exciting prospect for England.
Rachel Daly (Aston Villa)
Left back for England but very much a centre forward at club level. Brilliant signing who will add character and a cutting edge — just what Villa need.
Missy Bo Kearns (Liverpool)
Scouser, 21, who has been in the Liverpool set-up since the age of eight and was hugely influential in their promotion to the WSL. Manager Matt Beard says she’s heading for the top — and he’s usually right.
Rachel Daly was a Euro 2022 winner with England in the summer and has signed for Aston Villa
WHO WINS THE LEAGUE?
Most people are looking at Chelsea but they’re perhaps building a squad for the Champions League.
Arsenal must hope Chelsea are so focused on Europe that they can be pipped to the title. It’s between those two.
Manchester United have made very good signings and kept Alessia Russo and Ella Toone, which should set up a really good battle with rivals City.
Tottenham have been fantastic in the transfer market, too.
WHO’S IN TROUBLE?
Leicester don’t have superstars, which isn’t necessarily a big deal but it’s only their second season at this level. Reading have a tiny budget but Kelly Chambers works miracles every season.
Brighton have lost important players this summer and need the replacements to step up.
Manchester United have invested well and will compete for the last Champions League spot
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