WSL 1 Week 2 Preview: Arsenal and Chelsea begin their campaign
The WSL 1 Spring Series continues into its second week | Photo: VAVEL UK

WSL 1 Week 2 Preview: Arsenal and Chelsea begin their campaign

The WSL 1 resumes after kicking off last weekend, with title chasers Arsenal and Chelsea in action.

mattddawson
Matt Dawson

The WSL 1 Spring Series continues with six teams in action over the course of the coming weekend, with potential challengers to Manchester City's crown, Arsenal and Chelsea, getting their league seasons up and running.

The Gunners take on Sunderland on Sunday whilst Chelsea come up against newly promoted Yeovil at the same time. Before that, Liverpool face Reading on Friday.  

Early pace-setters face each other

Both Liverpool and Reading came away from their opening WSL matches of the season with impressive victories. For Liverpool, they will be hoping that this time they remember to pack their own kit after forgetting it for the trip to Yeovil. They had to play in the Glovers away strip as they won 4-1 thanks to a penalty from Alex Greenwood, a goal from Gemma Bonner and a double from Katie Zelem

Reading also came up against one of the newly promoted sides, as they beat Bristol 3-1. Strikes from Rachel Furness, Rachel Rowe and Melissa Fletcher was enough for the Royals who will be go into their game on Friday with every hope of causing an upset. 

There won't be too much hope for Reading though, who lost to Liverpool both times they faced each other in the WSL last season. The away side will arrive in Widnes full of confidence though after their win against Bristol. 

Another tough game for Yeovil

It is safe to say that Yeovil's introduction into WSL 1 is not easy. After their crushing defeat to Liverpool on the opening weekend they now face Chelsea, a team who will be right up there come the end of the Spring Series. 

Sarah Wiltshire was Yeovil's goal scorer from the penalty spot against Liverpool and her early return will be a massive boost to their season. Wiltshire was expected to remain out after giving birth to her first child but is back in WSL quicker than previously anticipated. 

Chelsea will be incredibly tough opposition and they will have something to prove after losing out to Man City last season. The Blues were busy over the winter, acquiring USWNT player Crystal Dunn and also adding Swiss international Ramona Bachmann and Norwegian Maren Mjelde to their side.

Chelsea have more than enough to equal the fire power of Man City but their defence could be the issue. Eni Aluko is expected to lead the line after winning the WSL Golden Boot last season, but Jade Bailey is out for the season after tearing her anterior cruciate knee ligament.  

Arsenal finally get their season underway

The Gunners will finally get their WSL campaign started this weekend. They were due to play Notts County last week but the club unfortunately folding meant the game had to be canceled. Arsenal face Sunderland this weekend, a team who came away with an impressive point against Birmingham last week after a 0-0 draw in Solihull. 

It was a very intriguing off season for the London side, who lost some experienced faces around the club. Rachel Yankey left whilst goalkeeper Emma Byrne joined newly promoted WSL 2 team Brighton. Centre-back Casey Stoney moved to Liverpool and Kelly Smith went into retirement. It feels like the end of an era for Pedro Martinez Losa's team, but he was still able to bring in some quality additions.

Kim Little is back at the club after a spell in America, whilst former US international Heather O'Reilly also arrives from the NWSL. Beth Mead was signed from Sunday's opponents Sunderland, and therefore could face her former club. Anna Moorhouse meanwhile joined from Doncaster Belles as a back-up keeper. 

The Gunners shouldn't find the task of Sunderland to be too taxing, but they will be looking to impress during the Spring Series after a couple of season where they've failed to really get going. 

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