Sophie Downey was at Stamford Bridge for us tonight. Here’s her report.
And with that, it’s time to wrap up today’s clockwatch. It’s been a pretty good start to the season: 18 goals in six games, with a late winner at Villa Park, a shock at the Emirates and an emphatic comeback from Leicester City. Thanks for your company – goodnight.
Full time: Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Peep peep! The champions win their opening WSL game for the first time since 2019-20. It was a highly entertaining contest, with a whopping 23 shots on target. Spurs played a full part but Chelsea had a bit too much quality. The American striker Mia Fishel scored on her debut, with the outstanding Lauren James getting the second during a blistering spell just after half-time.
Martha Thomas, who was a pain in the Chelsea defence all night, gave Spurs hope with a debut goal of her own, and it took a fine save from Zecira Musovic to deny Jessica Naz an equaliser.
90+3 min After a better move from Spurs, Niamh Charles gets back to make an important interception. She’s had a good game at both ends.
90+2 min Spurs are struggling to cross the halfway line, never mind get into the Chelsea area. They make one last substitution: Kit Graham replaces Grace Clinton.
90+1 min There will be seven minutes of added time.
90 min Now Fishel belts a loose ball over the bar from the edge of the area. Chelsea are managing the last few minutes pretty well.
89 min Jelena Cankovic, who has just come on, has a goal disallowed for offside. I think it was given against Fishel rather than Cankovic; either way there’s no VAR.
Yes, it was Fishel. She didn’t touch the ball but she blocked Bartrip from challening Cankovic, so that’s fair enough.
88 min Chelsea are keeping the ball a bit better now. They had a very nervy spell either side of Thomas’s goal.
86 min Kirby sits Neville down beautifully near the byline and flips a cross towards the far post. Leupolz runs round the ball and batters an acrobatic volley that just clears the bar. That would have been a glorious goal.
84 min: Chelsea substitution Jelena Cankovic comes on for Maren Mjelde, who has had a difficult night. That might mean a switch to three at the back.
82 min: Fine save by Musovic! All of a sudden Chelsea are hanging on. A poor header from Mjelde goes straight to Naz, 10 yards out. She passes a shot between the legs of Mjelde, and Musovic – who must have seen it late – plunges to her left to push it away. Carter stops Thomas getting to the rebound. That was a very good save from Musovic.
81 min Thomas, who has been so sharp, drags a snapshot wide of the near post from the left side of the area.
79 min This has been a really encouraging performance from Spurs. They were overwhelmed when Chelsea turned it up at the start of the second half, but they kept attacking with purpose and belief. That’s not easy to do when you’re 2-0 down away to Chelsea.
77 min I guess that has to go down as a goalscoring error, though Musovic was a little bit unlucky. Meanwhile Chelsea have made a double subsitution: Jessie Fleming and Ashley Lawrence for Guro Reiten and Lauren James.
Martha Thomas deserves that goal for her persistence, as do Spurs. Ayane swept an awkward left-footed shot from the edge of the area that was saved to her right by Musovic. But the ball got stuck under her feet and Thomas reacted quickest to poke it between her legs and into the net.
GOAL! Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham (Thomas 76)
If at first you don’t succeed…
74 min Reiten’s free-kick clears everyone in the middle and reaches Charles beyond the far post. She slices a half-volleyed cross over the bar.
72 min: Spurs substitution Rosella Ayane replaces Celin Bizet.
70 min Clinton’s long-range shot bounces awkwardly in front of Musovic, who shovels it out but has plenty of time to grab the ball at the second attempt.
69 min: Chance for Spurs! Naz robs Mjelde high up the field, moves into the area and cuts the ball back. The stretching Bright inadvertently diverts the ball to Thomas, who takes a touch and blasts just wide on the turn.
65 min Yet another superb long-range shot from James is headed away by Bartrip, who needs to sit down afterwards, such is the impact. When she is on song, James makes football look frighteningly easy.
64 min Spurs were excellent in the first half but they’ve been overwhelmed since the break. Chelsea upped the tempo and they haven’t been able to cope.
61 min: Double substitution for Spurs Jessica Naz and Asmita Ale replace Olga Ahtinen and Drew Spence.
