WSL talking points: Record set to fall in London as Liverpool dreams realised
The key talking points from this weekend’s round of Women’s Super League action.
Box Office encounter
Saturday’s North London Derby is set to attract the largest ever Women’s Super League attendance, with more than 38,000 seats at the Emirates already having been sold.
With both of the men’s sides out of action for the international break and Euro 2022 fever in full swing, there is a chance that the total gate could exceed 50,000 on the day.
Ahead of the opening of the WSL season, Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall spoke at length about how players must repay fans’ interest with quality on the pitch.
“In the end, it’s about creating a product that means so much to people that you go there and you watch the game even if it’s a snowstorm!” Eidevall said.
“You go there and watch even if it’s not convenient because you care so much about the team and you want to be there so much.
“We try to do our best on the pitch to create that.”
Old foes reunite
On Sunday, Everton and Liverpool will go head to head for the first time since 2019 on the grand stage at Anfield.
Since the teams last met, the Reds suffered relegation into the Championship but clawed their way up again - and have made a fine start to life back in the top flight.
After a barnstorming promotion-winning season, Liverpool strengthened significantly over the summer, with the likes of Gilly Flaherty and Shanice van de Sanden joining Matt Beard’s side.
On the opening weekend, the Reds disrupted Chelsea’s title defence by claiming a shock 2-1 win.
Everton, meanwhile, suffered a disappointing 2021/2022 season and showed little sign of having blown the cobwebs away in their curtain-raiser, a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United.
The Merseyside derby is a huge occasion, but one that has special significance for Scouse midfielder Missy Bo Kearns, who recently signed a contract extension with Liverpool.
“Growing up, I wanted to be Steven Gerrard, I wanted to play on the pitch,” Kearns said.
“It’s a place that I used to love coming as a kid and I still love coming now, and it’s going to be unbelievable for that dream to come true.”
Who will bounce back better?
Of the traditional ‘big three’, only Arsenal were able to deliver the expected result on the opening day of the WSL season.
Chelsea players ‘couldn’t hit a barn door’, according to boss Emma Hayes, as her side fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to newcomers Liverpool, while a summer of significant departures told in Manchester City’s struggle to get a grip against Aston Villa in a thrilling 4-3 defeat.
For neutrals, the results point toward a more competitive and exciting WSL after recent champions have only lost one or two matches across the course of a whole campaign, but both City and Chelsea enjoyed strong pre-seasons and would have expected to do better against the likes of Villa and Liverpool.
This weekend, they’ll face each other - with each team needing to show fans a statement of intent, it is set to be a fascinating contest.