With Manchester City pursuing Chelsea all the way to the Women’s Super League title last season, could this year finally be the one where they knock their rivals off the top spot?
Manager Gareth Taylor brought new energy to the team last season, reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League before falling victim to an unstoppable Barcelona side.
Now equipped with several new high-profile signings, the blue half of Manchester will be looking to add to their collection of silverware.
Despite finishing second to a strong Chelsea side, the Sky Blues had several weaknesses that were exploited by their opponents during the season.
A lack of squad depth in some areas of the pitch forced attacking players to bolster numbers in the defence. With Demi Stokes and Aoife Mannion out for large periods of time, City’s defence was often left without reinforcements. The issue was compounded when Steph Houghton suffered an achilles injury.
The early weeks of the season undoubtedly played a part in City narrowly missing out on the spot. Several disappointing results left Taylor’s side with ground to make up following the winter break. With draws to Brighton, Reading, and Manchester United in the early weeks of the season, they quickly fell behind their rivals.
Players to watch
Ellie RoebuckEmbed from Getty Images
Ellie Roebuck first made her WSL debut for the Sky Blues in 2017. She then established herself as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper under both Nick Cushing and Taylor.
Throughout her time in the WSL, Roebuck has conceded just 45 goals. The upcoming season will see the 21-year-old come off the back of her first Olympic Games, where she starred in all of Team GB’s four matches.
Despite notable additions to Man City’s attacking lineup, Lauren Hemp’s name is still one that stands out on any team sheet.
With ten goals and 11 assists across all competitions for the Sky Blues last season, Hemp was another young star who made her place in the Team GB squad a certainty.
An injury sustained in the Charity Shield delayed Hemp’s season from getting underway, however, the forward certainly made up for lost time.
Alex GreenwoodEmbed from Getty Images
Alex Greenwood’s signing came at a time when the City backline seemed plagued with injury.
The left-back joined from Lyon following an incredible season with the French giants. Since then, Greenwood has gone on to provide five assists, with an 88% pass accuracy.
Her attacking ability combined with a strong defensive talent makes her a threat in all areas of the pitch.
City have certainly made their mark so far during the summer transfer window.
Teen starlet Ruby Mace was the first signing for Taylor’s side. Joining from Arsenal, Mace will provide an excellent option for City’s backline.
The Sky Blues then added Khadija Shaw to their squad, signing the striker on a three-year deal from Bordeaux. Shaw was the top scorer in Division 1 Feminine last season, scoring an incredible 24 goals in 21 appearances.
Vicky Losada marked City’s next signing. The midfielder has made the move to Manchester from Barcelona where she has spent the previous 16 years. Losada has collected 25 major honours during her career.Embed from Getty Images
After much speculation, City then completed the signing of Australian international Hayley Raso. The move came following Raso’s decision not to renew her contract at Everton. The new signing will take the number two shirt previously worn by Aoife Mannion.
The 26-year-old has played in the United States as well as Australia and England. With more than 50 caps for the Matildas, Raso’s versatility could prove a key asset for the Sky Blues this season.
Joining her is latest signing and Aussie compatriot Alanna Kennedy, who will look to become Houghton’s new centre-back partner.
City rounded off a successful window with the acquirement of Swedish international and Olympic silver medalist Filippa Angeldahl.
First and stand out fixtures
The blue half of Manchester will kick off their WSL campaign away against Everton before hosting Tottenham at home the following week. The away Manchester derby will also draw fans’ eyes in the run-up to a familiar clash between Taylor’s side and Emma Hayes’ Chelsea.