The new-look WSL (Women’s Super League) kicked off on Sunday with a full programme of fixtures. Here’s a look at 5 players who shone brightly in Gameweek 1.
Vivianne Miedema, Arsenal
The Dutch forward scored 4 goals in 7 WSL games last season, following her big move from Bayern Munich. If Arsenal are going to disrupt the Chelsea-Manchester City axis of power this season, then Miedema (pictured) will be key. She certainly looks up for that challenge. In Weekend 1, Miedema stole the show with 2 assists and 3 goals in a 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool. She set up one for Lisa Evans with a sublime Cruyff turn, and then played a neat one-two to set Kim Little through. Miedema’s first 2 strikes were a little scrappy but the third was the goal of the game. She slammed a free-kick right into the top corner. The rest of the WSL, beware.
Gemma Davison, Reading
Reading are another team to watch out for in the WSL this season. If their 4-0 win over Yeovil Town is anything to go by, they offer a real threat in attack. Brooke Chaplen, Natasha Harding and Fara Williams were all excellent, but it was Davison who grabbed the pick of the goals. In the fifth minute, she latched onto Chaplen’s pass and lifted the ball beautifully over the Yeovil keeper, Meg Walsh. The new signing from Chelsea also won her team a second-half penalty.
Lucy Graham, Bristol City
Hope Powell’s Brighton and Hove Albion fought hard in their first-ever WSL match, but in the end, Bristol City won it with a moment of pure quality. Scottish international Graham battled for the ball in midfield, looked up and chipped the keeper from 30 yards out. It was a moment to forget for Brighton’s Laura Hartley but a wondergoal to savour for Graham.
Paige Williams, Birmingham City
Charlie Wellings gave Birmingham the lead in the very first minute against Everton and it stayed that way until the final whistle, thanks to City’s strong defence. There was no getting past Williams, who headed Claudia Walker’s fierce strike over her own crossbar. Like all good modern full-backs, Williams also got forward well and hit the Everton crossbar with a left-foot rocket.
Ji So-yun, Chelsea
The main event of WSL Weekend 1 was Chelsea vs Manchester City - last season’s champions against the runners-up. Although the match finished 0-0, there was plenty of passing football to enjoy. Ji, Chelsea’s South Korean midfielder, was at the centre of so much of it. She worked tirelessly for the team but also showed real composure on the ball. When the simple pass was on, she kept it simple, but she was always looking for that killer through-ball to Karen Carney and Ramona Bachmann. Ji even had a great chance to score the winner in the second-half but she was crowded out by City’s solid defence yet again.