WSL Season Preview: Every Women's Super League club profiled - key player, star signing and table predictions

The Women's Super League (WSL) returns this weekend as Aston Villa kick start the new season with a clash against Manchester United. Here we profile every WSL team, including their player to watch, their star signing and our predictions for 23/24.
The Women's Super LEague restarts this weekend. Cr: Getty ImagesThe Women's Super LEague restarts this weekend. Cr: Getty Images
The Women's Super LEague restarts this weekend. Cr: Getty Images

Arsenal

Despite losing Vivianne Miedema, Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Kim Little for sustained periods of time last season, the Gunners managed to compete across every domestic competition - even making the semi final of the UEFA Champions League.

However, the amount of games and crippling injury list eventually caught up with them in the WSL and they dropped to third after losing both home and away to Manchester United. However, the imminent return of Mead and some smart signings that include Matildas midfield star Kyra Cooney-Cross sees the North London side return for 23/24 even stronger.

While losing to Paris FC in Champions League qualifiers was a blow, it does allow a less hectic schedule and we think it will serve Arsenal well.

Head coach: Jonas Eidevall

Key player: Beth Mead

Star signing: Alessia Russo

Opening WSL fixtures: Liverpool (H), Manchester United (A), Aston Villa (H), Bristol City (A)

Our prediction: 2nd.

Odds to win WSL: 7/4*

All odds provided by SkyBet and are subject to change at any point. Please gamble responsibly.

Aston Villa

Seen as 'the team most likely to', Villa's aim will be to gatecrash the top four this season and with the permanent signing of Kirsty Hanson and Dutch goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar - few would bet against them.

The Midlands club have been handed a tough start, with both Manchester United and Arsenal appearing on their fixture list in the first month though we are sure fans will be reminded of last season's victory against the Gunners and their opening day of the season win over Manchester City last season.

In Rachel Daly, they have arguably the most lethal striker in the division and with van Domselaar now able to keep teams out at the other end, Villa should push for top four all the way.

Head coach: Carla Ward

Key player: Rachel Daly

Star signing: Daphne van Domselaar

Opening WSL fixtures: Manchester United (H), Liverpool (A), Arsenal (H), Tottenham Hotspur (A)

Our prediction: 5th.

Odds to win WSL: 500/1.

Arsenal's Noelle Maritz and Aston Villa's Kirsty Hanson in action. Cr. Getty ImagesArsenal's Noelle Maritz and Aston Villa's Kirsty Hanson in action. Cr. Getty Images
Arsenal's Noelle Maritz and Aston Villa's Kirsty Hanson in action. Cr. Getty Images

Brighton

Three managers in one season meant that Brighton's season was far more turbulent than they would have liked but come the end of 22/23 they looked a far better side under the guidance of Melissa Phillips.

The eye-catching signings of Belgium number one Nicky Evrard, Portugal international Tatiana Pinto and Wolfsburg's Pauline Bremer this summer have added more evidence to their case for a far more positive season this time around and they are certain to be one of the more interesting sides to watch this coming season.

Head coach: Melissa Phillips

Key player: Katie Robinson

Star signing: Tatiana Pinto

Opening WSL fixtures: Everton (A), West Ham (H), Tottenham Hotspur (H), Chelsea (A)

Our prediction: 7th.

Odds to win WSL: 2500/1.

Bristol City

One of the top tier OGs, Bristol City are back in the big time after pipping Birmingham City to the Championship title last year under the management of Lauren Smith.

Much of their success this season will lie at the feet of Abi Harrison, with the Scottish international seen as the Robins' most prolific goalscorer and they difference between them heading straight back down, or keeping their head above water.

The signings of Amy Rodgers and Jamie Lee-Napier add depth to the squad, while youngsters like Jess Simpson and Brooke Aspin will get their first real taste of WSL action. However, Megan Connolly aside, a bulk of the new recruits are inexperienced at this level and in such a competitive bottom half of the table, that could be an issue.

Head coach: Lauren Smith

Key player: Abi Harrison

Star signing: Amy Rodgers

Opening WSL fixtures: Leicester City (H), Tottenham Hotspur (A), Manchester City (A), Arsenal (H)

Our prediction: 12th.

