Year in Review: Manchester United top of the tree as Barclays FA WSL welcomes new superstars

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Casey Stoney has steered Manchester United to the top of the Barclays FA Women's Super League table. Pic: Reuters
Casey Stoney has steered Manchester United to the top of the Barclays FA Women's Super League table. Pic: Reuters

In a year unlike any other, the Barclays FA Women’s Super League still provided plenty of highlights with the competition tantalisingly poised as 2021 approaches.

The start of the year saw the 2019-20 season title race hot up with Chelsea, Manchester City and defending champions Arsenal all contenders.

The Blues recorded a 4-1 victory over the Gunners to put them ahead in the table, while City were still the frontrunners.

And a month later it was déjà vu as Chelsea got the better of Arsenal in the final of the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup, winning 2-1 in front of 6,743 fans at the City Ground in Nottingham.

But life was about to change as the league went on its international break and never returned.

Once the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the season was initially suspended until it was eventually called off at the end of May.

Chelsea were declared champions in June after points-per-game was used to decide with outcome, with the Cityzens claiming second place and the final Champions League spot.

At the other end of the table, however, it was Liverpool who were relegated from the top tier with one victory to their name and Aston Villa were promoted to the top flight for the first time since 2004.

Summer signings

It was a busy transfer window over the summer months, as teams prepared to build their squad ahead of the upcoming season.

Signings from all over the world descended upon the FA WSL, but the biggest and most prominent influx was from the USA.

World Cup winners Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan all flew across the Atlantic to play at Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.

Welsh international Jess Fishlock joined Reading on loan from OL Reign, England’s Rachel Daly was loaned from Houston Dash to West Ham United and Scotland winger Claire Emslie joined Everton on loan from Orlando Pride.

And Chelsea added a headline name to their squad as Wolfsburg forward Pernille Harder joined Emma Hayes’ ranks.

United top of the tree at Christmas

September saw the start of the season and the FA WSL back on our screens for the first time in six months.

Arsenal began with a bang by scoring 15 goals and only conceding one in their opening two fixtures, while Chelsea, City and United all started with one win and one draw.

Casey Stoney’s Red Devils continued their impressive start to the season and inflicted a 1-0 defeat upon the Gunners before drawing 2-2 with their Manchester rivals, while Arsenal and Chelsea played out a 1-1 draw.

The run into Christmas saw United maintain their unbeaten record this season and sit top of the pile on 26 points, with Arsenal in second place four points behind them.

At the other end of the table, after a torrid start to the season and a change of management Spurs secured back-to-back victories to leave them in eighth place.

Brighton, West Ham and Aston Villa also all have two victories to their name this season, while Bristol City remain winless and sit at the bottom of the table on two points.