Barclay’s FA Women’s Super League (WSL) is underway for the 2021/2022 season. The WSL’s groundbreaking broadcast deal with SkySports means that you can now catch some games live on TV. The English league has grown a lot over the years and it has been evident not only in the broadcast deal but also the stars they have been able to attract with the likes of Pernille Harder, Tobin Heath, Vicky Losada, Sam Kerr and even Hanna Bennison one of the most sought after teenage footballers.
Manchester United 2 – 0 Reading
Just like last season, United has started their WSL campaign on the front foot. Unlike last season, Reading had a Fara Williams shaped hole in their midfield. They had trouble breaking out of their own half, but when they did they managed to ask some questions of United’s defence. Fara Williams and Jess Fishlock were not the only absence felt by the Reading team, in the absence of goal-line technology there was no way for the officials to confirm in real-time that the shot from Brooke Chaplen was a goal. Might not have made much difference because Ella Toone kept making passes to her teammates up front that completely isolated the likes of Kirsty Hanson and Ona Battle with Reading’s goalkeeper getting a her two assists in the game, a goal for Kirsty Hanson with a Player of the match award and a first United goal for Ona Battle.
Aston Villa 2 – 1 Leicester
For the majority of the 1st half, Leicester were running the show at Bescot Stadium but Hampton the Villa Goalkeeper did everything she could to keep her side in the game but a goal from Natasha Flint meant the hosts were playing catch up by halftime. In the second half Villa grew into the game and was able to find two quick successive goals less than two minutes apart from Sarah Mayling, Remi Allen
Everton 0 – 4 Manchester City
Everyone but Everton felt like they could get something from a City side that had their starters from last season injured or benched. Janine Beckie a Tokyo Olympics gold medal who had become acquainted with the bench last season started the game and made a claim to a starting position. Everton’s undoing was City’s run behind their defence that created a lot of defensive errors which City captalized on. Debut goals for Vicky Losada, Khadija Shaw with a goal a piece for Janine and City’s skipper Steph Houghton ensured they topped the table at the end of week 1.
Tottenham 1-0 Birmingham
New season old problem, Tottenham were able to assert their dominance throughout the game but lacked quality touches in the final third. Tottenham got a goal through Kit Graham, and in a game they could have easily seen off in the 1st half they still had to work hard till the final whistle to protect their one goal advantage. For Birmingham their issues off the pitch last season is going to play a part in their performance on the pitch, with major players and coaching staff leaving last season it is no surprise they had a slow start.
Arsenal 3 – 2 Chelsea
Déjà vu for Chelsea fans, it felt like the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) finals all over. Mead, Miedema and Iwabuchi kept outrunning the defense and catching makeshift defenders out of position. World class Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema has not had much luck playing the champions of England recently, but she exhibited Oranje supremacy getting a goal and an assist. Chelsea were able to get one back through Erin Cuthbert who was assisted by Melanie Leupolz. Beth Mead with a brace to put the game out of Chelsea’s reach. Harder’s header helped the blues end the match with a more respectable scoreline which was not indicative of how dominant Arsenal were thanks to their goalkeeper AnnKatrin Berger.
Brighton 2 – 0 West Ham
It was a series of unfortunate event for the Hammers as Hawa Cissoko was shown a red card for a handball foul in the penalty area. Inessa Kaagman was spot on with her spot-kick. For West Ham, every initial game plan went out the window after being down to 10 players and the improvisation could not have been any more obvious. Any hope to make something out of the situation they found themselves in was destroyed by Lee Geum-min few minutes before the halftime whistle. West Ham were able to absorb Brighton’s attack in the 2nd half and not concede any more goals but this also meant they could barely mount any threatening offense against their opponents.
Fair to say this game week 1 is not a perfect indication of how the season would end. Although it does highlight what each club did well in the transfer window, what business they may need to do in January and utilize their squad to become title contenders, fight for a championship spot and avoid relegation. At the moment City and Arsenal are the favourites to win the league, City for dispensing with Everton after everyone expected more fight from them for the transfer window they had. Arsenal for running circles around Chelsea’s defense. Everyone’s fate for this season may be up in the air but one thing is certain, this will be the best season yet.
Upcoming fixtures (Where to watch)
Saturday, 11 September West Ham v Aston Villa 11:30 Sky Sports UK/The FA Player
Sunday, 12 September Chelsea v Everton 12:30 (BBC UK/The FA Player)
Sunday, 12 September Leicester v Man. Utd 14:00 (The FA Player)
Sunday, 12 September Birmingham v Brighton 14:00 (The FA Player)
Sunday, 12 September Reading v Arsenal 14:00 (The FA Player)
Sunday, 12 September Man. City v Tottenham 18:45 (The FA Player)
**Times in GMT+1/BST
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