Odds to win WSL: 5000/1.

Chelsea

Is the 23/24 season going to be Emma Hayes' Chelsea 4.0? While Manchester United and Arsenal have signed well, there's still an argument to be had over whether it was good a summer window as Chelsea's, who have added some real quality to a side already head and shoulders above the rest.

The loss of captain Madga Eriksson and game changer Pernille Harder will be a blow to the Blues but there's more than enough capability within their ranks to cover their loss and any potential injury crisis. The signings of Ashley Lawrence, Catarina Macario and Sjoeke Nusken are inspired buys and it is really hard to see beyond Chelsea at this moment in time.

Head coach: Emma Hayes OBE

Key player: Sam Kerr

Star signing: Catarina Macario

Opening WSL fixtures: Tottenham Hotspur (H), Manchester City (A), West Ham (H), Brighton (A)

Our prediction: 1st.

Odds to win WSL: 11/10.

Who would bet against Chelsea winning a fifth title in a row? Cr. Getty ImagesWho would bet against Chelsea winning a fifth title in a row? Cr. Getty Images
Who would bet against Chelsea winning a fifth title in a row? Cr. Getty Images

Everton

The return of Jess Park to Manchester City and the unavoidable sale of Gabby George to Manchester United on deadline day was no doubt a huge blow to the Toffees but under Danish boss Brian Sorensen, they have a smart, tactically aware manager that appears to get the best out of youth.

Bringing in Manchester United youngsters Alyssa Aherne (loan) and Emily Ramsey (permanent) are very exciting additions and have been aided by the smart acquisitions of Republic Of Ireland defender Heather Payne and Reading's Justine Vanhaevermaet.

However, the addition of free scoring AC Milan and Italy striker Martina Piemonte could be a real game changer for Everton.

Head coach: Brian Sorensen

Key player: Nico Sørensen

Star signing: Martina Piemonte

Opening WSL fixtures: Brighton (H), Leicester City (A), Liverpool (A), Manchester United (H)

Our prediction: 6th.

Odds to win WSL: 1500/1.

Leicester City

For the first time in a while, the Foxes can enter the WSL season trying to push up the table rather than worrying about looking down at the trapdoor after their huge improvement under Willie Kirk last season.

The purchase of experienced Belgian midfielder Janice Cayman is a intelligent signing, while the permanent addition of goalkeeper Janina Leitzig is a real game changer for the Foxes, who saw the goalkeeper have a breathtaking six month spell at the back end of last season.

While staying in the division will still be Leicester's first target, we expect there to be no final weeks of the season rescue job this time around after their excellent displays under their Scottish boss last term.

Head coach: Willie Kirk

Key player: Janina Leitzig

Star signing: Julie Thibaud

Opening WSL fixtures: Bristol City (A), Everton (H), Manchester United (A), Manchester City (H)

Our prediction: 10th.

Odds to win WSL: 2500/1.

Liverpool

One of the most intriguing sides in this summer's transfer window have been Liverpool. Seven have came in and 10 have departed and we are sure Matt Beard will feel he has managed to bring the level of quality in his ranks up significantly.

The signing of Sophie Roman-Haug is a real coup. She was excellent for an AS Roma side who won Serie A and made the UEFA Champions quarter finals last season, while bringing in Scotland centre back Jenna Clark on a free transfer is clever business. The 20-year-old possesses a mountain of experience despite her tender years.

Liverpool will feel they can have a crack at the top five this year and there's no reason to doubt that this could be a very fruitful season for them - though we feel they'll end up around a comfortable mid-table position.

Head coach: Matt Beard

Key player: Missy-Bo Kearns

Star signing: Sophie Roman-Haug

Opening WSL fixtures: Arsenal (A), Aston Villa (H), Everton (H), West Ham (A)

Our prediction: 8th.

Odds to win WSL: 1500/1.

