Nick Cushing’s side will start the new FA WSL campaign away at the home of the current league and FA Cup holders, who they played four times last season – coming out with a win, two draws and a loss.
They will come up against a Chelsea side who lost their captain among a few other key players, but boss Emma Hayes has more than compensated by bringing in players such as New Zealand international Ali Riley and Birmingham’s Jess Carter.
The transfer window has also been successful for City, who acquired the services of Bristol City’s Lauren Hemp, currently on international duty with England at the U20 World Cup in France, Liverpool duo Caroline Weir and Gemma Bonner, Fran Stenson, a young keeper from Birmingham City and also Belgium’s Tessa Wullaert; a UWCL finalist with VfL Wolfsburg.
The club suffered their own losses with the departures of Jane Ross and Tessel Middag to new WSL club West Ham United, Julia Spetsmark to Djurgårdens IF in her native Sweden, Ella Toone to her childhood club Manchester United and most recently Izzy Christiansen to French treble winners, Olympique Lyonnais.
Losing so many players shouldn’t be a problem for Cushing who prefers a smaller squad for many reasons, and his signings have impressed in the International Champions Cup in Miami.
One pressure point however, is Danish striker Nadia Nadim handing in a transfer request, telling BBC Sport “It is a fantastic club in many ways, but not for me. I’ve never felt at home either in Manchester or Man City. I have made it very clear to the management that I want out, and this is something I’ve felt for a long time”.
Nadim made 20 appearances for the Blues last season, scoring six times and was preferred to Jane Ross on more than one occasion. The striker, who signed from the Portland Thorns in September last year, never seemed to gel with the team as much as first thought and lacked the instinct to go forward and apply pressure on the opposition’s keeper; something Ross did well and reaped the benefits from.
The club shouldn’t worry if they lose Nadim, with fellow striker Nikita Parris very much on form for both City and England last season, as well as the much awaited return of injured German international Pauline Bremer.
Before Cushing’s side face their London rivals, Man City play Birmingham City in their first group round fixture of the Continental Cup – the final of which the club lost to Arsenal. The club will also face Leicester City, Bristol City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa, hoping to make the quarter finals in January.
FC Barcelona Femení come to town on August 12 and the two will meet for a pre-season friendly at Manchester’s Academy Stadium. This will be the first time the clubs have met and Barcelona, who faced Olympique Lyonnais in the quarter finals of the UWCL last season, boast some talent.
Toni Duggan is no stranger to City and netted 11 goals in 26 matches in her first season for the club, Lieke Martens was on the side that won last year’s European Championships in her home country and was also named the Player of the Tournament. Patricia Guijarro played for Spain in the U19 European Championships in Northern Ireland, scoring in the final to beat France 3-2; earning a call up to the senior team not long afterwards and debuting late last year.
Man City will also host two new clubs in the WSL this season, former England manager Hope Powell’s Brighton and Hove Albion Women and former Liverpool FC Women head coach Matt Beard’s West Ham United Women.
The club will finish their league campaign away to Arsenal – who they beat 5-2 at the beginning of last season.
FA WSL Fixtures 2018/19
9/9/2018 – Chelsea A
20/9/2018 – Everton A
23/9/2018 – Bristol City H
30/9/2018 – Birmingham City A
14/10/2018 – West Ham United H
21/10/2018 – Brighton & Hove Albion A
28/10/2018 – Reading H
4/11/2018 – Liverpool A
25/11/2018 – Yeovil Town A
2/12/2018 – Arsenal H
9/12/2018 – Birmingham City H
6/1/2019 – Bristol City A
13/1/2019 – West Ham United A
27/1/2019 – Brighton & Hove Albion H
10/2/2019 – Chelsea H
21/2/2019 – Everton H
13/3/2019 – Reading A
31/3/2019 – Liverpool H
28/4/2019 – Yeovil Town H
12/5/2019 – Arsenal A
Continental Cup Fixtures 2018/19
19/8/2018 – Birmingham City A
26/8/2018 – Leicester City H
16/9/2018 – Bristol City A
5/12/2018 – Sheffield United H
12 or 13/12/2018 – Aston Villa A