The new FAWSL Match ball. Arsenal Women v West Ham United Women, WSL football match, Meadow Park Stadium, Borehamwood, UK - 08 Sep 2019 Photo: Kunjan Malde for The FA

Fantasy FAWSL – What could happen next season as we look into our crystal ball

With the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season having only recently been brought to a close, players still likely to leave clubs and many new signings yet to be announced, it would be foolhardy to predict how the next season is going to play out at this early stage.

I thought I’d give it a go anyway and set myself up for a fall regardless. Despite plenty of summer drama ahead, I have come up with my ‘fantasy FAWSL’ for the 2020/2021 season.

Can Chelsea win the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the UEFA Women’s Champions League?

Chelsea were the strongest side in the league last season based on the games that had been played and although we can’t guarantee how the rest of the season would’ve played out, they did look on course to claim the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title.

There will be many who feel that they did not earn the title when they were awarded it through points per game, maybe some even in the Chelsea camp, so Emma Hayes and her side will be hungrier than ever to prove how strong they are next season.

Further major additions could be expected over the summer while players like Sam Kerr will have settled into their new surroundings by the start of the new campaign so Chelsea could be an even more frightening prospect next time around.

With many players like Dzsenifer Marozsan, Alex Greenwood, Sarah Bouhaddi and possibly even Lucy Bronze set to leave all-conquering Lyon, the role of being the dominant force in European football could be Chelsea’s for the taking.

Manchester United and Everton to close the gap on the ‘big three’?

Many will feel that both Everton and Manchester United overachieved last season finishing fourth and sixth respectively but the acceleration of both teams up the ranks could make them very attractive destinations for some high-quality players. Izzy Christiansen alone will feel like a new signing who greatly strengthens that Everton side when she finally gets a run out for the Merseyside club. As for United, their young squad will only get better as the likes of Lauren James and Ella Toone adapt to the highest level. In addition, following the departures of Lizzie Arnot and Aimee Palmer, Casey Stoney will be looking to strengthen in key areas and if she gets her signings right, the ‘big three’ will be needing to look over their shoulders a little bit more next season. Regardless of this though, the gap is  much too large for either side to challenge in just one season.

Will a club outside the ‘big three’ win silverware?

Just because Manchester United and Everton may not break into the UEFA Women’s Champions League spots doesn’t mean that they can’t challenge for silverware. If the 2020/2021 FA Women’s Continental League Cup does go ahead and the remaining matches from this season’s Women’s FA Cup are played, it could mean a very congested fixture list for teams in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Manchester City and Chelsea may look to prioritise European competition while if Arsenal do not bolster their wafer-thin squad, they may also do the same should they get the opportunity to end this season’s competition. This could be ample opportunity for clubs such as Manchester United and Everton to really push hard for a trophy next season. Those clubs won’t be the only sides looking to take advantage with mid-table teams such as Reading and West Ham United possibly feeling optimistic for success come autumn.

Another slog for Birmingham City?

Birmingham City were victims of a mass exodus last summer which cost them dearly during this season as they struggled to bring in players of the same level of quality. They have had some departures already this summer and some fans expect further exits before the squad rebuilding project begins. If some quality players are not added to the group, the Blues could be favourites for the drop again come September.

Bristol City could also be embroiled in a relegation battle again next season depending on how recruitment goes during the summer, although keeping hold of forward Ebony Salmon is a major plus while Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa could find it tough depending on how their respective summers go.

Fantasy FAWSL League Table

POSITION LAST SEASON TEAM NAME
1st 1st Chelsea
2nd 3rd Arsenal
3rd 2nd Manchester City
4th 4th Manchester United
5th 6th Everton
6th 5th Reading
7th 8th West Ham United
8th 7th Tottenham Hotspur
9th Promoted Aston Villa
10th 9th Brighton & Hove Albion
11th 10th Bristol City
12th 11th Birmingham City

 

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