In the first of her exclusive GiveMeSport columns, England and Manchester City superstar Lucy Bronze looks ahead to the new Women’s Super League season and assesses City’s chances.
Over the summer I was presented with a choice: miss the start of the season for a knee operation, or play the whole campaign in pain. I decided on the surgery.
It’s hard being on the sidelines, especially with the new broadcast deal in place, but I know it’s the right choice. I was playing at between 50 to 75 percent in a lot of games last season. Nowhere near the levels I set for myself. I wasn’t able to help the team and affect matches the way I know I can.
That said, I’ve now got the benefit of watching all the action unfold as I continue my rehab, and what a season it promises to be!
Manchester City’s season objectives
Winning the FA Cup last year was brilliant, but as a team, we wanted more. If you look at the squad we had, we should have won more trophies. That’s our objective for this season.
My desire to win the league in England has rocketed since moving back to Manchester City from Lyon, and that’s the title I want this year. There are added benefits to winning the WSL as well – we wouldn’t have to play qualifying matches for the Champions League next season, for example.
Of course, winning the league is easier said than done, but it always goes right to the wire for City. It came down to just two points last season!
Chelsea will be our biggest rivals for the title once again, having topped the table last campaign. They haven’t made many new signings, but their team is already stacked with incredible talent, especially in attack.
Arsenal will be more in the mix for the title than last season, especially after their business in the transfer window. I’ve played with Nikita Parris and against Mana Iwabuchi before, and they really are fantastic players. They will add another dimension to Arsenal’s attack.
Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal – they will be the three teams going for the title
Manchester United had a good season last year, but I think Everton will finish above them. They’ve made a number of really top quality signings, including Toni Duggan. Watch out for Everton – they will be dark horses!
Manchester City’s new signings
I can’t wait to properly meet City’s new signings when I return from injury. I remember Vicky Losada well from her two seasons at Arsenal, and I think it’s fair to say she was one of their best players at the time.
Losada should slot into our midfield perfectly alongside Kiera Walsh and Caroline Weir. Those three together, I don't think many people will be able to get the ball off them. The three of them could probably keep the ball off the rest of our squad in training!
Bunny Shaw is also an exciting new addition to the team. I played against her a few times while I was at Lyon, and I know what a goalscoring threat she is. I think she's probably going to be our key signing this year.
Bunny’s got power, pace and can hold the ball up. She was top goalscorer in the French league, without even playing for two of the top teams, so she will definitely score goals for City.
I remember playing against her in France, and she just pummelled every single defender she came up against. I played on a team with some of the best defenders in the world, and she still did that to them. Her off-ball work is also first-class, so even if she’s not scoring, she’ll still add something to the team.
I'm glad that we signed her at City, because if I was a defender on another team, I think I’d be a bit worried about coming up against Bunny
I don’t see why she can’t give star strikers such as Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema a run for the Golden Boot.
New broadcast deal with Sky Sports and the BBC
There’s no reason not to watch women’s football these days. Thanks to the new broadcast deal with Sky Sports and the BBC, the WSL is so much more accessible. The Champions League too – DAZN will be broadcasting matches for free.
It’s the perfect season for these broadcast deals, especially because there were no fans allowed in stadiums last year, and then Euro 2022 was pushed back. But now, the fans are back in the stadiums, and we’ve got a home Euros coming up within the next 12 months. This season should be the perfect advert for women’s football.
The women’s matches on Sky Sports should attract a new audience. Football fans have been glued to Sky Sports since the men’s season kicked off, and now they’ll be seeing adverts for the women’s game. Hopefully they will come along to matches, but if not, there’s no excuse not to watch the game on the telly!
Check out Lucy Bronze’s new website at https://lucybronze.co.uk/News Now - Sport News