FA Women’s Super League – the story so far as Gunners give chase in race

Leah Williamson of Arsenal during Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women, Friendly Match Football

Leah Williamson of Arsenal during Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women, Friendly Match Football at Meadow Park on 25th August 2019 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

With the FA Women’s Super League suspended due to coronavirus until April 30, we take a look at the 2019/20 season so far.

Tottenham Hotspur women’s Rianna Dean is congratulated on scoring their first goal of the game durin

Tottenham Hotspur womens Rianna Dean is congratulated on scoring their first goal of the game during the FA Women's Super League match The London Stadium. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Manchester City currently lead the way with 40 points, one ahead of Chelsea and four clear of defending champions Arsenal, with both London clubs having a game in hand.

Liverpool prop up the table on six points but are just a point adrift of Birmingham City.

Manchester City (played 16, 40 points)

Grace Fisk of West Ham during West Ham United Women vs Arsenal Women, Women's FA Cup Football at Rus

Grace Fisk of West Ham during West Ham United Women vs Arsenal Women, Women's FA Cup Football at Rush Green Stadium on 26th January 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Story so far: Manager Nick Cushing departed for pastures new at New York City as assistant manager. Alan Mahon has taken over and led the side to victory over Bristol City and a thrilling draw with Chelsea.

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Positives: Being top of the table speaks for itself, with 13 wins, one draw and two losses. Beating Arsenal 2-1 proved a lot of people wrong and shows they are up for the title fight. Also beat rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

Negatives: Going out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid was a blow.

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Star player: Kiera Wals. The England International’s passing range and vision is outstanding. She has the ability to control the tempo of games. Pauline Bremer has netted 10 goals in 12 League games

One to watch: Caroline Weir. The Scotland international is one of the most under-rated players in the WSL. Crucial to what City do in attack, reads the game exceptionally well and full of energy.

Chelsea (15, 39)

Story so far: Picked up the season’s first silverware as Beth England scored a double to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Continental Cup final.

Positives: Goals. The Blues have been firing them in from all angles this season and Emma Haye’s style of football has been beautiful on the eye. A high press has been key to their success and they are the only team still unbeaten in the league.

Negatives: Fans will be frustrated with dropping points against Brighton and Liverpool, but other than that there’s not many.

Star player: Beth England. What a season she is having, with player of the month honours twice, 14 goals and four assists to date.

One to watch: Guro Reiten. The Norwegian international has made a huge impact in her first season in the WSL, with five goals and eight assists in the league. A pivotal point to the high press.

Arsenal (15, 36)

Story for far: Current WSL champions currently in third place, having lost Continental League Cup final in stoppage time.

Positives: With a small squad, a huge positive for the Gunners is that they have been successful in all competitions. Still in the WSL title race, Champions League and FA Cup quarter-finalists.

Negatives: Injuries have been a huge problem this season with key players Lia Walti, Beth Mead, Kim Little, Danielle Van De Donk and Danielle Carter all currently out.

Star player: Vivianne Miedema’s goals have been crucial but for consistency Leah Williamson has been the star player for Arsenal. Her leadership for a 22-year-old is excellent and her passing range is to be admired.

One to watch: Lisa Evans is a very under-rated player and key for Joe Montemurro’s side this season. Her delivery is one of the very best in the league and has the ability to set the tone in games.

Manchester United (14, 23)

Story so far: In their debut WSL season, Casey Stoney’s side currently sit fourth with seven wins so far.

Positives: Stoney is a fantastic coach and using her footballing experience to the maximum, using youth players is always good to see.

Negatives: Defeats to Bristol City and West Ham will have frustrated them, especially after leading the Hammers 2-1 at the 80-minute mark.

Star Player: Leah Galton always full of pace and energy and gets United on the front foot. She has 4 goals and 3 assists for the Reds in the WSL so far.

One to watch: Lauren James, the 18 year old hasn’t had any problems adapting to life in the top division she has found the net 6 times in her 12 games.

Reading (14, 21)

Story so far: Have impressed once again. Not afraid to get stuck in from the start, Kelly Chambers knows how to get the best out of her players.

Positives: An array of talent such as Jade Moore, Amalie Eikeland and Brooke Chaplen, as well as the experienced Fara Williams. They know each other’s strengths and are a solid unit.

Negatives: Would’ve wanted a good cup run but lost to FA Women’s Championship side Leicester City in last 16.

Star player: Fara Williams is the heart and soul of the team. A leader, she controls matches from the middle and can score from anywhere with her range of shooting.

One to watch: Norwegian striker Amalie Eikeland, 24, has impressed with her hold-up play bringing others into games. Has two goals and two assists.

