Women's Super League: Who will win the Golden Boot?

Women's Super League: Who will win the Golden Boot?

Vivianne Miedema and Sam Kerr have claimed the Women's Super League's Golden Boot twice each in the last four seasons but there looks set to be a new name on the trophy this time around.

Heading into the final weeks of the season, just two goals currently separate Manchester City's Khadija Shaw and Aston Villa's Rachel Daly at the top of the scoring charts.

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So who is likely to come out on top?


Shaw is 'much more than goals'
'Bunny' Shaw has already come on leaps and bounds from her debut campaign in the WSL when she scored nine goals as City finished third.

The Jamaica international was competing for a starting spot with former England ace Ellen White, who has since retired, but this season she is leading the line with distinction and thriving as City's first choice striker.

She is top of the goalscoring charts with 17 goals and has provided five assists for her team-mates, highlighting her all-round game and contribution to a City side who are in contention for the title. Her goal tally has already surpassed Lauren Hemp, who was City's top scorer with 10 goals last term.

"The fact that Ellen White retired and she [Khadija] is their number one striker, she's flourished in that position, in that role," said former England midfielder Fara Williams.

"Her link-up play is something that has really improved, the tidiness of it. She finds herself in the box always between centre-halves and is really difficult to pick up."

Shaw's team-mates are also benefitting from her settling into the side. The forward has formed a formidable trio up front with Lionesses Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp.

"I think her goal record speaks for itself, but Bunny is so much more than goals," said City team-mate Alex Greenwood.

"What she brings to the team, in terms of link-up play, the way she holds the ball up for us, her work off the ball and honestly the way she is as a character off the pitch, she's just a top person."

Daly flourishing as a number nine

Daly's first season at Aston Villa could hardly have gone any better.

While the 31-year-old played at left-back during England's run to the European title, she has been deployed further forward at club level and, since joining Villa in the summer, she has been banging in the goals as a striker in the WSL, scoring 15 and assisting three in the league.

Daly has flourished as part of an attacking group at Villa including Jordan Nobbs, Kenza Dali and Alisha Lehmann, who have spearheaded them to fifth in the table.

Villa were seriously lacking a goal threat last season with Remi Allen finishing as their highest scorer in the WSL on three goals. Daly's goals have made a huge difference, giving Villa a much-needed focal point in attack.

"She's having a great season. I do think it has helped with [Villa manager] Carla Ward coming out and saying 'you're going to be my number nine'," said former England defender Gilly Flaherty on the Women's Football Show.

Daly got off to a flying start to the season, scoring twice when Villa claimed a surprise 4-3 victory over Man City on the opening day.

Her goals have also been crucial, scoring the first league goal on three occasions this season, with Villa going on to win all three of those matches.

Ward is hopeful that Daly can win the Golden Boot this season and says there have been games she has chosen not to substitute her to give her every opportunity to overhaul Shaw.

"She's been first class for us all year, she really has. She's a complete team player but, naturally we want her to [win the Golden Boot].

"We might have considered taking her off [against Leicester] but the reason I didn't is because I want her to continue to strive for that Golden Boot and give her the opportunity to get there."

Who has the easier run in?
Shaw and Daly have both consistently found the net throughout the league season, while they also both sit top of the Women's FA Cup scoring charts, with seven and six goals respectively.

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Going into their final four matches of the campaign, they will face similar challenges with both set to come up against three of the same teams in Reading, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Reading will give them the opportunity to add to their tally against the second-leakiest defence in the division, while in contrast United have the meanest defence, conceding just nine goals in 18 matches.

If it comes down to the final day, Villa face a tough visit to title challengers Arsenal, while Man City host sixth-placed Everton.

BBC

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