WSL Week 1 Review: Arsenal impressive as City and Chelsea draw
Vivianne Miedema was the star of the show as the WSL kicked off | Photo: Joerdeli Photography, Daniela Porcelli.

WSL Week 1 Review: Arsenal impressive as City and Chelsea draw

The Women's Super League returned on Sunday afternoon.

Matt Dawson

The WSL returned this Sunday as the all new fully professional top tier of women's football kicked off.

A rebranding and a new structure to the leagues has taken place over the summer with this our first opportunity to see it in action.

There were some intriguing games on the opening weekend as Arsenal, Reading, Birmingham and Bristol City started with wins. Chelsea and Manchester City, however, had to settle for a point each as they faced each other in their first game.

Miedema stars in Arsenal romp

Arsenal were rather light on numbers going into the opening day of the new campaign, with only four substitutes named on the bench but it didn't matter as the Gunners made light work of Liverpool, beating them 5-0.

The Reds, under new management in Neil Redfearn and also with a whole host of new signings struggled significantly with the free flowing movement of the Arsenal attack, as they found themselves 4-0 down at half time.

Vivianne Miedema's season started spectacularly with a hat-trick and two assists, displaying the world class qualities we didn't get to see as much last term.

The first goal came courtesy of Katie McCabe's cross from the left as her ball wasn't dealt with by the Liverpool defence which presented a simple finish to Miedema. Lisa Evans then added a second as Louise Quinn's brilliant ball forward was taken down by the scorer of the first, before she checked back past Leandra Little and laid it on a plate for Evans.

Kim Little was then on target as Arsenal added a third. She interlinked terrifically with Jordan Nobbs and Miedema before showing quick feet inside the penalty area.

Miedema was at the heart of everything and the Dutch international added her second six minutes before the break. Evans was able to cut it back for her and despite a scuffed finish. she found the net.

Liverpool were better after half time, with Rinsola Babajide's introduction as a substitute bringing more purpose to their play. However, they couldn't stop Arsenal scoring again as an indirect free-kick after a back pass was powerfully hammered home by Miedema late on.

Title favourites play out draw

If the FA had visions of this being the best WSL season to date then they'll want to quickly turn their attention away from a 0-0 between the two top teams in the division.  

An opening day clash between Chelsea and Manchester City had the potential to be a classic, and although it was a match where both teams created chances, it finished goalless.  

A clash of heads which left a rather large lump on the head of Nikita Parris had Nick Cushing seething in the first half but for a team who loved to score goals in the WSL last season - they failed to break a stern Chelsea defence down.

Ramona Bachmann and Beth England were busy for the hosts whilst Fran Kirby's arrival off the bench showed more promise for the Blues. However, it was a game that was rather summed up by Ji So-yun checking back and fluffing her lines rather than shooting when in a brilliant position in the second half.

This could have been a great opportunity for either side to take an early advantage into the rest of the season but instead they had to settle for a point apiece.

Lightning quick start for Birmingham

No goals at Kingsmeadow between Chelsea and City but it took just 42 seconds for the net to bulge in Solihull as Birmingham defeated Everton 1-0.

Charlie Wellings was the game's only scorer as she collected a pass from Ellen White before slotting home in lightning quick time.

Birmingham could have had more, however, as White and Hayley Ladd failed to convert chances.

Marisa Ewers and Paige Williams were desperately unfortunate not to make the win more comfortable as the former had an effort cleared off the line before Williams saw a shot from distance hit the crossbar.

Reading in the goals

Reading may have the potential to surprise a few this season and after beating Yeovil 4-0 they look a team very capable. It was a game where plenty of chances were created, and despite Yeovil's best efforts in the second half, they succumbed to a heavy defeat at Adams Park.

Gemma Davison scored a brilliant opener after five minutes as she was sent through by Brooke Chaplen before chipping the goalkeeper to make it 1-0. Fara Williams then added a second six minutes later as Reading pounced on sloppy play by Yeovil.  

Davison was then involved again for the third goal as she was fouled in the penalty area by Amy Goddard, which led to a spot kick being given. Lauren Bruton stepped up for the Royals as she found the net.

The final goal came courtesy of Remi Allen as she got her head to Tash Harding's cross.

Graham stunner enough for Bristol

A fantastic long range goal from Lucy Graham settled things between Brighton and Bristol City as the Vixens secured a 1-0 win.

Hope Powell's Brighton created chances in either half, but despite a positive display eventually came away with defeat.

Beth Roe saw a shot tipped wide of the post by Sophie Baggaley whilst Laura Rafferty then spurned a good chance by firing over. Jodie Brett, on at the break for Chloe Peplow also headed wide.

That was all before the opening goal as Bristol were able to withstand the pressure to eventually go a goal ahead with just under 20 minutes left to play.