The FA Women’s Super League (WSL) opening weekend 2022–23 kicked off this past weekend, and it was the perfect start to the year. Excitement, drama, surprise, talent, and skill were all on display in droves.
Now, we dive in and take a look at how the first weekend of this year’s WSL campaign unfolded.
Arsenal vs. Brighton 4–0
The first match of WSL opening weekend started last Friday, and Arsenal showed that they are certainly one of the favorites to win the title this year. A thoroughly dominating performance against a Brighton side that is rebuilding saw the Gunners win easily, 4–0. Arsenal’s front line was deadly. Stina Blackstenius opened her season account, and Euros Golden Boot winner Beth Mead had a brace in the second half. Captain Kim Little started the scoring for the Gunners, and the Arsenal defense held Brighton to a single shot on goal.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea 2–1
The defending champs were short-handed, as superstar striker Pernille Harder sat out with a nagging injury. Chelsea had the better of the play, while Liverpool played strong, solid football. After Chelsea’s Fran Kirby put home a penalty in the third minute, Liverpool’s Katie Stengel answered with two of her own. Liverpool showed that they greatly earned their promotion last season, and are in a great position after Week 1. Chelsea played good possession football, and still remain a favorite to win their fourth consecutive title.
Liverpool looked every bit like a team that will do well in the WSL, and their promotion year will be exciting. Bad news for the Reds though, as stellar forward Leanne Kiernan suffered a serious ankle injury. The Irish star may be out for several months and could require surgery.
West Ham vs. Everton 1–0
A battle between two very evenly matched sides, this tie was far more exciting than the final score line would evidence. Both sides had good chances to score, and it was a set piece that provided the margin of victory. Lisa Evans scored the game’s only goal, securing the three points for West Ham. A high cross could not be cleared by the Everton defense, and the Scottish striker’s header found the far corner. Everton had the better of the play and possession throughout, but could not put one past Mackenzie Arnold.
Aston Villa vs. Man City 4–3
This one was likely the most exciting match of WSL opening weekend. If you like goals, momentum shifts, and worldies, this was the match for you.
The Villans took an early lead through Alisha Lehman’s strike in the 22nd minute. Rachel Daly then marked her triumphant return to England’s shores with a wonder strike from just inside the box to double Villa’s lead. City was not to be outdone, as Laura Coombs and Bunny Shaw scored on either side of the halftime whistle. Coombs added a second to give The Citizens the lead, a lead that lasted but three minutes. Kenza Dali answered for Villa, setting the stage for the winner. Daly nabbed her brace with a rebound tap-in that gave the home side the three points.
Man United vs. Reading 4–0
A strong performance from United saw an amazing debut for a new Red. Coming over from Brighton in the summer window, Maya Le Tissier equaled her goal output for her Gulls career in her very first match for United. The defender opened the scoring in just the fourth minute, then added her second in the 25th minute. Canadian international Adriana Leon also made her United debut, subbing on in the 64th minute. The striker has been scoring almost at will for the Canadian national team. The Reds dominated this match, putting eight shots on goal while allowing just one. Captain Katie Zelem and striker Alessia Russo also found the back of the net for United in the win.
Tottenham vs. Leicester 2–1
This was another tie featuring two evenly-matched sides. Tottenham had an advantage in possession, but neither side dominated. Spurs played long ball to establish their lead. Ashleigh Neville unleashed a blast from well outside the box, and Spurs had the lead in the 35th minute. Drew Spence scored a second long-distance stunner for the visitors just before halftime. Leicester got one back early in the second half. An excellent service on a corner from Jemma Purfield came off of Spence and ended up behind Becky Spencer. Spurs held off a second-half surge from Leicester to grab a well-earned three points in their opener.
WSL opening weekend should give fans a lot of anticipation for the season. All six matches were exciting and enjoyable. The weekend featured everything football fans want. Lots of great goals, some well-designed set pieces, debuts, great saves, and excellent attendance and viewership numbers. Things are looking bright for WSL 2022–23!
This next week’s ties are:
Arsenal vs. Tottenham, 13:30 at Emirates Stadium
Brighton vs. Reading, 09:00 at Falmer Stadium
West Ham vs. Man United, 10:00 at Chigwell Construction Stadium
Leicester vs. Aston Villa, 10:00 at King Power Stadium
Chelsea vs. Man City, 11:00 at Kingsmeadow
Liverpool vs. Everton, 18:45 at Anfield
Chelsea vs. West Ham, 19:05 at Kingsmeadow
Everton vs. Leicester, 18:30 at Walton Hall Park