Bigger and better than ever before: the WSL is back

The Women's Super League is back - breaking records on the first weekend of the 2023/24 season. Here's all the action.

Leila Mermelstein
19th October 2023
Image: Twitter- SkySportsWSL
Following on from the electric Women's World Cup this summer, the Women's Super League kicked off on the first weekend of October, with all 12 teams in action.

Arsenal, boasting several new signings including Lioness Alessia Russo, were looking to kick off their campaign well, playing in front of 54,115 fans, the biggest ever attendance at a WSL match. However, they were stunned by Liverpool, who finished seventh last season, as Miri Taylor's goal just after halftime secured the Reds a 0-1 win. It was Liverpool's first league away match since January 2020.

Defending champions Chelsea got off to a better start, picking up where they left off with a 2-1 win against Tottenham. The scoring was opened by American debutante Mia Fishel, signed from Mexican side Tigres this summer. Lauren James, another key part of Sarina Wiegman's England side, nudged home the Blues' second after a scramble in the box. Replays show the ball actually crossed the line from Guro Reiten's effort, but as the WSL doesn't use goalline technology, it was up to James to make sure. Spurs pulled one back thanks to new signing Martha Thomas in the 76th minute.

Elsewhere, late action saw Manchester United come from behind to beat 10-woman Aston Villa at Villa Park. The home side lost Kirsty Hanson in the 74th minute, sent off for a high tackle on Hayley Ladd, but managed to take the lead anyway just minutes later thanks to a low show from last season's top-scorer Rachel Daly. United found a response quickly, equalising through Lucia Garcia, who fired home a loose ball in the box. The visitors found their winner in added time, with substitute Rachel Williams heading home a cross from Nikita Parris.

Manchester City began their season with a 0-2 win over West Ham, despite also being reduced to 10. Lauren Hemp, another of the Lioness' star performers gave the visitors the lead just after the break, curling in a shot from just outside the box. Hemp's England teammate Chloe Kelly stepped up to the spot just minutes later after a handball in the box, but despite her blistering form this summer from 12 yards out, the shot was saved by keeper Mackenzie Arnold. Jill Roord gave City their second, and they held on to their lead, despite Leila Ouahabi being shown a red for kicking out at West Ham's Emma Harries.

Newly promoted Bristol City played out an entertaining match against Leicester City, taking the lead in the first half before a dominant second-half display from the visitors saw them finish the match 2-4. Goals from Aimee Palmer, Lena Petermann, and a double from Jutta Rantala bagged the Foxes their first three points of the season. Brighton also got off to a winning start thanks to an early brace by Elisabeth Terland and solid defense, which saw them hold off Everton despite captain Megan Finnigan getting one back with 25 minutes to go.

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