Beth Mead, Steph Houghton: 6 standout players from the opening WSL weekend

Steph Houghton and Beth Mead

The Women’s Super League is back. The new broadcast deal is in full swing and after just one weekend of action, we’ve already been treated to some thrillers.

Arsenal shocked champions Chelsea to start their campaign in perfect fashion under new boss Jonas Eidevall, while United head coach Marc Skinner also registered his first three points with a 2-0 win over Reading.

Meanwhile, Man City and Brighton eased to victory against Everton and West Ham respectively –– Tottenham edged past Birmingham 1-0 and Aston Villa got the better of the newly promoted Leicester 2-1.

There were a number of fine individual performances across the six games. We’ve picked out one player from each fixture who stood out the most:

Beth Mead

The English forward only scored four goals last season and was not a part of Hege Riise’s Team GB squad for the Olympic Games.

Mead showcased her quality in abundance against Chelsea though, expertly finishing past Ann-Katrin Berger early in the second half to give Arsenal the lead. Minutes later, she was on the scoresheet again –– dribbling bast Berger and keeping her composure to steer home the Gunners’ third.

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There was controversy with Mead’s second goal which looked to be clearly offside on replay, but the 26-year-old was nonetheless a standout performer on the day.

Arsenal have a plethora of attacking options to pick from now after the arrival of Nikita Parris and Tobin Heath, yet it’ll be tough to drop Mead after a performance like that.

Ona Batlle

Despite being a full-back, Batlle was at the heart of Man United’s attacking play and scored the side’s second goal in their win over Reading.

The Spaniard has proved to be an outstanding signing since moving from Levante in 2020 –– winning United’s Player of the Season award last year.

Batlle is still just 22 years old and with 11 caps for Spain already, she is continuing to establish herself as one of the finest defenders in the league.

Ona Batlle

Remi Allen

Allen played a key role for Leicester in their promotion to the WSL last year and marked her debut for Villa by scoring the winner against her old club.

The English veteran has bags of WSL experience, having played for the likes of Birmingham and Reading.

At 30 years old, Allen is still searching for her first England cap. With performances like this though, there is still a chance new coach Sarina Wiegman might like what she sees.

Remi Allen

Steph Houghton

Man City thrashed Champions League hopefuls Everton 4-0, with a stunning Houghton free kick the pick of the goals.

The City captain scored a curling effort from outside the penalty area to leave keeper Sandy MacIver motionless.

Houghton also marshalled her defence brilliantly as City kept a clean sheet to start the season in the perfect way.

Steph Houghton

Kit Graham

Tottenham endured a horrible run at the end of last season but started this campaign well after edging to victory against Birmingham.

It was Graham who scored the winner just after half-time, and that goal could prove to be the first of many this year for the English forward.

The 25-year-old had scored just five goals in two years for Spurs up until yesterday, but this could mark the start of a more prolific campaign.

Inessa Kaagman

Kaagman was one of Brighton’s stars last season, scoring eight goals as the Seagulls finished sixth.

Hope Powell’s side ended their last campaign in fine style and picked up where they left off with a convincing 2-0 win over West Ham.

Inessa Kaagman

The Dutch midfielder was once again at the centre of the action and converted a penalty on 33 minutes to give Brighton the lead.

The Seagulls will hope they can close the gap on the top four this season and build on last year’s excellent showing.

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