Women’s Super League: What each team hopes to achieve in the second half of the season | OneFootball

Women’s Super League: What each team hopes to achieve in the second half of the season

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GiveMeSport

The winter break is over – the Women’s Super League returns today.

COVID-19 is unfortunately still playing havoc with the fixture list, with three of this weekend’s fixtures cancelled.

There are still three tantalising fixtures to look out for, however, with Brighton hosting Manchester City, Reading taking on Leicester and Birmingham coming up against Arsenal.

To pick up where we left off, GiveMeSport Women takes a look at what each team is hoping to achieve for the remainder of this season.

Arsenal

Arsenal went into the winter break as WSL leaders, four points clear of Chelsea. Their aim for the rest of the season is clear – remain at the top of the table.

They will also have to balance the demands of the Champions League. Arsenal are the only English team left in the competition, and face Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals in March.

Jonas Eidevall will be relying on his squad depth for success both at home and in Europe, and will be keeping his fingers crossed for a lack of injuries. The return of defender Leah Williamson will also be pivotal – the Gunners have looked a much weaker team without her.

Chelsea

Chelsea look certain to finish in the top three of the WSL, ensuring qualification for the Champions League once again, but this will not be enough for Emma Hayes.

The Blues boss will be fully focused on catching Arsenal. They must defeat the Gunners when the two sides meet in February, while also hoping their London rivals slip up elsewhere.

Chelsea will have to win every game for the remainder of this season to keep up the pressure on Arsenal. A lack of European football means all resources can be dedicated to this objective.

Tottenham Hotspur

After a stunning start to the WSL, Tottenham Hotspur find themselves in third in the league table. If they are still there come May, the club will qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

It will be a remarkable achievement for a team who played in the Championship only three years ago. But it will also be a very difficult task to remain in the top three, and Spurs will have to maintain the excellent form that got them there in the first place.

With Manchester United and Brighton right behind Tottenham, and Manchester City hoping for a second-half-of-the-season revival, Spurs will be aiming to produce a few more upsets in the coming months.

Manchester United

Since their promotion to the WSL in 2019, Manchester United have been hunting down a Champions League spot. They narrowly missed out last season, finishing just one point behind Arsenal, and are in the mix for qualification again this year.

Indeed, overtaking Tottenham Hotspur and qualifying for the Champions League will be Marc Skinner’s main aim for the remainder of this season.

His side found consistency towards the latter end of last year, securing three impressive victories against Brighton, Everton and Aston Villa, and he will be hoping this form is brought into 2022.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton are yet another team vying for Champions League football. Thanks to considerable long-term investment from the club and the appointment of Hope Powell as manager, the women’s team has slowly transformed into a force to be reckoned with.

The Seagulls will of course be aiming for the top three, but if not, anything above sixth place would be an improvement from last season’s showing. Powell is looking to build a foundation with which to springboard to even more success next season.

Manchester City

It’s been a miserable season for Manchester City so far. After just missing out on the title last season, the side find themselves languishing in sixth place, the result of a severe injury crisis.

With many of the team’s key players now slowly returning to the pitch, the objective for Manchester City is obvious – get back to winning ways, and get back up the table.

A push for the title looks near impossible, but City will be hoping a Champions League spot is not out of their reach.

West Ham

After flirting with relegation last season, West Ham will be happy to be clear of the drop zone going into the winter break.

In fact, the Hammers are level on points with Manchester City, and so could technically be considered as yet another team who are aiming for a place in the top three.

But West Ham do not have quite as talented a squad as Manchester City, and subsequently, the main aim will be to stay as far away from the bottom of the table as possible.

Reading are the third team on 13 points, with their inferior goal difference meaning they sit eighth. Again, this means the Royals are technically in the fight for top three, but similar to West Ham, they do not have the same squad strength as Manchester City.

After finishing seventh last season, Reading will want to show progression and end this season in a higher position. The side have shown they are more than capable of doing so, defeating Chelsea last month and Brighton in November, but Reading must find consistency to rise up the table.

Everton

Like Manchester City, Everton have endured a disappointing season so far. The Toffees made a spate of high-profile signings last summer, but activity in the transfer window has failed to translate to success on the pitch.

Jean-Luc Vasseur has been brought in as manager, but the side have only triumphed once under the former Lyon boss, and they currently sit ninth.

Everton’s objective for the remainder of this season will be simple. Start winning, and improve on their position in the table. It will be impossible to salvage anything this season, but the focus will be on ensuring the team start their next campaign in better form.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa escaped relegation by three points this season, so the team will be relieved to find themselves nine points clear from bottom-placed Birmingham.

Indeed, this season’s relegation battle will likely be fought between Birmingham and Leicester, and if Villa secure victories against both sides in the coming months, they will secure WSL survival.

But the side will have to remain vigilant that they are not sucked into the drop zone.

Leicester City

Life in the WSL has been tough for Leicester, who were promoted from the Championship last season.

The Foxes failed to pick up a single point until December, but then secured a crucial victory against Birmingham. Having already made some signings in the January transfer window, Leicester will be focused on building on these three points and escaping relegation.

The return fixture against Birmingham, scheduled for February 6th, could determine who drops down into the Championship.

Birmingham City

Birmingham escaped relegation last season, but their luck could run out this year. They earned a point in West Ham in October, but their defeat to Leicester last month meant they fell to the bottom of the table.

The Foxes are only two points above them, however, so the relegation battle is far from over.

If Birmingham can snatch another draw elsewhere, before beating Leicester next month, they will suddenly be in a much better position. The Blues also have experience in avoiding the drop – could this prove useful in the coming months?

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