WSL 1 Week Two Preview: Two title contenders clash in exciting week ahead

Who will start to kick ahead and who will be left behind?

WSL 1 Week Two Preview: Two title contenders clash in exciting week ahead
WSL1 Week 2 Preview | Image credit: VAVEL (Jonny Walsh)

After the international break and the FA Women's Cup, WSL 1 returns this week with some interesting matches including an FA Women's Cup final rehearsal with former players playing for the other team, and a Continental Cup rematch.

Arsenal - Chelsea

Both teams were in action recently in the FA Cup semi-final. Arsenal made it through by a comfortable margin, beating Sunderland 7-0. Chelsea had a much closer game against Manchester City but they just made it through after a crucial last minute goal by Fran Kirby.

This is the first big match in the league for Chelsea after their game - Liverpool was postponed. Both teams will be full of confidence coming into the game but this match could reflect how the season may go for both. Chelsea will be the favourites after winning the league last year but Arsenal are not ones to be counted out.

There are also many players that have been on both sides. Current Chelsea players Gilly Flaherty, Gemma Davison and captain Katie Chapman have all previously played for Arsenal. Recent signing Jade Bailey played for them too.

As for Arsenal, Fara Williams and Casey Stoney started their careers at Chelsea before moving onto Arsenal. Fara Williams recently moved to Arsenal in the latest transfer window. However, Casey Stoney moved to Arsenal in 1998 and left 2002. She then had a spell back at Chelsea from 2007-2011 then moved back to Arsenal in 2014.

Arsenal celebrate in their 7-0 hammering of Sunderland. (Photo: Arsenal Ladies FC)
Arsenal celebrate in their 7-0 hammering of Sunderland. (Photo: Arsenal Ladies FC)

Liverpool - Sunderland

Sunderland were the surprise team last year and they will look to do as well as they did last season. After suffering a heavy loss by Arsenal in the FA Cup, they will be motivated to get a win and really get their WSL campaign going.

Liverpool have started their WSL season well with a narrow win over Birmingham City. After finishing second to last in the 2015 season, they brought in an array of players in order to strengthen and hopefully not end up in the same position.

They recently played in a friendly against Sheffield FC to get some game time in before this match. They won 4-2.

Liverpool added some good signings such Mandy van den Berg, Shanice van de Sanden, Alex Greenwood and Natasha Harding. Van de Sanden has already made an impact by scoring the crucial goal in a 1-0 win over Birmingham and could go on to score many more.

Birmingham City - Manchester City

Manchester City were knocked out of the FA Cup by holders and title rivals Chelsea by a goal in the very last minute of extra time. While they may be out of that, they are setting their sights on the title this year. They have gotten off to a great start after beating Notts County and possible title contenders Arsenal.

Birmingham haven't had the best of starts to the season and will want to get their first points as soon as possible. They lost their best player in the winter transfer window as Karen Carney moved to Chelsea and has become a crucial player there.

Notts County - Reading

Reading won WSL 2 last season and have adjusted well to WSL 1. They lost to Arsenal but drew most recently with Sunderland. Reading are showing early promise of being a good side this season.

They will be facing a Notts County side that hasn't earned any points yet and are 2nd bottom. It is still early in the season but this could be a tightly contested game.

They faced each last season in the Continental Cup quarter-final. Notts County narrowly won that day with the match ending 3-2. Alex Greenwood scored the crucial goal that day but she has since joined Liverpool.