A Look Back at some of the Highlights of the 2016 WSL Season
The Women’s Super League in England is now in an extended break until September 2017, as the football calendar has changed so that it will become a winter league and run in tandem with men’s football. This means Manchester City Women can bask in their glory for a little longer than the previous champions. In the sixth season of this growing league there were plenty of highs and lows. Let’s take a look at some highlights.
City Defeat Chelsea to Claim their First Title
City won their first ever WSL trophy in style, by beating the previous champions Chelsea 2-0 in a strong home display at Academy Stadium. The Citizens sealed the league victory comfortably before the final round of fixtures, and it was well deserved; they had been the dominant force in the top flight all season. They were the only team that went undefeated throughout the whole campaign; they won 13 of their games, and drew 3. Amazingly, the Sky Blues only conceded 4 goals all term – 13 fewer than Chelsea Ladies who came second.
City Set Record WSL Crowds
City’s exceptional onslaught on the title has also seen them set a new record for crowds in the league. The Manchester club were pulling in throngs that averaged over 2000 per match for the season, which was an increase of 50 percent. With this incredible support and coming off the back of a fantastic season, there is no doubt that City will enter the next campaign as favourites with the shortest betting odds. Due to the fresh nature of women’s football, it could be the one to bet on.
Eniola Aluko and Jane Ross: Joint Top Scorers
Aluko and Ross bagged nine goals apiece in the 2016 season to finish joint top of the scoring charts. This was Aluko’s highest ever goal tally in the WSL and the England striker has been in red-hot form. The 2014/15 Chelsea Ladies’ Player of the Year has become one of the most devastating dribblers in the women’s game. This bodes well for the England national team. The 29-year-old has already put away a whopping 32 goals in 90 appearances for her country.
Ross came to the WSL with an exceptional strike record. At Glasgow City, she racked up 104 goals in 118 appearances and at Swedish club Vittsjo GIK she scored 21 in 42 games. Not bad at all. She hasn’t failed to disappoint at City either, and her clinical nature in front of goal helped secure the title for the Citizens.
Belles go out with a Bang
Doncaster Rovers Belles were relegated to the WSL 2 after losing all 15 of their matches before facing Reading Women on the final day of the season. The Yorkshire club managed to bow out with a 1-0 win after Katrin Omarsdottir scored during a free-kick situation. The captain, Leandra Little, said: “it was an absolute relief to see the goal go in. Also, it is nice to be celebrating something.”
It’s a long wait until the next WSL season, but we can still reminisce on what was a truly exciting 2016 campaign. The fact that popularity is growing and the quality is rising is also highly encouraging for the women’s game.