Football has had a fantastic glow up in 2021 from its lack of prominence in 2020, and no type of football has garnered more attention than women’s football. Both the Lionesses and the Women’s Super League have gained respect this year, and also women’s football in general. So, in a similar style article to the Premier League version a few days ago, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at some of the most memorable moments in the WSL this season.
BRIGHTON END CHELSEA’S 33 GAME UNBEATEN RUN
All the way back in February 2021, Chelsea ruined their top form, which lasted for 33 games and since January 2019. This match was a great story depicting the underdog taking down the big dog, like David and Goliath. The game in question saw midtable side Brighton leaving Kings Meadow with all 3 points, as they avenged an earlier 1-0 with an impressive 2-1 victory thanks to attacking duo Whelan and Connoly. Teams such as Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United had tried to get the better of the Blues for around 2 years, so it was the footballing spirit which made Brighton (a mid-table side) topple the League Champions.
WEIR’S WORLDIE IN THE DERBY
As we move on into the month, we look at Caroline Weir’s wonder goal in mid-February. Weir knew what she was doing when she took the ball off of Manchester United at the edge of the box, glided past Jackie Groenen, and made Thorisdottir, Turner, and Sigsworth admire her beautiful, delicate shot which went right above the goalkeeper’s head, both literally and metaphorically… It was one of the most notable moments of her season, and was also one of the best goals in the season, and the fact it was in the Manchester derby made it even better than it already was.
In recent weeks and months, the WSL has gained a lot of recognition, as I said in the intro, Due to this increase, both attendances and viewerships are up, as the BBC pulled in around 800,000 live viewers for Manchester City vs Everton, the most ever on a single WSL game, and also the first match broadcasted live on BBC 1, their main channel. This, and more commercialisation meant increased transfer fees, which, unlike the men’s game, is actually not resented. BT Sport was averaging around 37,000 viewers per game for the 2021 portion of 20/21, which wasn’t actually half bad, considering the starting point,
ASHTON GATE’S MOMENT OF HOPE
It was a fantastic game of football, full of thrills, goals and subversion. Bristol City, a team who were sitting at the bottom of the table, and had only won a single game, managed to beat a team by the name of Reading, who were looking for their fifth game unbeaten. However, bizarrely, the reds from Bristol managed to come away with a sensational 3-2 win over Reading. It didn’t manage to save them from relegation, but it gave them hope, it was a brilliant match, and it kept the hopes alive for the Vixens.
SKY’S TAKEOVER OF THE WSL
As I was saying earlier, the WSL was becoming more and more developed. However, something which took that to a whole new level was the adoption of the league by Sky Sports in the summer. It instantly tripled the viewing figures of the league, going from around 37,000 to around 114,000. It also allowed for a few good adverts, including the brilliant season opener which really targeted a younger demographic, as well as the more ‘typical’ footy fan.
MANCHESTER CITY’S FORTRESS IS DESTROYED
Back in September, Manchester City were doing fine. They had managed to go through an entire season without losing a home game, and had just beaten Everton 4-0 away from home. So, you imagine their shock once they lost 2-1 to a team who wasn’t even in the league when they started their run all the way back in 2017/18. However, that’s exactly what happened. Thanks to a good bit of skill from Rosella Ayane, who didn’t even start the game, Manchester City’s three-year unbeaten streak was history.
THE CITIZENS ARE GUNNED DOWN
Typically, Manchester City are known for remaining competitive with their opponents, even if they lose. However, when they rocked up to Meadow Park back in September, just off the back of that terrible result against Spurs, supporters saw the Citizens humiliated with the scoreline reading ‘Arsenal 5, Manchester City 0’, which many fans were outraged by. That day marked the birth of the Taylor Out campaign, which still hasn’t been successful, but has definitely added a bit of drama to the WSL this year.
CHELSEA WIN THE QUADRUPLE
And now, we wrap it up with an event which happened just over 2 weeks ago. Chelsea won the FA Cup on December 5th, which marked their spectacular quadruple that included a WSL title, a Continental Cup, a Community Shield, and a FA Cup. A truly remarkable feat, as the Blues are part of an exclusive club of quadruple winners, and were able to celebrate their Club of the Year achievement with a trophy celebration too.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
With another break in football seeming likely, it’s important to reflect on moments like these, which define footballing years, culture, and society. Whether that be the famous (or infamous, if you’re a United fan) goal scored by Agüero back in 2011, or Vivianne Miedema’s more recent 10 goal involvements in a single match against Bristol City, these are the moments which make football, football.