JACQUI OATLEY’S WSL GUIDE: Chelsea, Arsenal to challenge for title as women’s football returns

JACQUI OATLEY’S WSL GUIDE: Chelsea and Arsenal to battle for title, Manchester United’s new signings could sneak them into the top three… and watch out for England’s latest debutant Lauren James!

  • The Women’s Super League season kicks off on Friday as Arsenal host Brighton
  • Reigning champions Chelsea face competition from the Gunners for the title
  • Rivals Manchester United and City to battle for last Champions League spot
  • But it could be a tough year for Leicester in just their second season at this level

After last weekend’s postponement, the new Women’s Super League season gets underway on Friday night as Arsenal host Brighton.

Following England’s historic Euro 2022 triumph in the summer, clubs are hoping to capitalize on increased interest in the women’s game.

The Jacqui Oatley show provides her guide to the campaign ahead Sportsmail.

JACQUI OATLEY’S WSL GUIDE: Chelsea, Arsenal to challenge for title as women’s football returns

Reigning champions Chelsea face competition from Arsenal for Women’s Super League title

FIVE STARS FOR FOLLOW-UP

Lauren James (Chelsea)

She turns 21 later this month and has started just 11 league games, but James is such a talent, having already scored nine goals in the WSL. I’m excited to see what he can bring to Chelsea and England.

Deyna Castellanos (Manchester City)

She burst onto the scene as a youngster and made the FIFA Best Women’s Top 2017 list. City need the Venezuelan striker and other signings to win as they have lost so much talent and experience.

Lauren James has started just 11 league games but has already scored nine goals in the WSL

Lauren James has started just 11 league games but has already scored nine goals in the WSL

Jess Park (Everton)

Quick, exciting dribbler who can play on both wings. He started eight league games last season for Manchester City but the loanee, 20, will want to be a fixture in Everton’s starting line-up. Exciting prospect for England.

Rachel Daly (Aston Villa)

Left back for England but very much a centre-forward at club level. An excellent signing who will add character and edge — just what Villa need.

Missy Beau Cairns (Liverpool)

The Scouser, 21, who has been in the Liverpool set-up since the age of eight and has been hugely influential in their promotion to the WSL. Manager Matt Beard says he’s headed for the top — and he’s usually right.

Rachel Daly was a Euro 2022 winner with England in the summer and signed for Aston Villa

Rachel Daly was a Euro 2022 winner with England in the summer and signed for Aston Villa

WHO WINS THE LEAGUE?

Most people are looking at Chelsea, but maybe they are building a team for the Champions League.

Arsenal must hope that Chelsea are so focused on Europe that they can win the title. It is between these two.

BATTLE OF TOP THREE

Manchester United have made some very good signings and kept hold of Alessia Russo and Ella Toone, who should create a very good battle with rivals City.

Tottenham have also been fantastic in the transfer market.

WHO’S IN TROUBLE?

Leicester have no superstars, which isn’t necessarily a big deal, but it’s only their second season at this level. The read has a small budget, but Kelly Chambers works wonders every season.

Brighton have lost key players this summer and need replacements to push forward.

Manchester United have invested well and will be fighting for the last place in the Champions League

Manchester United have invested well and will be fighting for the last place in the Champions League

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