61 min A Chelsea corner is met by Fishel, whose header is cleared off the line by Bartrip. Leupolz whistles the loose ball over the bar from the edge of the area.
59 min: Double substitution for Chelsea Fran Kirby and Melanie Leupolz replace Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Sjoeke Nusken. Kirby, who missed the World Cup, gets a lovely ovation from the home crowd.
58 min We’ve seen a replay of that clearance from Neville and the ball was over the line. It didn’t matter in the end, but it’s pretty poor that goalline technology is not used in the WSL.
57 min This game is so open. James plays a slick one-two with Fishel and pings a shot that is pushed away by Spencer, diving to her right. Fishel’s link play, particularly since half-time, has been excellent.
56 min: Fine save by Musovic! Grace Clinton hits a superb curling shot from 25 yards that is pushed away by Musovic, leaping to her left. Spurs regain possession and Neville raps a bouncing ball straight at Musovic from 12 yards.
52 min I’d like to see Neville’s clearance again, because to the naked eye it looked like the ball was well over the line.
GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham (James 51)
Spencer made another fine save from Fishel, then Neville cleared a ball that seemed to have gone over the line. Play continued and Charles floated a lovely cross towards James, who cushioned a close-range volley past Spencer.
51 min: Fine save from Spencer! This is blistering stuff from Chelsea. Reiten plays a lovely one-two with Fisher in the area and rams a shot that is superbly blocked by Spencer. But it’s a temporary reprieve…
49 min: James hits the bar! Spurs are hanging on here. Charles’ throw is touched off by Fishel to Reiten. She plays a deft pass back to James, who curls a rising shot across goal. It beats Spencer and rebounds off the underside of crossbar.
47 min It’s been a fast start from Chelsea. Charles, who has been very adventurous at left-back tonight, drives a low shot from a tight angle that is comfortably saved by Spencer.
47 min Reiten’s cross from the left bounces up awkwardly at James, who shoots over the bar from 15 yards. Not much of a chance.
46 min Peep peep! Sophie Ingle gets the second half under way.
Half time: Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham
The champions lead through a fine debut goal from Mia Fishel. Spurs have been good, though, with Martha Thomas giving Chelsea’s defence a serious workout. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45+3 min: Double chance for Spurs! Martha Thomas has been such a threat tonight. She makes an excellent run onto a through ball from Spence, clipping a first-time shot that is superbly blocked by the outrushing Musovic. The ball loops up towards the byline, and Thomas’s follow-up header is cleared off the line by Bright.
45 min Four minutes of added time.
45 min: Spurs penalty appeal! Thomas beats Bright to a ball in the area and goes over. The referee isn’t interested and replays are inconclusive. There’s no VAR anyway. Thomas looks aghast at the decision.
40 min: Just wide from James! Reiten moves infield and then plays the ball back outside to James. She beats Buhler with ease and drills a left-footed shot that goes a couple of yards wide of the far post.
39 min Reiten clips a flat free-kick beyond the far post. It’s headed down and claimed by Spencer, who has looked assured in the Spurs goal.
38 min Spence, who is on a yellow card, fouls James 30 yards from goal.
36 min Chelsea look more comfortable now. A short corner on the left is worked to Mjelde, who shoots straight at Spencer from 20 yards.
33 min A tame long-range shot from Thomas is easily saved by Musovic.
31 min I missed a yellow card for Drew Spence, who caught the top of Jess Carter’s foot with her studs as they competed for a bouncing ball.
Charles took a throw-in on the left, got the ball back and zipped past Bidet before angling a flat cross towards Fishel. She pulled away from Buhler at the near post and guided an accomplished header into the far corner. That’s a fine finish.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham (Fishel 28)
A debut goal for Mia Fishel!
28 min Charles plays in the underlapping Retein, whose cutback is booted away by Neville.
25 min There’s a break in play while Drew Spence receives treatment.
24 min Reiten’s outswinger is met by Nusken, who heads straight at Spencer from 10 yards.
23 min James plays a good angled to the overlapping Charles, who wins a corner on the left.
21 min Chelsea look sluggish, which is often the case in the first game of the season. The international break probably doesn’t help either.
