Champions Chelsea kick off WSL season with win; Leicester hit four

The reigning Women's Super League champions Chelsea kicked off the 2023-24 season with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Spurs looked lively at the start, but it was Chelsea that opened the scoring when Mia Fishel rose above her marker to nod Niamh Charles' dinked cross beyond Rebecca Spencer. United States international Fishel, 22, was making her first WSL appearance for Chelsea since arriving in August from Tigres UANL for a reported $250,000 transfer fee.

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Chelsea came out strong after half-time and were rewarded with their second goal via Lauren James, who volleyed home after a ball was cleared off the line by Tottenham's Ashleigh Neville.

But Tottenham didn't wilt, and Robert Vilahamn's side cut the deficit in half when Martha Thomas dashed in to finish through the legs of Chelsea keeper Zećira Mušović.

In Sunday's early game, Manchester United came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park.

Last season's Golden Boot winner Rachel Daly opened the scoring for the hosts in the 76th minute, shortly after her strike partner Kirsty Hanson was shown a straight red card for a high boot in a tackle.

United fired right back, though, and Lucía García scored to put the game back on level terms before Rachel Williams headed home in stoppage time to seal the three points.

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Liverpool pulled off a shock 1-0 win at Arsenal to start the season with a victory at the Emirates in front of a record-breaking crowd.

Newcomer Miri Taylor scored the game's only goal as Liverpool had the measure of the hosts throughout the match, forcing them out wide and denying them the direct play they were desperate to try and create.

A composed performance throughout from the Reds saw them seal the win in front of 54,115 supporters, a new record for a WSL match.

Willie Kirk's somewhat new-look Leicester City won 4-2 and gave Bristol City a match to forget upon their return to the WSL, despite the hosts taking the lead at Ashton Gate through a smart shot from Carrie Jones.

Aimee Palmer returned to haunt her former club by lashing into the top-left corner from outside the box to restore parity before the break, before Shannon O'Brien's slalomed finish put the Robins on the back foot early into the second half.

Making her Leicester debut, Lena Petermann nodded in a third for the visitors before Jutta Rantala scored to leave the hosts needing a miracle. Even with Amalie Thestrup reducing the deficit from the spot two minutes later, there was no late comeback for Bristol, setting the tone for what is sure to be a taxing season.

Manchester City got their first win in the bag with little fuss in East London, coming away with a 2-0 victory at West Ham United.

City controlled the match from the first whistle and gave up very little of the ball during the first half, making the home defence work for their half-time clean sheet, yet it only took three minutes for Lauren Hemp to open the scoring after the restart.

With City comfortably on top, Jill Roord cut through the defence before easing the ball into the bottom-left corner of Mackenzie Arnold's goal just seven minutes after the opener.

Reduced to 10 players 20 minutes from time when Leila Ouahabi was shown a straight red card for a clash with Emma Harries, Gareth Taylor's side stood strong, kept their shape and didn't let West Ham change tempo to see out the win.

Brighton picked up their first win on Merseyside since 2021 with a measured 2-1 win away to Everton. Having bagged a brace against the Toffees back in April, Elisabeth Terland fired the visitors ahead in the third minute, mopping up the scraps after Katie Robinson had clattered the bar with a hopeful effort.

Needing just a further 11 minutes to complete her brace, Terland got the better of Emily Ramsey once more after being found by Robinson.

Taking their foot off the pedal after the break, Brighton found themselves under pressure from an Everton team who grew into the game, with Megan Finnigan finding the back of the net from a whipped in corner.

Yet, despite the Toffees' best efforts they couldn't find an equaliser, leaving them at the wrong half of the table after the first round of matches.