LONDON — Mia Fishel scored on her Chelsea debut as the reigning Women’s Super League champions got off to a winning start by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at home, while Arsenal suffered a shock defeat by Liverpool as the season got underway.
American striker Fishel got Chelsea’s campaign for a fifth title in a row underway when she headed home a cross from Niamh Charles in the 28th minute, and Charles supplied another superb assist for Lauren James to make it 2-0 in the 51st minute.
Martha Thomas threw Spurs a lifeline by poking a loose ball past Zecira Musovic in the 76th minute, her first goal for her new club, but Chelsea held firm to take all three points at Stamford Bridge.
Across London, Arsenal may have set a WSL crowd record of 54,115 at the Emirates, but the vast majority of those fans went home unhappy after Miri Taylor got the only goal to give Liverpool, who didn’t manage a single away win last season, a shock 1-0 victory.
The attendance broke the previous record of 47,367, also set at the Emirates when Arsenal beat Tottenham 4-0 in September 2022.
Chelsea returned to the pitch re-energised and determined to put the game to bed. They peppered Spurs’s goal with shots before Lauren James finally made it count.
She had been denied by the woodwork minutes earlier but there was nothing stopping this one, a sublime volley off a Charles cross. It was a trademark goal for the young England forward.
Earlier, Manchester United kicked off the season by coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1, with all the goals coming after Villa had Kirsty Hanson sent off in the 74th minute.
Manchester City survived the sending-off of Leila Ouahabi to cruise to a 2-0 win away to West Ham United, while Norway’s Elisabeth Terland struck twice as Brighton also won on the road, beating Everton 2-1.
Despite getting the opening goal through Carrie Jones, newly-promoted Bristol City got a taste of the hard road ahead as they were beaten 4-2 at home by Leicester City, who finished 10th in the 12-team league last term.
Elisabeth Terland scored twice in the first half as Brighton opened their WSL campaign with a 2-0 win at Everton.
Norway forward Terland headed in after the ball came back off the crossbar to give the visitors a third-minute lead and soon added a second after being played in by Katie Robinson.
Everton captain Megan Finnigan reduced the deficit just after the hour, but the home side were unable to conjure an equaliser.
Manchester City won 2-0 at West Ham as Jill Roord scored on her debut.
Lauren Hemp broke the deadlock early in the second half with a curling effort before Chloe Kelly then saw her penalty saved.
Netherlands international Roord, a club-record summer signing from Wolfsburg, slotted in to open her City account in the 55th minute.
City finished a player down after Leila Ouahabi was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Emma Harries, but the Hammers could not get themselves back into the game.