17 min Another opening for Spurs. Carter is robbed by Bizet, who moves into the area but can’t decide whether to shoot or try to find Thomas. Eventually she passes to Thomas and Mjelde makes an excellent tackle.
15 min It’s a good game this. Spurs have certainly come to play. Bizet’s first-time cross is met by Thomas, whose volley is crucially blocked by Mjelde. That chance came from Angharad James winning the ball off Charles high up the field.
10 min But they don’t look so good when Lauren James gets on the ball. She walks away from Ahtinen, on the edge of the area, and hits a rising drive just over the bar.
9 min Thomas, looking fractionally offside, controls a long pass on the run and shoots straight at Musovic from the edge of the area. Spurs look pretty confident in possession.
6 min: Off the line! The resulting corner from Reiten is met by Carter, whose header is cleared off the line by Bartrip.
5 min James pings one from 25 yards with her left foot, and Becky Spencer dives to her left to push it round the post. Good save.
3 min The debutant Olga Ahtinen has a nosebleed after being caught by the studs of a prostrate Lauren James. I’m pretty sure it was accidental, though I’d like to see a couple more replays.
2 min Chelsea haven’t won their opening league game since 2019. That was a 1-0 win over Spurs, with Beth England the goalscorer.
2 min Spurs win an early corner on the right, and make a mess of it.
1 min Peep peep! Spurs kick off from left to right as we watch.
Before the kick-off at Stamford Bridge, there is a minute’s silence in memory of Maddy Cusack. Emma Hayes, whose father Sid died earlier in the week, looks especially emotional.
Full time: West Ham 0-2 Man City
City start their campaign with a comfortable victory, despite going down to 10. It was that quick burst at the start of the second half that did the damage, Lauren Hemp curling one into the top left corner before Jill Roord turned Shannon Cooke inside-out to slot in and make it 2-0. In-between that Chloe Kelly had a penalty saved, Mackenzie Arnold pulling off a top save with a dive to her right. That’s enough from me – Rob Smyth’s back for the rest of the day.
90+5 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Hemp’s quick feet bring a foul and a yellow for Cissoko.
90+4 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City West Ham push again, but Greenwood holds up the advance on the right wing and, once again, City find themselves passing it around comfortably.
90+2 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Asseyi throws quickly on the right wing to Harries, who then throws quickly herself, but City clear their lines.
90+1 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Seven minutes added on.
90 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Evans tries to let fly on the half volley from a central position outside the box, but is met with a fierce block.
88 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Hemp shoots wide from outside the box and Roord goes off, replaced by Angeldahl.
86 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Asseyi finds herself on the right-hand side of the box, the ball bobbling up to invite the half-volley – but it sail on over and wide, the angle a bit too tight.
84 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Cooke has a long-range pop – about 30 yards away – but no bother for City.
82 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City West Ham looking a bit more sparky now they’ve got one more on the pitch but Hemp holds up the ball well again up top. Harries crosses into the box, but City clear.
80 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Hemp turns brilliantly to advance up the pitch and helps win City a throw on the left.
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur team news
Summer signings Mia Fishel and Sjoeke Nusken start for Chelsea, while Ashley Lawrence is on the bench. The new Spurs manager Robert Vilahamn includes three of his signings: Martha Thomas, Olga Ahtinen and Luana Buhler.
Both teams are without their star strikers, Sam Kerr and Beth England, due to injury.
Chelsea (possible 4-2-3-1) Musovic; Carter, Mjelde, Bright, Charles; Nusken, Ingle; Rytting Kaneryd, James, Reiten; Fishel.
Substitutes: Berger, Buchanan, Cankovic, Fleming, Kirby, Lawrence, Leupolz, Nouwen, Perisset
Tottenham (possible 4-3-3) Spencer; James, Buhler, Bartrip, Neville; Ahtinen, Summanen, Spence; Bizet, Thomas, Clinton.
Substitutes: Ale, Ayane, Graham, Naz, Pearse, Percival, Turner, Votikova, Zadorsky.
Referee Thomas Kirk.
78 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Denton, on as a sub, skips down the left but Aleixandri sees the ball out to give City the goal kick.
75 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Ouahabi, according to comms, apparently given the red for having a kick out at Harries off the ball. Meanwhile Harries heads wide.
