And after final day heartbreak in the previous campaign, City will have our sights set on finishing top of the tree for only the second time in our history.
Despite registering just one defeat all season, and embarking on an 18-match unbeaten run to the end of the campaign from that point, Gareth Taylor’s side finished an agonising two points behind Chelsea.
Nonetheless, it was a campaign of huge success for City, with memorable Manchester derby wins, dramatic late goals and emphatic, free-scoring victories aplenty.
Our clashes with Emma Hayes’ side will unquestionably pique the interest of the rest of the WSL but there are plenty of other crucial and appetising encounters for City to sink our teeth into.
Match dates and kick-off times are still to be confirmed but City’s opponents for each weekend have been released.
You can view our full fixture list here, while below is a roundup of some of the key fixtures to write down in your diary…
Everton v City: 3-5 September
City begin our FA WSL campaign on Merseyside, locking horns with Everton at Walton Hall Park.
Willie Kirk’s side are sure to offer a stern test of our credentials, especially following the capture of former City star Toni Duggan from Atletico Madrid.
Nonetheless, we boast an impressive opening day record in the WSL, with our only defeat coming in our first ever fixture against Liverpool back in 2014.
Since then, City have won four and drawn three of our curtain raisers, including a 2-0 victory away to Aston Villa last season.
City v Tottenham: 10-12 September
Our first home WSL clash of the season sees us welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Academy Stadium on the weekend of 10 September.
It’ll be a highly anticipated encounter, with the planned return of supporters for the new season potentially bringing an end to what will be a 19-month hiatus since a 3-3 draw with Chelsea in February 2020.
City emerged victorious from our two clashes with Spurs in the 2020-21 campaign, including an impressive 4-1 triumph at the Academy Stadium in October 2020.
A similar result and performance in our first home fixture of the season would certainly go down a treat.
Arsenal v City: 24-26 September
A new-look, resurgent Arsenal will provide City with a serious challenge at Meadow Park at the end of September.
Gunners’ boss Joe Montemurro, who led the Club to their first WSL title in seven years back in 2019, stepped down at the end of last season, replaced by former Rosengard boss Jonas Eidevall.
Despite losing Dutch duo Jill Roord and Danielle van de Donk, the Swede has been busy making his mark on an already impressive squad, including the recruitment of former City forward Nikita Parris.
City will need to be at our best to beat Arsenal but, if we emerge victorious, it will provide a serious statement of intent with regards to our title prospects.
Manchester United v City: 8-10 October
The first Manchester derby of the season sees Gareth Taylor’s side travel to the Leigh Sports Village at the beginning of October.
A new-look United will be keen to get off to a strong start following the departure of manager Casey Stoney as well as key players Tobin Heath and Kristen Press over the summer, but they still boast a squad capable of fighting for silverware.
City will unquestionably have our sights set on going one better this time around.
City v Chelsea: 12-14 November
Last season’s runners up welcome the reigning champions to the Academy Stadium for a huge encounter in mid-November.
Emma Hayes’ side were the only team to get the better of City in last season’s WSL campaign, with the two-horse title race going down to the final day.
And the two sides played out an absolute thriller in the antepenultimate match of the season, with Chelsea thankful for the heroics of goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger in preserving a point in a 2-2 draw at the Academy Stadium.
An enthralling clash surely beckons once again when City and Chelsea meet on matchday seven of the new season.
Chelsea v City: 4-6 February
The reverse fixture between two of the WSL’s heavyweights takes place at the beginning of February.
With just eight league matches remaining following the conclusion of our away trip against Emma Hayes' side, the title race will unquestionably be taking shape by this point in the season.
Gareth Taylor’s side’s only defeat of the 2020-21 campaign came away at Chelsea back in October 2020, so this season’s encounter is once again likely to push us to our limits.
Indeed, we have failed to get the better of the London outfit on their own patch since our WSL-winning campaign back in 2016 but, as the famous adage reads, records are there to be broken.
City v Manchester United: 11-13 February
Just seven days after our away clash with Chelsea we welcome Manchester United to the Academy Stadium.
An imperious 3-0 triumph in February’s derby was capped off by Caroline Weir’s goal of the season-winning chip, meaning City currently hold the bragging rights over our local rivals.
Indeed, in the season prior, Weir was at her best once again, firing home a 25-yard stunner in the first ever Women’s Manchester derby as City kicked off the 2019-20 campaign with a 1-0 win in front of 31,000 supporters at the Etihad Stadium.
It’s an encounter that holds fond memories for Gareth Taylor’s side and one in which they’ll be desperate to continue their recent success.
City v Brighton: 29 April-1 May
Our final home clash of 2021-22 sees City take on Brighton in what is also our penultimate WSL fixture of the season.
With the planned return of supporters to the Academy Stadium for the new campaign, this match will potentially provide spectators with the final chance to see Gareth Taylor’s side in league action for a few months at least.
It also comes at a crucial period in the season where, unless one side has already run away with the crown, prospects of league titles can be won and lost in a split second.
A resurgent Brighton won’t be there to simply make up the numbers either, having won six of their last nine matches of the 2020-21 campaign.
City will need to be at our best to pick up the three points and, hopefully, give our supporters a send off to remember.
Reading v City: 7-8 May
Our WSL campaign comes to a close away at Reading on the weekend of 7 May.
The Royals earned a point in last season’s encounter, with Sam Mewis’ equaliser before the hour cancelling out Amalie Eikeland’s early strike at the Madejski Stadium.
Gareth Taylor routinely stresses that there are no easy games in the WSL, and our finale against Reading is a case in point of that.
Could City emerge victorious on the final day to take home the league crown? Either way, it promises to be a thrilling end to the campaign.