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Winners & Losers

Twelve in a row! Women's Super League winners and losers as Arsenal equal record and Chelsea beat bogey team

1:39 PM IST 24/10/22
Women's Super League composite
The Gunners looked slick away at Liverpool while Chelsea overcame Brighton during another dramatic round of WSL action.

Arsenal are top of the Women's Super League table and one victory away from an historic feat after they beat Liverpool on Sunday, though they have Manchester United and Chelsea hot on their heels.

Victory over West Ham next weekend would make it a record-breaking 13th consecutive victory for the high-flying Gunners.

Head coach Jonas Eidevall isn't too bothered about his side's remarkable run but he's aware of what maintaining that kind of form could lead to, with Arsenal pursuing a first trophy in three years.

However, it's worth noting that Manchester United have an identical record to the leaders, having maintained their own perfect start to the season with victory at Leicester.

Chelsea also have 12 points on the board, albeit having played a game more, thanks to a 2-0 win over bogey team Brighton.

So, we could be in for an epic title race and a close fight for Champions League spots, while the battle to beat the drop will also be intense.

Below, GOAL picks out the winners and losers from this latest round of Women's Super League action...

  • Chelsea Women 2022-23

    WINNER: Chelsea

    Things could have easily gone against Chelsea on Sunday.

    The Blues rotated heavily after a big midweek win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Women's Champions League, benching captain Magdalena Eriksson and Sam Kerr among others.

    They did so against a Brighton side that have become something of a bogey team for them, too. The Seagulls have taken points off the reigning champions in each of the last three seasons, after being promoted in 2019.

    With the game goalless at the break, the possibility of dropped points was even more of a threat, a pitch heavily affected by the torrential rain stopping the visitors from creating much in open play.

    However, in their third game without manager Emma Hayes, who is recovering from surgery, Chelsea picked up all three points.

    It was a win that showed the strength in depth at the club. Beth England, who has almost become a back-up to Kerr, broke the deadlock on a rare start, while assistant coach Denise Reddy steered the team to victory, subbing on Pernille Harder to score the second late on.

    There were signs that this wouldn't be a happy outing at all for Chelsea, but champions always find a way to win.

  • Rachel Daly Aston Villa Women 2022-23

    LOSER: Rachel Daly

    Only Manchester City's Bunny Shaw has more goals in the WSL this season than Rachel Daly, the England international who returned home after a six-year spell in the United States this summer.

    She's been the main outlet for an Aston Villa side that struggled massively for goals last year, with no team scoring fewer in the 2021-22 campaign.

    To watch her leave the pitch with injury in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Everton, then, will be of big concern. Daly jumped with Toffees goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan to challenge for a cross, collided with her and then saw her opponent land on top of her as both fell to the ground.

    We'll find out in the coming days what the impact of that incident is, with Villa – and Daly – hoping that it isn't as bad as it seems ahead of an extremely difficult away trip to Chelsea.

  • Nikita Parris Manchester United Women 2022-23

    WINNER: Nikita Parris

    It's been a difficult start to life at Manchester United for Nikita Parris, in keeping with a difficult past year or so.

    The forward struggled for game time with Arsenal last season, played a bit-part role in England's Euro campaign despite emerging a European champion and hasn't hit the ground running for her new club, having moved to Manchester in the summer.

    However, Sunday might prove a turning point.

    The 28-year-old started as United travelled to bottom club Leicester in what proved to be a trying assignment for the club joint-top of the WSL table. It was a poor performance, which came as a surprise given the great form the team is in.

    The reason they left with three points, though, was thanks to Parris' first league goal for the club – a wonderful first-half header.

    It will have done her the world of good not just to get on the scoresheet, but to have contributed such an important goal, too, and might be just what she needs to kick on in United red.

  • Rachel Rowe Reading Women 2022-23

    LOSER: Reading

    With Manchester United and Arsenal making up two of Reading's opening three WSL fixtures, it was always going to be a tricky start to the season for the Royals. After losing to Brighton in between those two games, it became four defeats in a row in the league on Sunday when they were beaten at West Ham.

    Given the tough matches Kelly Chambers' side have started with, it felt like this one against an opponent not in that 'top four' was even more important. Sadly, they gave themselves a mountain to climb when they fell three goals behind with less than half an hour on the clock.

    Reading showed character to bring it back to 3-2 but this was an opportunity missed, with a red card for Hawa Cissokho last week adding to injury woes for West Ham in defence to deplete them further.

    Instead, the Royals remain without a point on the board and next week they will take on the only other team in the league who have also lost all of their games so far: Leicester. It already feels like an early season six-pointer.

  • Frida Maanum Arsenal Women 2022-23

    WINNER: Frida Maanum

    Arsenal midfielder Frida Maanum hadn't started a game yet this season until she played a sensational starring role in the Gunners' 5-1 victory over European champions Lyon in midweek, getting herself on the scoresheet for her efforts.

    It was no surprise, then, that she kept her place in the starting line-up for Sunday's trip to newly-promoted Liverpool, who showed on the opening weekend that they could be a handful by beating champions Chelsea.

    The Reds, though, couldn't handle the Norwegian, who was absolutely brilliant once again. Only Steph Catley, on set pieces, created more chances in the game and no one completed more passes in the final third.

    But Maanum's stand-out moment on the day was her goal, a lovely run into the box ending with an emphatic finish that doubled Arsenal's lead, made sure of the three points and sent them top of the table.

    Two starts, two goals and two wins – not a bad week's work.

  • Katie Stengel Liverpool Women 2022-23

    LOSER: Katie Stengel

    While Arsenal looked sharp and slick in the final third this weekend, Liverpool didn't.

    The Reds didn't play badly and had some good spells against a record-equalling team, but they are desperately missing the presence of Leanne Kiernan, their top-scorer last season, and lack a creative spark in attack.

    Matt Beard's side did put a lot of crosses in the box and utilised the long throw of Megan Campbell as much as possible, but Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger was in top form to deal with all of that and ensure very few chances were created.

    It's a shame, really, because Liverpool have a fantastic striker leading the line in Katie Stengel. The American has scored for fun since arriving at the club in January, but she can only do so much when she has no service. She had just one shot in this game, and even that was blocked.

    The good news is that Beard believes Shanice van de Sanden, the three-time Champions League winner that re-signed for the Reds this summer, could be available very soon after injury. She'd be welcomed warmly into this struggling attack, particularly by Stengel, who is feeding on scraps at the moment.