RED CARD! Ouahabi sent off (70)
Harries goes down on the right wing after Ouahabi gets in her way, and Ouahabi’s been sent off! What’s happened there? It seemed like a routine yellow, but she’s got a straight red.
69 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Fowler nearly find Hemp in the box but it’s quickly snuffed out by the West Ham defence.
64 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Roord wins a header in the box to give Castellanos a shooting chance, but she snatches at it, the ball trickling towards Arnold.
63 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City City whip the ball around, while Arnold pumps it long for West Ham, hoping for the best. One side clearly in control here.
60 min: West Ham 0-2 Man City Ueki goes down to get some treatment and is subbed off for Emma Harries.
GOAL! West Ham 0-2 Man City (Roord 55)
Quality from Roord, who pulls off a brilliant dummy with her back to goal to flummox the defender before gliding into the box to finish in the bottom left corner. A debut goal, and City are now rampant.
51 min: West Ham 0-1 Man City City keep on pushing, this game finally alive and kicking, the high press causing West Ham plenty of bother.
PENALTY SAVED! West Ham 0-1 Man City
Handball, a clear one, and Chloe Kelly steps up for City. But Arnold leaps brilliantly to her right to keep it out – a stunning save that keeps West Ham in it.
GOAL! West Ham 0-1 Man City (Hemp 48)
Screamer! Lauren Hemp collects outside the box and sees the opportunity open up perfectly – out comes a curler into the top left corner.
46 min: West Ham 0-0 Man City Ueki bursts through and get a shot away off her left foot, but no trouble for Keating in the City goal, diving to her left to collect.
Cheers Rob. The action is all set to resume at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. City came close at the end of the first half through Lauren Hemp, but still nil-nil here.
Right, I’m off for a break before the late game, but Taha Hashim is here to keep you abreast of the second half at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. I’ll leave you with a reminder of the scores so far.
Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd (FT)
Everton 1-2 Brighton (FT)
Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool (FT)
Bristol City 2-4 Leicester City (FT)
West Ham 0-0 Man City (HT)
Full time: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool
Peep peep! Liverpool beat Chelsea on the opening day of last season. This year they’ve taken care of Arsenal in front of a record crowd at the Emirate. Miri Taylor got the only goal, and the result didn’t really flatter Liverpool. There was pressure at the end, as you’d expect, but for most of the game they were composed and purposeful. It’s their first away win since they were promoted back to the WSL last year.
98 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool “Credit to Liverpool, but Arsenal have looked as ineffective here as they did against Paris FC in the Champions League qualifying – sluggish, imprecise and just generally limp,” writes Charles Antaki. “Losing at home against a team they usually beat is a very poor augury for the season to come. The return of Williamson, Miedema and Mead will change things - but by then it might well be too late.”
Full time: Bristol City 2-4 Leicester City
An excellent comeback from Leicester, including goals for three debutants: Aimee Palmer, who scored a screamer against her old club, Lena Petermann and Jutta Rantala.
90+4 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Arsenal keep banging on the door, but it’s not happening for them at the moment. What a wretched start to the season they have had.
90 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Liverpool are closing in on an outstanding win at the Emirates, though their work isn’t done yet: there will be 10 minutes of added time.
Half time: West Ham 0-0 Man City A frustrating first half for, who keep running into a well organised West Ham defence.
GOALS! Bristol City 2-4 Leicester City (Thestrup 85 pen; Rantala 83)
A goal apiece at Ashton Gate. The substitute Jutta Rantala finished smartly to put 4-1 ahead before Amalie Thestrup pulled one back from the penalty spot.
84 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool More frustration for Arsenal at the Emirates. A looping header from Caitlin Foord (I think) hits the top of the bar.
82 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool This would be a huge victory for Liverpool, especially when you consider their away record last season: played 11, won none.
79 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Taylor Hinds is booked for timewasting, which pleases the home fans. There should be a lot of added time.
77 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Rachael Laws dives bravely at the feet of Blackstenius and stays down. There are boos from the home fans, whp think she’s wasting time.
74 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool A subdued debut from Alessia Russo comes to an end: she’s been replaced by Stina Blackstenius.
70 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Two substitutes almost combine for an Arsenal equaliser. Lena Hurtig’s cutback is met by Victoria Pelova, whose shot is brilliant blocked by Gemma Bonner.
