Tottenham surprised plenty of people in the WSL last season when they were still in the Champions League race until falling away in the final few weeks of the campaign.
That marked considerable improvement for Spurs and being able to compete with the four bigger clubs above will increasingly become the expectation in 2022/23 and beyond.
Here’s 90min’s 2022/23 WSL preview for Tottenham.
Spurs’ improvement last season was built on the kind of defensive stability that hadn’t previously been seen from them. A huge part of that was down to the leadership at the back from club captain Shelina Zadorsky – a seasoned Canadian international and Olympic gold medalist from Tokyo.
The centre back first arrived in 2020 but really came into her own during the 2021/22 campaign, forming a mean defensive partnership with the impressive Molly Bartrip.
Over the same number of games, Spurs conceded only one more than goal than both Manchester City and Manchester United, but were much less prolific at the other end. That highlights just how important their defensive structure is and Zadorsky is crucial to it.
One to watch
Spurs fans saw winger Jessica Naz impressively breakout at WSL level last term and have a handful of young talents in the squad this season. One of the most intriguing is new signing Nikola Karczewska, who is only 22 but has taken over the number nine shirt and had a respectable goal record in France last season with Fleury 91.
She also scored six goals in one game for Poland in a World Cup qualifier against Armenia earlier this year and comes with significant promise.
It is no coincidence that Spurs’ best ever season – with new club records for highest league finish, top flight points tally and number of top flight wins – came in Rehanne Skinner‘s first full campaign.
Previously an assistant coach at Arsenal and heavily involved in the Wales and England national team setups at various levels over the years, she has incredible experience as a coach but is now showing her ability to translate that wealth of knowledge into effective club management.
Spurs fans won’t feel aggrieved about any players leaving them for bigger and better things. Rachel Williams was last season’s top scorer but will turn 35 this season and several new forwards have been brought in to move things on. Amy Turner and Angharad James both have considerable WSL experience and have returned to England from the United States, while Ramona Petzelberger showed enough quality at Aston Villa to suggest she ought to be at a club higher up the table.
Tottenham have had a women’s team since the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2017 that they secured promotion to WSL 2 – now the Women’s Championship. They then claimed the second of two available promotion places to the top flight in 2019 and initially held steady in the WSL. Last season, they really kicked on to finish fifth.
With a pretty strong summer behind them, the confidence that last season will have given them and another year under Skinner, there is no reason why Spurs shouldn’t be able to consolidate in 2022/23 and prove that fifth place last term wasn’t a fluke.
A genuine challenge for a top three Champions League place is still probably a step too far at this stage of the project, although they could get a little closer to the top four than last season’s 10-point gap if Manchester City struggle.