Jenna Clark battles with Lauren Hemp in pre-season. Cr. Getty ImagesJenna Clark battles with Lauren Hemp in pre-season. Cr. Getty Images
Jenna Clark battles with Lauren Hemp in pre-season. Cr. Getty Images

Manchester City

It has been a very quiet summer for the Cityzens with only Dutch international Jill Roord arriving for big money.

After slipping out of the top four last year and missing out on Champions League football, it may seem like a strange decision to only bring in one player, however, after the upheaval of last summer, boss Gareth Taylor has been adamant that he wants his side to remain roughly the same and requires no major surgery.

With talent like Lauren Hemp, Yui Hasegawa and Bunny Shaw, there's no reason that City can't challenge for the title this term but we think, following the additions made by the three teams above them, it could be another season outside of the top three.

Head coach: Gareth Taylor

Key player: Lauren Hemp

Star signing: Jill Roord

Opening WSL fixtures: West Ham (A), Chelsea (H), Bristol City (H), Leicester City (A)

Our prediction: 4th.

Odds to win WSL: 4/1.

Manchester United

While trophies alluded them last year, there's no doubting that the Red Devil's had their best season yet and made huge strides towards success after their best points tally ever.

While much of the focus on departures centred on Alessia Russo, the loss of right back Ona Batlle to Barcelona was undoubtedly United's biggest blow of the summer window. That said, United have had a very, very good window. Champions League winner and Brazil star Geyse made a big money move to the club, while Marc Skinner made some really clever purchases in the window such as Gabby George, Irene Guerrero and World Cup golden boot winner Hinata Miyazawa.

The top three will be as competitive as it ever has been but United have signed enough quality to ensure they'll be right in the mix - we're tipping them to finish third, but don't be surprised if they make a mockery of our prediction and go even further.

Head coach: Marc Skinner

Key player: Mary Earps

Star signing: Geyse

Opening WSL fixtures: Aston Villa (A), Arsenal (H), Leicester City (H), Everton (A)

Our prediction: 3rd.

Odds to win WSL: 11/2.

Tottenham Hotspur

There's no doubt that last season was simply not good enough from a Spurs perspective and this season has to get off to a good start to ensure there's no hangover from the previous campaign.

The loss of captain Beth England to injury is a huge blow with the England striker free scoring since she arrived at the club. Under new management after the appointment of BK Hacken boss Robert Vilahamn, Spurs have grabbed themselves a manager they'll hope will steer them up the table but with three tough away games in his first four games, he is really up against it.

Grace Clinton has joined on loan from Manchester United which will add some much needed talent in the middle but we really do fear for Spurs this season, if we're completely honest.

Head coach: Robert Vilahamn

Key player: Beth England

Star signing: Grace Clinton

Opening WSL fixtures: Chelsea (A), Bristol City (H), Brighton (A), Aston Villa (A)

Our prediction: 11th.

Odds to win WSL: 2000/1.

Beth England's injury will be a blow to Tottenham Hotspur in the opening weeks of the WSL season. Cr. Getty ImagesBeth England's injury will be a blow to Tottenham Hotspur in the opening weeks of the WSL season. Cr. Getty Images
Beth England's injury will be a blow to Tottenham Hotspur in the opening weeks of the WSL season. Cr. Getty Images

West Ham United

Last season was a bit of a damp squib for Hammers fans with mid-table mediocrity very much the order of the day in a season that probably left a few more questions than answers.

Paul Konchesky's time in charge of West Ham lasted just one season and former Spurs boss Rehanne Skinner has been appointed as head coach. The disappointing end to her time with the Whites though has left many West Ham fans unsure of the appointment.

On a positive note, Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold will enter the new WSL season with vigour after a memorable World Cup campaign for the Matildas, while new signing Riko Ueki is sure to have a spring in her step after scoring two goals for Japan during a tournament that saw them go all the way to the quarter finals.

We think the Hammers will be comfortably safe but that's about it.

Head coach: Rehanne Skinner

Key player: Mackenzie Arnold

Star signing: Riko Ueki

Opening WSL fixtures: Manchester City (A), Brighton (H), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H)

Our prediction: 9th.

Odds to win WSL: 2000/1.

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