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A beginner’s guide to WSL

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the opening weekend.

Sam Kerr Social

England winning the EUROS this summer has made the upcoming Women’s Super League season the most anticipated — and likely — most-attended and most-viewed yet. Seven of the 11 players who started in the EUROS Final ply their trade weekly across teams in the WSL, and the 11 bench players (would be all 12 but Jill Scott retired) also play in the league. 

This newfound attention on the league has already led to multiple record-breaking ticket sales. While the WSL was put on pause last week as England mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the league is set to resume this weekend!

More eyes than ever will be watching, including in the States thanks to CBS Sports picking up broadcast rights. All matches will stream on Paramount+ with some making it to CBS Sports Network.

Whomst are the title favorites?

There’s no place to start other than Chelsea, who have won the league title the last three seasons. However, it hasn’t exactly been easy. Arsenal made them earn it on the final matchday of last season, and at halftime, with Chelsea down 2-1 to Manchester United, Arsenal was 45 minutes away from winning the title. Then Chelsea, and Sam Kerr in particular, stormed out in the second half to win the match 4-2 and lift the trophy.

Other contenders include the team that pushed Chelsea until the final day, Arsenal. The Gunners play a slick brand of football and have a devastating attack which should get even better with Stina Blackstenius (rap name) and Vivianne Miedema more comfortable in their roles together on the pitch. Add the nonstop energy and goals from England’s top scorer in the EUROS, Beth Mead, and the North London team will pose plenty of problems to defenses up and down the table.

Manchester City have historically been there, but their entire starting midfield left during the summer transfer window. They have the devastatingly unguardable (and EUROS Final-winning) Chloe Kelly on the wing and world class center forward in Khadija “Bunny” Shaw and Australia’s teenage superstar Mary Fowler, but the midfield departures shift them from a team with only a couple questions to one with genuine worries.

Enough with the favorites, who else should I be paying attention to

While the blue part of Manchester (City) with a lot of questions to answer, the red part (United) are best poised to take advantage. EUROS heroes Alessia Russo and Ella Toone stuck around at United, and they’ve added England’s Nikita Parris, Canada’s Adriana Leon and French defender Aïssatou Tounkara.

Everton are also a deeply talented team but will need to prove they’ve selected a manager who can stick around for a while to get the best out of their smart recruitment. Last year, they brought in a lot of exciting talent but finished 10th. Tottenham only lost three of their first 15 matches last season, finishing 5th, then strengthening their squad this summer.

I’m in, where do I start?

Last week’s scheduled round of opening kickoffs were postponed, so we’re straight into Week 2. Near-title winners Arsenal get the WSL underway versus Brighton on Friday at 2:30pm ET. The Gunners have had a secretive preseason so it’s hard to tell what tweaks manager Jonas Eidevall has had to cook up, but we (including Brighton) are gonna find out together.

Also, Manchester United will face a tough test versus Reading at 7 am ET on Saturday and a rejuvenated Aston Villa likely has the biggest upset potential as they host Manchester City Sunday at 7:30am.

The WSL weekend ends with title holders Chelsea making the trip up north to welcome Liverpool back into the top division, Sunday at 12 pm ET. Either Chelsea run rampant, or Liverpool show they’re good enough to stick around this time. Welcome back WSL, oh how we’ve missed you.

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