WSL Gameweek 2 Preview: Big Games, Subplots, New Signings & More

Pernille Harder
Record signing Pernille Harder could make her first start for Chelsea | James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

The second weekend of the 2020/21 Women's Super League season gets underway on Saturday, with six more fixtures to look forward to.

After Manchester United took points off one of the big three for the first time, Everton grabbed a statement victory and Arsenal proved they're still pretty good at football during the WSL's opening weekend, there's plenty more on the cards for week two.

From new signings, familiar faces and crunch fixtures, let's take a look at what this weekend could throw up.

New Signings

The biggest transfer window in WSL history slammed shut on Thursday, but there was still time for a few more statement signings in between the opening round of fixtures and the window closing.

Manchester City strengthened in the full-back department, bringing England talisman Lucy Bronze back to the club and recruiting her Lionesses teammate Alex Greenwood - the pair fresh from Champions League victory with Lyon. Both are available for City's clash with Brighton on Sunday.

Across Manchester, rivals United have made the two biggest signings in the club's history by bringing in Christen Press and Tobin Heath. The attacking duo have four World Cup winners medals, two Olympic golds and over 300 appearances for the United States between them, but are unavailable for the trip to Birmingham due to quarantine rules.

League Position Indicator Fixtures

Gemma Davies' Villa side held their own against Manchester City
Gemma Davies' Villa side held their own against Manchester City | Harriet Lander/Getty Images

Two of the most intriguing fixtures from this weekend do not involve any of the 'big three'. Tottenham versus Everton and Reading against Aston Villa can provide a real indication of where the sides are at and where they can expect to finish this season.

Reading were tipped by some as dark horses for a top four finish following the signings of Jess Fishlock and Danielle Carter, but were quickly brought back down to earth as they were on the receiving end of a 6-1 humbling from Arsenal.

Having stormed to promotion last season with one of the most exciting young managers in the English game - Gemma Davies - at the helm, before making a number of shrewd summer additions, Aston Villa were expected to do more than just tread water this season. They gave a very good account of themselves despite losing 2-0 to Manchester City on their WSL debut, and Sunday's trip to Reading will offer a good barometer of the quality and expectations of the two sides.

Everton have had a mightily impressive transfer window, and got off to a storming start to the season with a 4-0 victory over a Bristol City side who are expected to spend much of the season fighting relegation. Sunday's clash with Tottenham - a team who exceeding expectations during their debut season in the WSL last year - will be a truer test of their credentials.

New Team, Familiar Faces

Before Heath and Press royally stole her thunder, Lucy Staniforth had been Manchester United's marquee signing this summer.

The England international was unavailable for their campaign opener against Chelsea through suspension, but she could make her Red Devils debut against Birmingham - the club she left to join United this summer.

Birmingham could field a debutant of their own - and a familiar face for United supporters. The Blues signed attacking midfielder Mollie Green from the Red Devils on Monday and she is available to make her first appearance against her former employees.

More Great West Ham Content

The BBC launched series two of their documentary on the West Ham Women's team - Squad Goals - at the start of the week, and it is fantastic television.

The relatable, down to earth nature of the players coupled with the intensity and pressure of top level football means it really hits a sweet spot in regards to sports documentaries.

Hammers captain Gilly Flaherty is one of the stars of the ensemble, and a clash with Arsenal - the side she spent a decade with - is sure to bring out her competitive, emotional best, whether West Ham sneak a victory or suffer the same fate as Reading.

Hotly Anticipated Full Debuts

Harder made her Chelsea debut last week
Harder made her Chelsea debut last week | James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Arguably the two biggest signings of the WSL transfer window were Chelsea's world record breaking acquisition of Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg, and Manchester City's addition of 2019 World Cup breakthrough star Rose Lavelle.

Harder was restricted to a cameo from the bench against Manchester United, having only signed for the Blues five days earlier, while Lavelle was unavailable for City due to quarantine regulations.

WSL fans could be treated to their first proper sighting of the pair this weekend as Chelsea host Bristol City and City welcome Brighton.