The WSL not technically but sort of way halfway season review
Ten matches played is the new eleven matches played when it's Christmas
So we are not technically half way through the WSL season with only ten of each side’s 22 matches played but with the winter break now upon us, I would say we are emotionally. Chelsea currently sit top, three points clear of Manchester City and Arsenal. Then four points below them are Manchester United and Liverpool. Manchester United being seven points off the top whilst still having to play Chelsea twice makes it feel hard to argue that they are in the title race. Realistically this looks like it is going to be a three horse race, made extra intriguing by the fact that only Chelsea have Champions League football to think about.
Flying Geese is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
At the bottom, Bristol City are in the relegation spot like many would have predicted but with potentially five more points than people would have assumed. Level with them are West Ham whilst Brighton and Aston Villa are three and four points above respectively. On the face of it, Brighton and Villa’s squads are far superior than Bristol City and West Ham’s but all of that could change in January.
Let’s take a team by team look at how everyone is doing so far.
1. Chelsea (25 points)
Chelsea’s first half of the season was rocked by the announcement of Emma Hayes’ departure, released immediately after their most comprehensive win of the season, a 6-0 victory over Aston Villa. It has not seemed to overly perturb the four time consecutive champions and they find themselves top at Christmas. It looked like their early points advantage was going to be eroded as a result of their demolition by Arsenal at the Emirates but results in the North London Derby contrived to go their way and give them a three point buffer.
Their season so far has been defined by a thrilling attack - they have scored six more goals than any other team and are yet to be awarded a single penalty - which is offset somewhat by a leaky defence. Defensive issues have not been helped by Millie Bright succumbing to the same knee issues that saw her miss the end of last season, but they have been boosted across the pitch by the uptick in form from players like Niamh Charles, Eve Perisset and Johanna Ryting Kaneryd. Lauren James is their top scorer with seven goals, her best ever return in the WSL, whilst Aggie Beever-Jones has been an entertaining super sub with five goals.
2. Manchester City (22 points)
Back to back losses against Arsenal and somewhat more shockingly Brighton meant some had already begun to write Manchester City out of the title race.