In fact, I think the ball had gone out of play before Hurtig pulled it back, so forget all that. In other news, today’s attendance is a WSL record: 54,115.
27 min: West Ham 0-0 Man City It’s been pretty one-sided so far, with City having over 70 per cent possession. But neither side has had a shot on target.
Match report: Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd
Pete Lansley was at Villa Park to watch Rachel Williams score an injury-time winner for Manchester United.
66 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Arsenal are starting to put the squeeze on. Steph Catley’s inswinging corner clatters off the near post, then Jen Beattie has a shot blocked by one of her teammates.
63 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool A chance for Arsenal, with Cloe Lacasse heading wide from Frida Maanum’s inswinging cross. The angle was pretty tight, so it wasn’t the easiest chance.
The latest scores
Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd (FT)
Everton 1-2 Brighton (FT)
Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool (2pm)
Bristol City 1-3 Leicester City (2pm)
West Ham 0-0 Man City (3pm)
59 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool It’s very quiet at the Emirates. Liverpool’s composed excellence has taken everyone by surprise.
GOAL! Bristol City 1-3 Leicester (Petermann 52)
A debut goal for Lena Petermann, who thumps a header past Fran Bentley from a left-wing corner. That’s a cracking finish.
53 min: Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool No response yet from Arsenal, who looked slightly stunned by the scoreline.
GOAL! Bristol City 1-2 Leicester (O'Brien 49)
Leicester have come from behind to lead at Ashton Gate. They worked the ball neatly from right to left, where Shannon O’Brien had far too much time to scrape a drive inside the near post.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool (Taylor 48)
Liverpool lead at the Emirates! Marie Hobinger did well to release Missy Bo Kearns on the right side of the area, and her cutback was rolled slowly into the net by Miri Taylor.
1 min: West Ham 0-0 Man City Peep peep! The match is under way at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Full time: Everton 1-2 Brighton
Peep peep! A fine start for Brighton, who have won at Everton thanks to two early goals from Elisabeth Terland.
90+2 min: Everton 1-2 Brighton A frustrated Lucy Hope punches the corner flag, which then hits Pauline Bremer in the face. The referee saw it but didn’t penalise Hope.
Half time: Bristol City 1-1 Leicester
All square at Ashton Gate. Carrie Jones put newly promoted Bristol City in front but Aimee Palmer equalised with an outstanding goal.
GOAL! Bristol City 1-1 Leicester (45+2)
A cracking equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Lena Petermann’s shot was blocked brilliantly by Sophie Howard, but Aimee Palmer collected the loose ball 20 yards and smashed a swirling left-foot shot past Fran Bentley. That’s a helluva goal against her old club.
Half-time: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool
A frustrating half for Arsenal in front of a bumper crowd at the Emirates. Liverpool keeper Rachael Laws made two good saves and one outstanding one, but it wasn’t one-way traffic. At the other hand, Jen Beattie made a goal-saving challenge to deny Taylor Hinds.
44 min: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool A swirling long-range drive from Kim Little is well saved by Rachael Laws. In other, less surprising news, Katie McCabe has just been booked for dissent.
The latest scores
Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd (FT)
Everton 1-2 Brighton (1pm)
Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool (2pm)
Bristol City 1-0 Leicester City (2pm)
37 min: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool At the Emirates, Rachael Laws has made another good save, tipping a volley from Frida Maanum over the bar.
GOAL! Bristol City 1-0 Leicester (Jones 33)
Carrie Jones has put newly promoted Bristol City in front! She made space neatly on the edge and hit a deflected shot that gave Janina Leitzig no chance.
30 min: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool Jen Beattie makes a goal-saving tackle on Taylor Hinds, who was about to score after Manuela Zinsberger dropped a cross.
GOAL! Everton 1-2 Brighton (Finnigan 66)
A bit of hope for Everton at Walton Hall Park. A corner from the right bounced kindly for Megan Finnigan, and she belted a low shot into the corner. That’s a really good finish.
