The Women's Super League promises to bring another season full of action as the start of the 2021/22 campaign edges closer.
The fixture list for the opening round has been released – here's a closer look at each match and what to expect from the teams:
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Reigning champions Chelsea will want to get stuck in straight away as they set their sights on a third consecutive WSL title. However, with a new manager and some new signings to boot, Arsenal won't be making it easy for their London rivals.
The Gunners finished third last season after a tough battle with Manchester United for the final Champiosn League spot. They'll be hoping to cause upset to Emma Hayes, but the Blues have also strengthened and will be wasting no time in battling for their first win of the season.
Aston Villa v Leicester City
Newcomers Leicester will enter the lions' den in their first WSL fixture. The Foxes stormed to victory in the Championship last season and have since recruited the likes of Jemma Purfield, Jess Sigsworth and Scotland international Abbi Grant.
However, Aston Villa have also been doing some summer business of their own. After acquiring manager Carla Ward from Birmingham City, the Villans poached Sarah Mayling and Meaghan Sargeant, as well as Switzlerland international Alisha Lehmann.
This will definitely be one to keep your eye on as Leicester look to bag their first win and Villa aim to avoid another relegation scrap.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs West Ham United
Dark horses Brighton shocked many last season after they finished sixth in the table, ahead of Reading. The Seagulls will be eager to secure a positive start and will see West Ham as an opponent they can easily take three points from.
Indeed, the Irons narrowly escaped relegation last season with some last gasp positive results to avoid the drop. After a summer of rest, they'll be entering the new season with a fresh mindset and eyes set on avoiding another relegation battle.
Everton v Manchester City
This could perhaps be the fixture to watch when the opening weekend gets underway. While Manchester City piled the pressure on champions Chelsea last season, Everton have been quietly strengthening their side this summer and could be a very difficult side to beat.
Equipped with new arrivals including Toni Duggan and Kenza Dali, the Toffees are looking dangerous and have pushed City to their limits before. This match could definitely be a battle of wits as Man City try to climb to the top of the table and Everton inch closer to the top three.
Manchester United v Reading
Man United narrowly missed out on Champions League football last season and will be hungry to make sure the same mistakes aren't made this term. However, the Reds have lost key parts of their squad, including USA internationals Tobin Heath and Christen Press, and manager Casey Stoney.
Reading struggled at times last campaign and looked a shadow of their usual resilient self. Facing Man United in the opening weekend will be a test of nerve as they look to redeem their 2020/21 performances – but who will blink first?
Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City
This fixture could be extremely interesting given both teams' form last season. Birmingham were part of the four-team relegation fight and narrowly avoided the drop by just two points at the end of the season. Equally, Spurs really struggled on occasion and managed to register just five wins out of 22 games played.
Tottenham also lost star striker Rianna Dean to Liverpool this summer window and Birmingham are experiencing yet another transfer exodus. This could be a real cat-and-mouse fight between these two sides.
The 2021/22 Women's Super League season will kick off on September 3rd, with the opening fixtures staggered up until the 5th. The BBC and Sky Sports have acquired rights to broadcast live WSL fixtures in a historic three-year deal.News Now - Sport News