Man Utd and Man City WSL preview: opening fixtures, transfer news and where to watch the action
And it looks set to be the biggest campaign yet with a new TV deal providing a financial boost for the top flight while also bringing the division to more homes than ever before.
When does the 2021/22 WSL season start?
The new term begins this weekend (3rd-5th September 2021) and all 12 top-flight sides will play over the three-day period. The ‘21/22 season will then wrap up over the weekend of 6-8 May 2022.
What are the opening fixtures for United and City?
The Red Devils start with a home fixture against Reading on Friday (7:45pm kick-off), before travelling away to newly promoted Leicester City.
As for the Blues, it all kicks off with an opening day trip to Merseyside to face Everton on Saturday (1:30pm kick-off) and a week later Tottenham Hotspur visit the Etihad campus.
Where can I watch United and City?
In March, a landmark TV deal was announced for the WSL, which will be shown live on Sky Sports and BBC Sport in the UK this season. The deal is worth an estimated £7-8m per year and runs through to 2024.
Those games not selected by Sky and BBC will continue to be streamed live via the FA Player.
Have United and City completed many transfers this summer?
In short: yes. In the last week of the 2020/21 season, United supporters were rocked by the news that Casey Stoney was leaving the club after three years in charge. She was replaced by Marc Skinner, who joined from US side Orlando Pride.
In the transfer market, the Red Devils parted company with Abbie McManus, Amy Turner, Tobin Heath, Lauren James, Jane Ross, Jess Sigsworth and Christen Press. United then strengthened with the additions of Sophie Baggaley, Aoife Mannion, Hannah Blundell, Vidle Boe Risa and Martha Thomas.
As for City, Sam Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, Rose Lavelle, Megan Campbell, Gemma Bonner, Aoife Mannion, Lee Geum-min and Tyler Toland left the club, but the Blues replaced them with the impressive signings of Alanna Kennedy, Ruby Mace, Filippa Angeldahl, Vicky Losada, Khadija Shaw and Hayley Raso.
How did United and City get on last season?
It was an ultimately disappointing campaign for United, who looked set to gain a Champions League place at the midpoint of the term, only to end up in fourth after a disastrous final few months. The Red Devils also crashed out early in both cup competitions and will be hoping to bounce back strongly under new management this term.
City also suffered an underpar campaign and failed to claim any silverware. Gareth Taylor’s side finished second in the WSL, two points behind eventual winners Chelsea, and experienced frustration in the cup competitions after they were eliminated in the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League.