Full time: Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd
Manchester United start their season with a dramatic, hard-fought victory at Villa Park. A previously quiet game exploded in the last quarter. Villa’s Kirsty Hanson was sent off against her old club, then Rachel Daly gave them the lead with an expert finish. The impressive Lucia Garcia willed an equaliser for United, and Rachel Williams won it in injury-time with a superb header.
90_8 min: Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd Van Domselaar comes up for a Villa corner, but United get the ball away. That should be it.
21 min: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool Rachael Laws has just made a fantastic save, changing direction to claw away a header from Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Nikita Parris’s cross took a deflection and looped towards the far post, where Williams backpedalled to force a header back across goal. Van Domselaar was flat-footed and the ball bounced slowly into the net. The keeper might have done better – I think it took her by surprise – but it was a superb header.
GOAL! Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd (Williams 90+2)
The supersub has won it for United!
90 min: Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd Zelem’s curler from the edge of the area is pawed round the post by the flying Van Domselaar. That’s her second high-class save of the match. There will be eight minutes of added time.
16 min: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool We’ll concentrate more on this game when the match at Villa Park is over. It looks like Arsenal are well on top, although they haven’t tested Rachael Laws yet.
87 min: Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd The 10 women of Villa are defending pretty comfortably, although they will remember what happened in this game last season: Millie Turner scored an injury-time winner for United.
84 min: Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd Lucia Garcia has caused all kinds of problems since switching to the left wing when Leah Galton went off.
West Ham v Man City team news
City’s big summer signing Jill Roord makes her debut, as does Riko Ueki for West Ham.
81 min: Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd Hinata Miyazawa, winner of the Golden Boot at the World Cup, has come on for Hayley Ladd.
GOAL! Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd (L Garcia 80)
United equalise straight away. Zelem’s corner led to a scramble on the six-yard line, and Lucia Garcia forced a shot between Turner, on the line, and the near post.
The latest scores
Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd (12.30pm)
Everton 0-2 Brighton (1pm)
Bristol City 0-0 Leicester City (2pm)
Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool (2pm)
That’s a terrific finish from Rachel Daly. She controlled Leon’s cross, off balance and under pressure from Le Tissier, and rifled a shot on the turn that beat Earps at the near post.
GOAL! Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd (Daly 76)
The player of last season has done it again!
76 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Now United appeal for a penalty when Williams’ header hits the fist of Patten. Her hands were close to her body so that’s a fair enough decision.
74 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd: Hanson sent off! And now Villa are down to ten. Kirsty Hanson has been given a straight red card on her Villa debut, against her old club. She miscontrolled the ball and studded Hayley Ladd in the chest as she tried to make up for her error. It wasn’t deliberate but it was reckless.
74 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd I think Le Tissier got a touch on the ball, which in context would make it a fair challenge, though I wouldn’t swear by it. There’s no VAR.
73 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Villa have a penalty appeal turned down after a clumsy sliding challenge by Le Tissier on Daly. I’d like to see that again. United break and Lucia Garcia curls just wide from the edge of the area.
71 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd This is Villa’s best spell of the game by a distance, and Rachel Corsie has just headed straight at Mary Earps from Lucy Staniforth’s free-kick.
United respond by bringing on Nikita Parris for Leah Galton.
67 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd The corner is half cleared to Daly, back on the field and lurking on the edge of the area. She tries a quick-witted, half-volleyed chip that loops over Earps and hits the top of the crossbar.
66 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Villa are having a good spell. Hanson plays a one-two with Staniforth and wins a corner off Le Tissier.
Before the corner is taken, United bring on Rachel Williams for Geyse, who was terrific in the first half and quiet in the second. Villa bring on Adriana Leon for Alisha Lehmann.
“I was ludicrously optimistic for Arsenal’s prospects this season, until they got knocked out of the Champions League by Paris FC, and now I’m fearing the worst,” says Kári Tulinius. “In real life I’m fairly placid, but when it comes to football I’m like a paper airplane on a gusty day. Anyway, bring on the emotional storm.”
64 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Ebony Salmon goes down off the ball in the United area, which leads to a brief row between Lucy Staniforth and a couple of the United players. It was a cynical block from Maya Le Tissier, though the contact was outside the area. She would have been booked had the referee seen it.
Half time: Everton 0-2 Brighton A terrific start to the season for Brighton, who lead through two early goals from Elisabeth Terland.
