WSL 2023/24 awards: Best player, best signing, game of the season and more

WSL 2023/24 awards: Best player, best signing, game of the season and more
Durch: 90min.com Erstellt am: Mai 21, 2024 anzeigen: 11

Chelsea and Manchester City produced one of the closest WSL title races in recent history as they were separated by goal difference on the final day.

Emma Hayes’ side made it an impressive five titles on the bounce following their 6-0 hammering of Manchester United, while City could only manage a much narrower 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

With Chelsea crowned champions, City and Arsenal secured the remaining European places. Bristol City, on the other hand, lasted just one campaign back in the top flight as their relegation was confirmed back in April.

The 2023/24 campaign produced breakout stars, world class goals and nail-biting moments. It was one of the most exciting seasons yet.

Here are 90min’s end of season awards.

This season's Golden Boot winner Khadija Shaw / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

It has to be Khadija Shaw, the deserved Golden Boot winner. The impact of her absence in the last few weeks of the season underline her importance to City.

Her contributions are irreplaceable and her injury at such a crucial time was probably what caused Gareth Taylor’s side to fall marginally short in the end. Shaw has been consistently good since her arrival in the WSL and this season she struck another level of outstanding.

She’s rightfully getting all the plaudits she deserves. City will just hope she can hit the same heights next term as they look to put together a title charge once again and compete in Europe.

Khiara Keating

Manchester City goalkeeper Khiara Keating / Visionhaus/GettyImages

It’s still so hard to believe Khiara Keating is only 19 years of age. 19!

She is this season’s WSL Golden Glove winner with nine clean sheets in 22 games. City conceded just 15 goals in the league all term.

Prior to this season, Keating had made just a handful of senior appearances and spent the second-half of the last campaign on loan with then-Championship side Coventry United. To come back and claim the number one spot is nothing short of phenomenal.

Grace Clinton

Grace Clinton at Tottenham, on loan from Manchester United / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Grace Clinton under Robert Vilahamn at Tottenham has been a match made in heaven and the 21-year-old had an outstanding season. As far as loan moves go, it couldn’t have gone much better.

Her form also caught the attention of the England manager, Sarina Wiegman, with a senior debut for the Lionesses to follow. Tottenham’s only gripe would be the fact she now has to return to Manchester United and they’ve lost such a key player.

A big decision will need to be made on her future this summer but she deserves to be playing week in, week out.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes celebrates with the WSL trophy / Visionhaus/GettyImages

There’s more than one manager deserving of this accolade this season but it’s hard to overlook Emma Hayes. The mentality shown to clinch the title after it appeared to slip through Chelsea's fingers only a couple of weeks ago is remarkable.

Chelsea’s consistency over the last few years is simply unmatched and it’s hard to see their level of dominance being replicated. This season’s race for the title was the toughest yet, and still they emerged with winners’ medals around their necks at the end of it.

English football is losing one of its greats in Hayes. While Chelsea didn’t quite sweep up the lot in terms of silverware, they certainly gave their manager the send-off she so richly deserved.

Jenna Clark

Liverpool Women during their WSL game against Manchester United / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

Few would’ve had a Liverpool top-four finish on their bingo cards at the start of the season. What a campaign the Reds had and Matt Beard was certainly one of the stronger shouts for manager of the season, if not for Hayes.

Liverpool were only promoted back into the WSL in 2022 and they secured a very modest seventh-placed finish last term. To rise all the way up to fourth in the space of 12 months, and also topple Manchester United in the process, is a strong marker as to just how far they’ve come.

Strong recruitment, with Marie Hobinger, Grace Fisk and Sophie Roman Haug among the signings last summer, has been at the centre of Liverpool’s rise. The switch to the AXA Melwood training centre has also played a pivotal role in pushing the standards at the club.

marc skinner

Marc Skinner instructs his team during Manchester United's 6-0 defeat to Chelsea on the last day of the season / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

It may be harsh to label this season’s FA Cup winners as a disappointment, but Manchester United were tipped for so much more at the start of the campaign. Marc Skinner’s side were the ones to push Chelsea all the way in the title race last term, while they also reached the FA Cup final for the first time.

This season, they crashed out of Europe before their journey had even really started and they failed to match last year’s heroics in the title race. To go from second to fifth is quite the drop-off.

It’s difficult to pinpoint why. Their recruitment in the summer was promising and included World Cup stars, yet that never quite transpired into consistent performances on the pitch.

Another category with a number of strong contenders. You’ll have to rewind all the way back to October for the winner, though.

Arsenal were 2-1 down against United in stoppage time at Leigh Sports Village and heading towards a bitter defeat. Step up, Cloe Lacasse.

The Arsenal star picked the ball up outside the box, turned to beat two United defenders and then unleashed an outrageous strike into the top corner. As good as Mary Earps is, even she couldn’t get anywhere near it.

Gemma Bonner

Gemma Bonner of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Chelsea / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

An obvious choice is that game between Liverpool and Chelsea that had seemingly handed the title to Manchester City. Those 101 minutes at Prenton Park had absolutely everything.

It was end to end and every time Liverpool got their noses back in front, Chelsea had an answer. That was until Gemma Bonner scored the Reds’ fourth of the night in stoppage time to secure the win.

A great game for the neutral. Maybe not so much for the supporters of either team, for whom it would have been a rollercoaster of emotions.

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