Reigning Women's Super League champions Chelsea didn't get their 2021/22 campaign off to the start they'd imagined.
The Blues were thwarted by a resilient Arsenal side, who were adamant they weren't coming away with anything but a victory on home soil.
Despite Chelsea's best efforts, they were held at bay by the Gunners, who ran out 3-2 winners.
But this was all it took for the champions to get back into their rhythm, and they thumped Everton 4-0 the following week at Kingsmeadow.
GiveMeSport Women sat down with Chelsea midfielder and Canadian international Jessie Fleming to get her thoughts on the season ahead.
A shaky start
Fleming, who returns to the WSL after winning gold with Canada at the Tokyo Olympics, admitted the team took the loss badly at first but have already moved on from it.
"It's never the way you want to start the season off but then putting it into perspective, it's one game in a long season, so you just have to move on and learn from it."
She went on to say that all that was needed to bounce back against Everton the following week was "tweaks to the system."
Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, and Bethany England all found the back of the net to get the Blues up and running. They currently sit in fifth place in the WSL table, ahead of title rivals Manchester City on goal difference.
WSL title challenge
The WSL prides itself in its competitive football, but this season is arguably looking to be the most competitive yet.
In a shock twist of events, Brighton & Hove Albion top the table with maximum points so far. They have netted seven goals and conceded none in the first two matches of the season. Behind them are Arsenal, Manchester United, and Spurs, who have all also won two out of two.
"I think it's exciting," Fleming said of the level of competition already. "For us at Chelsea, we want to win the league but we also recognise and appreciate how good it is for the league that it's competitive and it's unpredictable to see who might top the table and who might fall.
"It forces us to keep looking at ways to get better as individuals and as a team so we can come out on top this season."
Pushing for Chelsea's third consecutive title
Chelsea have dominated the WSL for the last two seasons and will be eyeing up their third consecutive league title and fifth overall under Emma Hayes.
After recruiting the likes of rising star Lauren James and Netherlands international Aniek Nouwen, the Blues are well-padded across all areas of the pitch.
While they may face the threat of Arsenal, who have signed Nikita Parris and Mana Iwabuchi, plus Man City with new recruits Vicky Losada and Bunny Shaw, Fleming has no doubts about Chelsea's potential.
When asked if she thought the Blues could win the WSL again this season, the midfielder was fully confident in her answer.
"100 percent. It seems like such a straightforward answer to me but I think from my perspective, there's just a positive vibe with the group and it's almost exactly the same group as last year. So I think we've been able to build on some of those partnerships and we're confident.
"Even the players on international duty are eager to get back and start playing again. We're excited to have them back and get back together as a group and start rolling."News Now - Sport News