61 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Rachel Daly is down and looks in a lot of pain. It looked like an innocuous challenge, so I’m not sure what happened. She’s able to limp to the touchline for more treatment.
56 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd George inadvertently heads Lehmann in the back, which gives Villa a free-kick on the right wing. Nothing comes of it. It’s been quite a scruffy game, this.
53 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd There’s been a bit more urgency from United at the second half. Galton surges infield once more and has a right-footed shot blocked by Corsie (I think); then Lucia Garcia shoots wide from distance.
46 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd They’re back on at Villa Park, where Villa have made a half-time substitution. Ebony Salmon, who rejoined Villa from Houston Dash in the summer, is on for Laura Blindkilde Brown.
More on Arsenal v Liverpool, which kicks off at 2pm.
23 min: Everton 0-2 Brighton Everton almost get one back when Nicoline Sorensen thunders a shot across the crossbar.
Bristol City v Leicester City team news
Bristol City (possible 3-4-3) Bentley; Murray, Aspin, Layzell; Powell, Rodgers, Furness, Connolly; Morgan, Thestrup, Jones.
Substitutes: Marckese, Hayles, Napier, Mustaki, Bull, Syme, Simpson, Teisar, Ward.
Leicester City (possible 4-3-1-2) Leitzig; Nevin, Howard, Thibaud, Tierney; Cayman, Palmer, Whelan; O’Brien; Petermann, Goodwin.
Substitutes: Mears, Bott, Green, Robinson, Baker, Rantala, Rose, Cain.
Half time: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd A low-key first half at Villa Park. United were the better team, with Geyse impressive, but struggled to create clear chances. Geyse forced one terrific save from Villa’s new goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar; that aside, both keepers had little to do.
GOAL! Everton 0-2 Brighton (Terland 14)
Brighton are running riot, or rather Elisabeth Terland is. She ran onto a neat through pass from Katie Robinson, timing her run perfectly, and poked the ball past Emily Ramsey.
43 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Toone is booked for dissent.
41 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Geyse’s excellent cross is only half cleared to Ladd, who slips as she tries to shoot. Geyse is having a fine debut, causing Villa real problems when she pulls out to the right.
11 min: Everton 0-1 Brighton Everton can’t deal with Elisabeth Terland at all. She’s scored one and had two other half chances already.
38 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd A chance for Villa. Parker guides a nice pass through to Lehmann, who shoots over from the edge of the area. Blundell slid across as she took the shot but it was still a pretty good chance.
GOAL! Everton 0-1 Brighton (Terland 3)
The first goal of the new season has been scored by Brighton’s Elisabeth Terland! Katie Robinson’s cracking long-range shot pinged off the bar, and Terland reacted quickest to head the rebound into the net.
32 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Geyse is booked, perhaps harshly, after a clash of heads with Dan Turner.
Arsenal v Liverpool team news
Alessia Russo and Cloe Lacasse makes their WSL debuts for Arsenal. Liverpool include summer signings Gemma Fisk, Jenna Clark and Marie Hobinger.
Arsenal (possible 4-3-3) Zinsberger, Catley, Beattie, Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Little, Maanum, Walti, Lacasse, Russo, Foord.
Substitutes: D’Angelo, Maritz, Hurtig, Pelova, Kuhl, Blackstenius, Codina, Ilestedt, Cooney-Cross.
Liverpool (possible 3-4-1-2) Laws; Fisk, Bonner, Clark; Koivisto, Nagano, Kearns, Hinds; Holland; Taylor, Hobinger.
Substitutes: Enderby, Lundgaard, Micah, Flint, Parry.
29 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Another half-chance for United, with Galton curling high and wide with her right foot. It feels like a goal is coming.
28 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Turner heads straight at the keeper from Zelem’s free-kick. A quarter-chance.
27 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Now Hanson brings Geyse down, though the referee settles for a warning rather than a yellow card. It looked like a bookable offence.
26 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd The impressive Geyse bursts away from Rachel Corsie, who brings her down and is booked.
24 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd A decent effort from Leah Galton, who cuts inside from the left and curls over from 25 yards.
20 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd United are dominating without creating too many chances. Despite the loss of Alessia Russo, they have the same attacking and defensive midfielders as last season and their rhythm has been good. Geyse looks sharp too.
