Women's Football

WSL team of the week - Matchday 1

Jamie Spencer
Arsenal started the new WSL season with an impressive win
Arsenal started the new WSL season with an impressive win / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The new 2021/22 WSL season got underway over the weekend, with all 12 clubs in action between Friday and Sunday to kick off what promises to be the biggest and best campaign yet.

Manchester United and Reading set the ball rolling in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night, while there was a big early test for an ambitious Everton against Manchester City, and Arsenal and Chelsea went head to head at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Brighton, Aston Villa and Tottenham were also among the winners on opening weekend, with none of the six games ending in a draw.

Here’s a look at 90min’s WSL team of the week…

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Hannah Blundell
Hannah Blundell was outstanding on her Man Utd debut / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Hannah Hampton (GK): Having already made a spectacular save earlier in the game, the new Aston Villa goalkeeper turned villain when a mistake allowed Leicester to take the lead. Once Villa had turned it around, Hampton was the hero again, producing a stop that preserved the 2-1 win and the points.

Hannah Blundell (RB): A four-time WSL champion with Chelsea, Blundell gave a stunning all-action debut performance for Manchester United. She covered an incredible amount of ground and was often leading attacks with bursts forward, as well as defending very well.

Leah Williamson (CB): It is no easy task keeping Chelsea’s world class forwards at bay, but Williamson just about managed it to give her team the foundation to go and win, as Arsenal began the season with a statement 3-2 victory over the reigning champions.

Alex Greenwood (CB): Steph Houghton scored a top class free-kick for Manchester City in their win over Everton, yet it was defensive partner Greenwood who had more of an overall impact. She defended on the front foot and read the game well, which often put City immediately on the attack.

Ona Batlle (LB): Much like Blundell on the opposite side for United, the Spaniard was constantly up and down her flank in her team’s win over Reading. Batlle became a fan favourite last season and further cemented that status with an incredible goal to seal the win.

2. Midfielders

Vicky Losada scored Man City's first goal of the WSL season
Vicky Losada scored Man City's first goal of the WSL season / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Vicky Losada (CM): Barcelona’s former Champions League winning captain couldn’t have asked for a better start to her WSL return. Losada went close to scoring before she did, eventually producing an unstoppable strike that gave Manchester City the breakthrough against Everton.

Inessa Kaagman (CM): Brighton are determined to prove that their top half finish last season was no fluke or flash in the pan, with Dutch international Kaagman crucial to a 2-0 opening day win over West Ham. She scored the breakthrough goal from the penalty spot.

Ella Toone (AM): Manchester United started without a recognised striker against Reading, with Toone lining up in what can best be described as a ‘false nine’ role. She was on fire, pulling the creative strings, and assisting both goals. The first in particular was a perfectly measured pass.

3. Forwards

Beth Mead scored twice for Arsenal against Chelsea
Beth Mead scored twice for Arsenal against Chelsea / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Erin Cuthbert (RW): Despite ending up on the losing side, Cuthbert bagged a goal and assist for Chelsea against Arsenal and could hardly have done more to try and help her side to victory. Probably the Blues’ biggest threat on the day.

Beth Mead (LW): Arsenal beat Chelsea because of Mead’s second half brace. The England forward was full of tireless running and was involved in sharp interplay with Vivianne Miedema and Mana Iwabuchi that gave the champions no end of trouble.

Vivianne Miedema (ST): Miedema looks set for another prolific season of goals and assists after getting one of each in Arsenal’s win. Her movement asked plenty of questions of Chelsea’s defence because she is so comfortable also coming short as a play-maker or running into the channels.

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