Last season, I was on flames.
But I still got a few a bit off — there were still some sides evading me. This season, I’m back, and I’m going for better.
There’s something in the air in the WSL, there’s a changing tide, there’s somet special gonna happen, I just know it.
It feels like a new dawn, a corner turned where the game can sprint clean into the sunset at a million miles an hour.
I might have been on flames, but the WSL is the feckin’ fire that lit me.
So I predict the WSL each year and I give myself a score at the end of it using the difference between my prediction and where they actually end up. For example, if I had Reading finishing 7th and they actually finished 12th, that would net me a score of -5.
Simple. Last season, in my first attempt on this site, I netted -14. The season before, over on Radio Rainbow, I netted -28.
If I was into patterns, this would dictate a perfect score for this season.
And I am very much into patterns.
So let’s get that perfect score when I ask myself just how is the 20/21 season of the WSL gonna end?
They’ve lost firepower, but they’ve reloaded the cannons more than efficiently — even if this just gets them back to square one. They’re still a massive threat and they’ll slide into that top group easily, but it can feel as if they’re missing a connector in their circuit somewhere when going against other big sides.
But they’ll be determined to push on after a few seasons of falling behind the pack, and even if it’s same again for The Gunners, that attitude could at least make more of a game of it.
The aim of the experiment last season was to stay up, and it worked, but they didn’t nail it with flying colours. Several of the signings of last season are heading back out, and a more measured approch to recruitment has resulted in a fruitful window that’s flown under the radar. The likes of Lehmann, Sargeant, and the highly-rated Hannah Hampton can push Villa on to a safer finish, and while goal-scoring might continue to be an issue, a more assured defence’ll have ’em sittin’ pretty, if not beautifully.
The most important signing by far though, is the one of Carla Ward — she’ll be the clincher here.
These are troublesome times for The Blues, with a revolving door seemingly employed at the training ground. They were lucky enough not to be done for last season, but now a lot of their experience and proven quality has gone, and they have been replaced with youthful inexperience.
It’s hard to see where points are gonna come from this season, and though Sott Booth has tremendous pedigree and will give ’em the best chance — this is gonna be a slog.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
This is the tighest this squad has been, and it seems everyone has their place, or at least will have it very soon. I’m sure they would have liked Heroum to stay on, but they’ll remain a tough side to beat and finish higher in that ‘lower category’ because of that.
This isn’t a bad thing though. Two seasons ago, they were heading into a season lost, and now they look more secure than most in the top flight.
I mean, they didn’t really need to change anything but they’ve still added Lauren James to an already vicious attack.
We’re in the mini-era of a two-team shoot-out, and Chelsea are the ones trying to remain on their throne so it’s a case of not fixing what ain’t broken right now. Game plans will have advanced, especially after the Champions League final last term, and the rest of the league might have to bear the brunt of the best getting better.
Emma Hayes and her side do not seem like those who rest on their laurels.
After an outstanding term last season, they’ve strengthened the most underrated WSL side with a few signings from around them as well as a raid on Rosengard.
With sides outside the top three just looking to consolidate their position, it is now seeming that more of them are pushing on and making a concerted effort to crack into that top group. Willie Kirk’s side could easy be that next side and that could be thanks to some shining individual performances throughout the side.
This is a side ready for the top flight. They stormed the second division last term, and for their first season up, they’ve done well to add some experience to a side full of stars ready to shine at the highest level. Natasha Flint is gonna make the leap gracefully, and the rest will soon follow, but a goalscorer is what every promoted side craves from the off.
They’ll settle into that ‘bottom group’ at the start, but this is a side that could go on to do some impressive stuff in the WSL, with this being a sparky start.
It’s another chance for The Citizens to take a run at the top spot, and though they can likely overpower anyone with their spending, it’s applying it that might prove tough.
Going forward, they’re sorted, no problem. At the back, they could be caught out, and that could easy spell the difference, especially if goal difference comes into play, which it easy could. The Man City bubble ain’t bursting, but it’s hovering over prickly trees.
This is gonna be a little bit of a soft reset for The Red Devils, with a new coach and a bit of rotated personnel rocking up. For everything they have lost, something has come in to plug the wound, but there’ll have to be readjustment, and Marc Skinner is a cracker appointment to have at the helm during turbulent waves.
It’ll seem as if they won’t miss a beat I reckon, and they’ll be right back on to cracking that code that gets ’em into the WSL elite.
Ever since I started watching this side, they’ve been uncallable. I never know if they’re gonna put up a good fight and take a deserved point off Chelsea, or get battered by a side outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
They’re ruthlessly inefficient at being consistent and they must be a feckin’ ballache to support day-to-day.
There’s somet in the water though… Some feeling that tells me Reading’s time middle is up and that there’s gonna be a lot more predictions spelling disaster based on their form.
They’re not gonna fall off the face of the Earth or owt, just perform a gentle slide down the table a bit.
They’ve vanquished their arsenal (lower-case ‘a’) and have not replenished it. Their plan to properly compete in the WSL is going down the drain, and it’s heading there fair rapid, like. The grit in the side is diminishing, and the ideas are running out.
They’ll be dragged hither and thither, and it’ll be snatched points that’ll save ’em, but maybe not for long if they keep going how they are.
WEST HAM UNITED
The Hammers’ll be praying for same again if they can get there ‘cos they are another side to have worn out their tried and trusted and replaced them with risks, regardless of their quality elsewhere.
They’ll once again be relying on the performances of individuals to see ’em through, and while they’ll stay put, it may only be due to teams having a harder time than them and the experience they do have paying dividends.
Alreet, let’s ‘ave a gander.
2. Manchester City
4. Manchester United
6. Brighton & Hove Albion
8. West Ham United
9. Aston Villa
10. Leicester City
11. Tottenham Hotspur
12. Birmingham City
It’s gonna be fresh, innit?
NOT EVEN A QUESTION, OF COURSE IT IS
And that’s regardless of these predictions. It’s gonna be a thrill to watch ’em strive and thrive and break down the walls of these top and bottom groups that currently exist.
Will that happen this season?
That might be how it ends…
Is that how it’s gonna end?
Oh, and Palace and Blackburn are gonna push from the Champo. Two cracker rosters there.
I don’t get points for that though.
Keep it streets ahead,