14 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd A punt upfield is collected by Geyse, who moves into the area and clips a shot across goal that is superbly saved by the diving Van Domselaar. It was low to her right, from a tight angle, and she got down smartly to tip it round the post.
13 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Parker is booked for a really poor tackle on Zelem. Some referees would have sent her off for that.
11 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Toone almost puts Geyes through on goal with a very clever reverse pass. It’s slightly too heavy and van Domselaar comes out to claim.
8 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd United are starting to find their attacking rhythm. Toone breaks down the left and plays the ball back to Zelem, whose cross deflects behind for a corner.
3 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd A lively start from Villa. Daly’s deft touch releases Hanson, whose low cross is miskicked by Lehmann. Then Staniforth pings one from distance, and Earps plays safe by pushing the ball away rather than trying to catch.
1 min: Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd Peep peep! Hayley Ladd passes the ball to Katie Zelem, and the 2023-24 season is up and running.
Aston Villa v Man Utd The players are on the field. Before the match they will be a minute’s silence in memory of Maddy Cusack, who died last week aged 27.
Aston Villa will be wearing their home kit today, despite concerns about how much sweat it retains.
Everton v Brighton team news
Everton (possible 3-4-1-2) Ramsey; Veje, Bjorn, Stenevik; Olesen, Finnigan, Galli, Hope; Bennison; Sorensen, Piemonte.
Substitutes: Brosnan, Wheeler, Vanhaevermaet, Duggan, Bissell, Payne, Aherne, Wilding.
Brighton & Hove Albion (possible 3-4-3) Baggaley; Bergsvand, Thorisdottir, Kullberg; Pattinson, Losada, Robinson, Bremer; Lee, Terland, Zigiotti Olme.
Substitutes: Evrard, Sarri, Carabali, Hawkesby, Pinto, Symonds, Rule, Startup.
Who won the transfer window? Nobody, obviously, because it’s not a quantifiable competition. But some clubs had more joy than others.
Emma Hayes’ Chelsea are aiming to win their fifth successive title. Sophie Downey looks at whether anyone can stop them.
Aston Villa v Man Utd team news
Four of Villa’s summer signings start: Daphne van Domselaar, Anna Patten, Lucy Parker – and Kirsty Hanson, who joined the club from Manchester United.
Marc Skinner includes two of United’s summer signings, Gabby George and Geyse. World Cup stars Irene Guerrero and Hinata Miyazawa are on the bench.
Aston Villa (possible 4-3-3) Van Domselaar; Mayling, Patten, Parker, Turner; Blindkilde, Corsie, Staniforth; Lehmann, Daly, Hanson.
Substitutes: Leat, Nobbs, McLoughlin, Salmon, Mullett, Magill, Leon, Pacheco.
Man Utd (possible 4-2-3-1) Earps; Blundell, Le Tissier, Turner, George; Ladd, Zelem; L Garcia, Toone, Galton; Geyse.
Substitutes: Tullis-Joyce, Evans, Rabjohn, Riviere, Miyazawa, Irene Guerrero, Naalsund, Parris, Williams.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the opening day of the WSL season. England’s triumphant World Cup (in the Italia 90 sense) and the rapid growth of women’s football makes this the most keenly anticipated season of all.
We’ll be covering all six games in a special, marathon, pressure-sore-inducing opening-day clockwatch. The most intriguing is probably at Villa Park, where Aston Villa, easily the best of the rest last season, host title-chasing Manchester United.
The champions Chelsea host Spurs in the late game, Arsenal play Liverpool at the Emirates and Manchester City have a tricky trip to West Ham. Most excitingly of all, a host of star signings, from Alessia Russo to Hinata Miyazawa, should make WSL debuts for their new teams.
We shouldn’t pretend that everything is brilliant – equality remains a thing of the future, and the WSL is a 12-team league in name and a four-team league in nature – but it’s probably fair to say women’s football has never been in a better state.
These are today’s games.
Aston Villa v Man Utd (12.30pm)
Everton v Brighton (1pm)
Bristol City v Leicester City (2pm)
Arsenal v Liverpool (2pm)
West Ham v Man City (3pm)
Chelsea v Tottenham (5.30pm)