Tottenham Hotspur (15, 20)

Story so far: Also in their WSL debut campaign led by Karen Hills and Juan Amoros, with six wins to date.

Positives: Started very well, winning three of first five games over Liverpool, West Ham and Bristol City. Very quick on the counter-attack which has been a feature of their play.

Negatives: Losing Rachel Furness in January to Liverpool was a huge blow as she was pivotal to their style of play and could play as a number 10 or a false 9.

Star player: Only 21 but Rianna Dean has been terrific all season, with her pace causing many teams problems. Has four goals so far, including the winner last time out at Brighton.

One to watch: Rosella Ayane. The versatile 24-year-old has really settled and impressed in many games.

Everton (14, 19)

Story so far: Willie Kirk has got them playing a good brand of attacking football and Everton fans would say this has been their best season in several years.

Positives: There have been a few, with moving into a new ground and a Merseyside derby win at Anfield right up there. Performances on the pitch have certainly improved, they play with no fear for such a young squad and gained a lot of plaudits.

Negatives: A three-game run without a win from December 8-January 11 against Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Star player: Chloe Kelly has been on fire for the Toffees and earned a senior call-up to the England squad for the SheBelieves Cup.

One to watch: Esme Morgan has been terrific since her loan move from Manchester City, using the ball well and getting better with every game.

West Ham United (14, 16)

Story so far: Last season’s FA Cup runners-up have endured a mixed bag with five wins, one draw and eight defeats.

Positives: Beating teams around them and taking points when it matters. Have defeated Brighton twice, Liverpool, Birmingham City and had a thrilling comeback over Manchester United.

Negatives: Have leaked far too many goals, with only one clean sheet all season in the 1-0 victory over Birmingham in August.

Star player: Martha Thomas. The 23-year-old Scotland forward has netted four goals for the Hammers and claimed an assist, also scoring twice on her international debut in the Pinatar Cup victory over Ukraine.

One to watch: Grace Fisk. Arrived in January from the University of South Carolina, the 22-year-old defender has played five times since and was in the England squad at the SheBelieves Cup.

Brighton & Hove Albion (16, 13)

Story so far: Inconsistent, but unlike West Ham they find scoring goals more of a problem than keeping them out.

Positives: A draw with Chelsea in September showed they have the ability to compete. They are very well organised and always dig in.

Negatives: Scoring goals has been hard, failing to find the net in eight games to date.

Star player: Aileen Whelan. When Brighton do find the net it is usually from the boots of Whelan, who has five goals in 16 appearances.

One to watch: Rianna Jarrett. Unknown to many, but a quality player. Signed in January from Republic of Ireland side Wexford Youths, she links play very well.

Bristol City (14, 9)

Story so far: Also inconsistent. You never know what to expect from Tanya Oxtoby’s side.

Positives: Have taken points against teams around them, the Robins are fearless and will give everything even off the back of some heavy defeats.

Negatives: Didn’t win a game until January 5, a run which included an 11-1 demolition at Arsenal.

Star player: Carla Humphrey. Although now injured, at just 23 she is extremely intelligent on and off the ball. Her vision is excellent and highly-rated.

One to watch: Ebony Salmon. Only 19, the England under-21 international has stepped up when needed and netted five times in 14 matches, adding an assist.

Birmingham City (7pts)

Story so far: Have parted company with manager Marta Tejedor as it simply didn’t work out for the Spanish coach in the Midlands.

Positives: Plenty of good performances, but they just can’t finish their chances. Have never been outclassed, apart from in a 6-0 loss to Chelsea in November.

Negatives: Have been in plenty of games this season but just miss that final touch and that is one thing Charlie Baxter will be hoping improves in his tenure.

Star player: Lucy Staniforth. England International is a leader and uses her experience well. Can control games and her vision is right up there with the best in the business. One goal and three assists so far.

One to watch: Brianna Visalli. American shows no fear whenever she crosses the white line. Has plenty of energy and gets stuck in, never gives up or shys away.

Liverpool (6pts)

Story so far: Vicky Jepson’s side sit bottom, but plenty of positive displays give them hope of moving away from that relegation zone.

Positives: Have been in games all season but just haven’t been able to get the results. They don’t concede many and gave WSL champions Arsenal a scare in a 3-2 defeat.

Negatives: Football is a results business and they haven’t been able to get some over the line. Losing to West Ham was an especially big disappointment.

Star Player: Rachel Furness. Northen Ireland international has helped performances improve and scored four goals in four matches so far.

One to watch: Niamh Charles. Still only 20, but it feels as if she has been around for a long time. Always offers energy and plenty of running, has scored five goals and there’s plenty more to come.

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