Curing the post-World Cup blues
It’s been over a week since the Women’s World Cup final and the post-World Cup blues have definitely kicked in. No more football for breakfast! But the good news is, you don’t have to wait another four years for your fix of Women’s football, there is so much to look forward to both internationally and domestically.
International football continues
The Lionesses will be back in action in three weeks to compete in the inaugural season of The Nations League. European teams have been drawn into three leagues and then groups based on current rankings. England have been drawn into Group 1 of League A alongside Scotland, who will be their first opponent on Thursday 22nd September, as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. England will want to qualify top of their group as the four group winners and runners-up in League A will automatically qualify for the 2025 Euros. The group winners will also compete to make the Nations League final with the two finalists qualifying for a spot to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics. This promises to be an exciting competition with some big match ups including a re-match of the World Cup semi-final with champions Spain coming up against bronze medallists Sweden. The competition will be running intermittently between September and December so before then, the Lionesses will have some time to relax but will no doubt be back for club pre-seasons before long.
A season to be excited about on home soil
Domestically, the Women’s Super League is almost back and promises to be better than ever off the back of the success of the World Cup. The WSL hosts such a high calibre of players not just including key Lionesses but plenty of global talent across the league’s clubs.
Last year’s WSL went down to the wire on the last day with Chelsea needing a win to beat Man United for the top spot. Ultimately, Emma Hayes’ side continued their dominance, winning their fourth WSL title in a row. They are a talented team with big name players who perform in big games – a strong back line with Millie Bright, a dynamic midfield with Guro Reiten and a fast-paced upfront with superstar Sam Kerr. However, Chelsea have lost key players with captain Magdalena Erikson and dominant striker Pernille Harder both making moves to Bayern Munich.
Runners up Manchester United had a magical year, they’d previously never finished higher than fourth but last year they looked threatening. They are a physical and determined team with a lot a upcoming young talent. It will be exciting to see them play European football this year, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time. But, like Chelsea, they have lost a huge name in striker Alessia Russo who has made the move to Arsenal. She was key for them last year in creating chances and being ruthless in front of goal. They have recently signed ex-Barcelona striker Geyse who will no doubt be a threat, but adapting to play without Russo could take some time.
Arsenal took third despite a season plagued by injuries to key stars including Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema and Leah Williamson, and they’ll be looking for revenge. Despite not winning the league, they did disrupt Chelsea’s chances of the triple when they took victory in the conti-cup winning that 3-1. They also had a superb Champions League run, thrashing previous champions Lyon 5-1 and filling out an Emirates stadium for the semi-final against Wolfsburg, forcing the game to extra time despite having key players out. With the addition of Russo and the return of injured players I think Arsenal will be one to watch this season.
Man City finished fourth and whilst they struggled early on from the loss of Georgia Stanway, Keira Walsh and Lucy Brozne, things began to click. They looked especially intimidating upfront with the talent of Bunny Shaw, Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly – an attacking line-up of nightmares for other teams. They have retained a lot of their squad and will look continue to build on the momentum of last season and take a top three finish to get back into European football.
The WSL starts on Sunday October 1st with six matches including reigning champions Chelsea taking on Tottenham and Arsenal hosting Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.