WSL 1 Week 16 Preview: Curtain comes down on Women's Super League season
The WSL will finish this weekend as final matches takes place | Photo: VAVEL UK

WSL 1 Week 16 Preview: Curtain comes down on Women's Super League season

The Women's Super League reaches its conclusion this weekend as the final round of matches take place around the country.

Matt Dawson

This season's WSL 1 won't quite have the same dramatic finish as it had last season, where both Manchester City and Chelsea went into the final day both able of winning the league.

This season everything has worked itself out before the final day, with a series of dead rubbers taking place this weekend. However there's still pride at stake and a couple of positions left to be decided.

Manchester City have already won the title very comfortably, whilst Doncaster Belles were relegated without winning a point. This weekend there's four games taking place as everyone aside from City are in action at 6pm on Sunday evening. 

Liverpool - Arsenal

The last time these two sides faced off against each other was back in the middle of summer at Borehamwood in a highly entertaining clash. Fara Williams scored, albeit via a deflection against her old club, and then two cracking goals from Shanice van der Sanden and Caroline Weir, also against her former employers, secured an impressive win for a Liverpool side who were enjoying somewhat of a rejuvination at the time.

At that point it looked as though Liverpool may have been able to overtake the Gunners, but with one game left Arsenal sit four points ahead of this weekend's opponents.

In Widnes on Sunday we could well see an equally entertaining game as Liverpool will probably need a win in order to cement fourth place in the league, a position that they have merited this season after some impressive runs throughout 2016. 

Jodie Taylor could well make the starting XI for Arsenal after returning from injury with two goals as her side beat Doncaster Belles last weekend. That will be a huge boost to this Arsenal team who have lacked goals this season.

Notts County - Chelsea

By Chelsea's high standards, they haven't been at the races this season and they've deservedly lost their WSL crown to Man City. However there's no doubting that they are one of the best team's in the country. They should be able to bounce back in time for the Spring Series, but before that they travel to Nottingham for a game against Notts County.

The last time the two sides met, the Lady Pies put in a resilient display away from home, as two goals from Katie Chapman ensured a 2-1 win for Chelsea as they came from behind. County however at the moment are on one of the best runs of the season, beating and drawing against Sunderland, whilst also defeating Doncaster Belles in their last three outings. 

Eni Aluko scored twice in Chelsea's last game, as they beat Reading 3-2 in a thrilling game at Staines Town. She goes into this game level on goals with City striker Jane Ross so the England international will be aiming to find the back of the net and be crowned the top scorer in the league, something that will be of some consolation for the Chelsea player.

Eni Aluko has been in brilliant goal scoring form this season | Photo: VAVEL's Chloe Leadbeater
Eni Aluko has been in brilliant goal scoring form this season | Photo: VAVEL's Chloe Leadbeater

Reading - Doncaster Belles

The two bottom sides in the league meet on the final day of the season, with the hosts at Adams Park this weekend securing their place in the division after the Belles failed to pick up a point all season.

Therefore Doncaster will be hoping that they can finally banish that hoodoo this season and bow out of WSL 1 with some sort of pride by gaining a point or even a win on Sunday.

However Reading defeated Doncaster 4-1 the last time they played each other back in late September which doesn't bode too well. The Royals meanwhile have a chance to leapfrog Sunderland into seventh place which will be an extra incentive from what has been quite an average season after their promotion last season.

Reading though have done what they came to do when gaining promotion; stay up, so they can have no real complaints about 2016. They will just be hoping now that they can try and establish themselves. 

Sunderland - Birmingham

As mentioned above, the Blues have the opportunity to overtake Liverpool into fourth spot if they beat Sunderland and Arsenal defeat the Merseyside club. Birmingham have had a rather good season, sitting in midtable, and they were unlucky not to beat Manchester City last weekend, after going 1-0 up thanks to a penalty from Aoife Mannion

Mannion was one of two Birmingham players, along with left back Kerys Harrop that made VAVEL UK's Team of the Season, which sums up how good they've been this season, so they should secure a victory over Sunderland. If they were to finish fourth meanwhile, it would equal a very impressive campaign. 

As for Sunderland, they've been rather disappointing in 2016, but they have avoided relegation, something that will be rather pleasing for the Lady Black Cats. They come into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Notts County last weekend, only their tenth point of the season.