WSL 1 Week 15 Preview: Belles seek pride whilst City hope for unbeaten record
The WSL reaches its penultimate weekend of action this season | Photo: VAVEL UK

The WSL season is nearly at its conclusion, with teams having only a couple more games left to play this season. Manchester City have already won the league, whilst Doncaster Belles were unfortunately relegated. A few teams will still be hoping that they can reach a higher position in the league however, as we go into the penultimate weekend of WSL action. 

Sunderland survive

With Donny Belles' 2-1 defeat to Notts County, who Sunderland take on this weekend, the Lady Black Cats ensured their WSL 1 status for another season with just two games remaining for the Tyne and Weir side in 2016. Sunderland have earned just nine points this season, including two wins, which after finishing fourth in 2015 has been a hugely disappointing season, avoiding relegation only because of Doncaster's inability to pick up a point all season.

Sunderland's last encounter was against County, when they were defeated 2-1 after goals from Rachel Williams and Jess Clarke secured the points last month. Notts are currently on a good run of form however, winning their last two in a season where they've failed to really get going. On this occasion you feel as though the Lady Pies will again have too much for Sunderland.

Arsenal hoping to build

Arsenal's last game was a 5-0 win over Doncaster Belles, the same opponents they welcome to Meadow Park this Sunday as the visitors will be searching for some pride after being relegated two weekends ago. Since that game though, the Gunners have been extremely busy as they look to build ahead to the Spring Series in an attempt to challenge and compete more. 

Kim Little has agreed to return to the club from the NWSL, whilst Vicky Losada, Natalia and Marta Corredera are all leaving the Gunners. Meanwhile Jodie Taylor played 20 minutes in a game behind closed doors last weekend and former US international Heather O'Reilly also played 90 minutes, but whether that is a deal that is going to be completed remains to be seen. 

Arsenal look like they mean business then with rumours they have the funding to get some quality players in ahead of next season. They will be hoping that they can build some late season momentum then to take into next season, and they should expect another comfortable win over the Belles on Sunday who will be simply looking to salvage something from a campaign to forget. 

Title wrapped up for City

Manchester City have had an excellent season, winning the WSL title the last time they stepped onto the field in a league game, defeating Chelsea 2-0. Since then, they have won the Continental Cup, and secured their passage into the next round of the Women's Champions League after beating Russian outfit Zvezda Perm over two legs. 

This weekend, in their final WSL match of the season, they take on Birmingham, as they hope to end the season with an unbeaten record, as they will finally get their hands on the trophy this weekend. Birmingham will be looking for revenge though after their resilient display in the Continental Cup final, losing after extra time 1-0. The visitors to CFA have the chance to leap-frog Liverpool who they beat in their last WSL match as they have a game in hand. 

The positions after the top two in the league, City and Chelsea remain wide open, with three points separating Arsenal, Liverpool and Birmingham. The teams sandwiching the Merseyside club have a game in hand but the Gunners take on Liverpool on the final weekend of the season so all is still to play for in that regard. 

Man City have won the Continental Cup since last their last outing in the WSL | Photo: Getty
Man City have won the Continental Cup since last their last outing in the WSL | Photo: Getty

Chelsea take on Reading

By Chelsea's high standards, their season hasn't been the greatest. They lost their league title to City, lost in the final of the FA Cup, and were knocked out by Wolfsburg in the Champions League again. However their last two games of the season, like Arsenal, will potentially be seen as matches to build some momentum ahead of the Spring Series next year. 

The Blues haven't played in the league for over a month, but take on a Reading side who have just about managed to stay up, as they currently sit on nine points after their promotion last year. The Royals also haven't played in over a month but come into this game off the back of a 4-1 win over Donny Belles. Chelsea don't necessarily need to prove themselves, but they will be hoping they end the season well and show intent after being massively overshadowed by City in 2016.