Title race heating up in the Women’s Super League
Background image: Falastur2, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Liverpool may have already wrapped up their first title of the Premier League era in grand style. Manchester City’s 2-0 loss at Tottenham left Pep Guardiola’s team 22 points behind in the title race. With 13 games left to play, even if mathematically the title is not yet won, the Reds have to lose eight of those matches with City maintaining a perfect record, for the situation to change. If the first part of the campaign has told us anything, that's not going to happen.
However, in the Women’s Super League the situation is quite different. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are in the middle of an intriguing title race while Liverpool are neck-deep in relegation waters. It's interesting that at a time when the male team is on the verge of winning the Premier League title, their female counterparts are experiencing the opposite feeling in the WSL. Call it mixed fortunes and you're right. Fortunately, Vicky Jepson has enough quality in her squad to pull through and survive.
But for Chelsea and Manchester City women, the aim is to dethrone defending champions Arsenal this term. Although City sits top of the standings, a point clear of Chelsea at the moment, it's the Blues who appear the most likely to conquer the division at the end of the campaign. The Blues are enjoying an unbeaten run in the league and have netted a staggering 21 times in the last four games.
It's the kind of form that makes winning the title a very realistic objective. But City will not give up the chase knowing a home win against the 2018 champions could tip the scales in their favour this time around. Yet that will happen if the team gets past newcomers Manchester United in the preceding derby game. Having narrowly lost in the first two meetings between the sides in different competitions, Casey Stoney's Reds will be out to put an end to the losing streak. That's especially so as the game will be played at home.
A victory for United against City will let Arsenal right back in the title race. More so if Chelsea hold the Cityzens in their encounter. Otherwise, it'll be a case of winner takes all. In the event of the Blues picking up maximum points against both City and Everton, the team will be in pole position to claim a third league title in five years.
That makes the remaining part of the campaign very interesting. Chelsea, City and Arsenal will seek to outdo each other to emerge victorious while United are poised to be the spoilers. And now that City have a change of guard at the helm of affairs with the departure of manager Nick Cushing to become assistant manager at sister club New York City FC, the team could feel the effect.
It's surprising that the parent club has made such a decision in the middle of the season. Such an important change is capable of destabilising the team as a result of a lack of full focus on the task at hand. The team has already been knocked out of the Continental Cup by Arsenal in the meantime. And for the title race, the shakeup is capable of giving a huge advantage to the other rivals who will enjoy relative stability during the period leading up to the end of the season. On the other hand, the players could also decide to do well as a parting gift to their manager of six years.
Generally, all three title contenders are good enough to win the title. But, unlike what's currently going on in the men's top flight, nothing is decided yet. Either one of them can still take pole position in the race by finishing the campaign strongly.