Following the shortened 2019/20 campaign, the Women’s Super League is finally back with a stacked first weekend of fixtures.
The champions take a trip to the north west and newcomers Aston Villa face a tough task as we get the new season underway.
Man City vs Aston Villa — 14:30 (BT Sport 2)
Aston Villa will begin their maiden WSL season with an incredibly tough challenge as they visit last season’s runners up Manchester City.
City have added some superstars to their team since they last played a league game. Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis and Chloe Kelly are amongst the names that they have brought in this summer.Embed from Getty Images
Despite losing out on the Community Shield to Chelsea, City will still be a poignant threat in the league this season. New manager Gareth Taylor will be looking to get his team playing an attractive brand of football as soon as possible.
Villa routed the Championship last season, winning 13 of their 14 games and drawing the other.Embed from Getty Images
Gemma Davies’ side beat then-WSL side Liverpool in the Conti Cup last season and gave a great account of themselves in a 3-1 defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Villa should be well equipped to stay in the WSL at the end of the season but it doesn’t get much harder of a start for them.
Arsenal vs Reading — 12:30 (BBC Red Button)
Arsenal have only conceded one goal against Reading in the WSL. The Gunners have a great track record against the Royals, winning their last four against them.
London also seems like a bad omen for Reading, with Kelly Chambers’ side only winning once in 10 trips to the capital.Embed from Getty Images
Reading will be hoping that the addition of world star Jess Fishlock will help them to be more competitive with the bigger teams this season.
Arsenal, who finished third last campaign, will be wanting to be back in the title picture this season. Joe Montemurro, with new additions such as Steph Catley as reinforcement, will want to get off to the best start possible.
Brighton vs Birmingham — 14:00 (FA Player)
Throughout the summer, Birmingham City fans were desperate for their club to make some moves.
Since then, they’ve brought Carla Ward as their manager and added Christie Murray and Georgia Brougham to their ranks.
The Blues are fearing a relegation scrap having lost three of their top players this summer. Lucy Staniforth, Rachel Williams and long-serving centre-half Kerys Harrop have all left the club.Embed from Getty Images
Brighton have also faced an exodus of sorts this summer, with Ini Umotong, Fern Whelan, Lea Le Garrec and Kate Natkiel all leaving the Seagulls.
However, they have bolstered their roster with former Everton player Inessa Kaagman and AC Milan midfielder Nora Heroum.
Birmingham finished last season on a five-game goalless losing streak, they will hope to get this seasons started with better results than those.
Bristol City vs Everton — 14:00 (FA Player)
Even if Everton lost Chloe Kelly this summer, the Toffees seem to be in a better position at the start of this season.
Izzy Christiansen and Hayley Raso will be able to make their first appearances for the club despite signing in January. Plus, Poppy Pattinson, Valerie Gauvin and Ingrid Moe Wold will be looking to break into the first team.Embed from Getty Images
Similar to Everton, Bristol City were without one of their top January signings at the end of last season. Chloe Logarzo made just a single league appearance last season for the Vixens.
Bristol City avoided the drop down to the Championship last season but Tanya Oxtoby’s side could be in for another relegation battle this season.
Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham — 14:00 (FA Player)
Rachel Daly shocked the world on Thursday by being announced as a West Ham player. The Houston Dash star will play on loan for the Hammers this season.
Both Spurs and West Ham are still relatively new to the professional women’s game but both sides are going the right way about their dealings.
Spurs won both meetings against West Ham last season and the Hammers are still to win a London derby in the WSL.
Only Vivianne Miedema and Kim Little (both 4) scored more winning goals that Spurs’ Rianna Dean (3) last season.Embed from Getty Images
Spurs and West Ham both finished last season mid-table and will continue to build towards being able to challenge for the third Champions League spot in the next few seasons.
Manchester United vs Chelsea — 14:30 (BT Sport 1)
Last, but no means least, on match-week one is champions Chelsea beginning their quest to retain the WSL title.
What is most scary about Emma Hayes’ side is that they look even better coming into this season.
Melanie Leupolz and Pernille Harder have both been added to their squad, making their attacking threat terrifying to all defences.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United haven’t stood still either. After an impressive debut WSL season finishing fourth, Casey Stoney’s team will be looking to take the next step and challenge for the Champions League spots this season.
Lucy Staniforth, Ona Batlle and Ivana Fuso will all prove to be important additions to their squad.
Chelsea are, however, undefeated in curtain raisers since the WSL began in 2011 and are on a record 28-game undefeated streak in the league. It will be a tough ask for United to beat the 2020 Community Shield winners.