It has been a thrilling weekend of Women’s Super League action, with the 2021/22 campaign producing 17 goals in the opening six game offering.
The pick of the matchups saw Arsenal tackle reigning champions Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, while there was also a mouthwatering clash between big-spending Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park.
Here’s how everything unfolded, on a weekend where the Premier League stepped to one side to usher in a brand new WSL era…
The WSL season got underway on Friday night at Leigh Sports Village as Manchester United comfortably overcame Reading 2-0.
The hosts were in control for much of the game although the Royals were never fully out of the running, evidenced by Brooke Chaplen’s rocketing shot that hit the underside of the bar and appeared to cross the line.
The goal was not given though, and instead United doubled the advantage Kirsty Hanson had handed them just before half time. Ona Batlle was the player to wrap things up, combining with the superb Ella Toone before firing into the top corner.
Two goals within a minute helped Aston Villa fight back to down newly-promoted Leicester City 2-1 at the Bescot Stadium.
The visitors had taken the lead through Natasha Flint, but Villa were not to be denied as they fought back in the second half to snatch all three points. Sarah Mayling grabbed the Villans’ equaliser before Remi Allen beat Kirstie Levell in the Foxes’ goal.
Manchester City showed off their title credentials with a crushing 4-0 win over Everton, who have invested heavily in their squad this summer.
Much was expected of the home side but they were slow out of the blocks against a City side determined to wrestle the WSL crown away from Chelsea.
Summer signing Vicky Losada opened the floodgates, before Janine Beckie and Khadija Shaw netted within two minutes of each other to make it 3-0 before the break. City were made to wait for their fourth, but it eventually arrived in superb style – Steph Houghton bending a superb free-kick into the top corner.
Tottenham Hotspur got their WSL campaign up and running with a narrow 1-0 win over Birmingham City.
The home side were playing at the 60,000-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but didn’t let any nerves affect them in what was a composed performance. The only goal of the game came five minutes before half-time when Kit Graham slotted past Emily Ramsey.
Spurs had 68% possession and 19 efforts on goal, and were well worth their three points.
The game of the weekend was an electrifying clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, which ended in a 3-2 win for the Gunners.
Vivianne Miedema punished some woeful early Chelsea defending, firing past Ann-Katrin Berger to give the home side a deserved lead. The Blues gradually got into the game and were rewarded for a good spell of pressure when Erin Cuthbert side footed home.
Beth Mead then took centre stage, sprinting through the Chelsea defence to slam a superb left foot shot past Berger before doubling her haul with a composed finish from close range. Pernille Harder’s header narrowed the deficit, but Emma Hayes’ side were unable to get back on level terms.
Hope Powell’s Brighton rounded off the opening weekend with a 2-0 win over West Ham, who had Hawa Cissoko sent off just after the half-hour mark.
Inessa Kaagman slotted home the resulting penalty for the Seagulls and that advantage was doubled before the break by Lee Geum-min. The Hammers were unable to get back into the game, owing to their numerical disadvantage and will now look to get their campaign back on track in next Saturday’s early kick off against Aston Villa.