Soccer-Chelsea down Spurs, Arsenal lose to Liverpool as WSL kicks off

Soccer Football - Women's Super League - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - October 1, 2023 Chelsea's Mia Fishel celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 on Sunday.

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.

Earlier in the day, 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 & Hove Albion 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.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, additional reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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