The opening day of the 2022/2023 Women’s Super League season will go down as an all-time classic after title hopefuls Manchester City and Chelsea both suffered shock defeats.
The top level of domestic women’s football returned for the first time since England’s Lionesses won Euro 2022 in the summer. Many of the stars of that win are back in action with their clubs, with renewed interest in the women’s top-flight.
City and Chelsea are two of the sides expected to be battling at the summit of the table come the end of the campaign, though their seasons did not get off to a good start. Here, Mirror Football looks at the biggest talking points from the weekend’s action.
City stunned by Villa
Aston Villa stunned title hopefuls Manchester City as the Barclay’s Women’s Super League kicked off with a bang.
Villa claimed their first-ever win over City with a 4-3 victory over the visitors, who finished third last term, though have lost stars such as Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze over the summer.
The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead at the break, as Alisha Lehmann and Rachel Daly struck before City roared back after the restart with three goals in 10 minutes including two for Laura Coombs. But Villa’s spirit wasn’t dampened as Kenza Dali equalised before Daly capped her debut with the winner 15 minutes from time.
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Liverpool down champions Chelsea
It was also a losing start for champions Chelsea, who were downed 2-1 by newly-promoted Liverpool at Prenton Park.
The Blues got off to a flying start, Fran Kirby converting from the spot inside three minutes. But Liverpool hit back with two spot kicks of their own, with Katie Stengel making no mistake from 12 yards on both occasions in the second half.
Millie Bright was first penalised for handball with 23 minutes to go before Kadeisha Buchanan fouled Stengel with just minutes to go. Stengel dusted herself down to slot home and condemn Chelsea to a first league in 2022.
Arsenal and United capitalise
While City and Chelsea struggled, it was far more routine for other front-runners Arsenal and Manchester United, who both ran out 4-0 winners.
Arsenal got the season underway on Friday night with a comfortable victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, with Euros Player of the Tournament Beth Mead netting twice. Kim Little and Stina Blackstenius had put the Gunners two up before Mead added the gloss against a Brighton side reduced to 10 after just seven minutes as Emma Kullberg saw red.
United weren’t to be outdone, England star Alessia Russo amongst the goals as Maya Le Tissier score converted twice from two Katie Zelem corners on her debut, with Zelem netting herself from the penalty spot.
London clubs reign supreme
Last year’s surprise package Tottenham Hotspur opened their season with a 2-1 win away at Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Spurs finished fifth last term and got their campaign off to a winning start thanks to goals from Ashleigh Neville and new signing Drew Spence.
Neville opened the scoring with a stunning strike from range before Spence grabbed a debut goal on the stroke of half time. Spence then turned into her own net to give the Foxes a lifeline, but Rehanne Skinner’s side held on for a perfect start to the season.
And in London, Lisa Evan’s header was the difference in London as West Ham edged past Everton 1-0. A game of little quality was decided just before half-time, as Scotland international Evans nodded home from a corner.
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