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WSL roundup: Everything that happened on matchday seven

It was another dramatic weekend in the WSL on matchday seven, headlined by Manchester City’s victory over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Gareth Taylor’s side emerged 3-1 winners after outclassing their neighbours on their own patch, but they weren’t the only heavyweight side to taste success.

Chelsea dominated Liverpool in a six-goal thriller, courtesy of a fine Lauren James performance, and Arsenal strung together their fifth consecutive WSL win by seeing off a plucky Brighton & Hove Albion.

Here’s 90min’s roundup of everything that happened and things you might have missed.

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Lauren James netted for first hat-trick for ChelseaLauren James netted for first hat-trick for Chelsea

Lauren James netted for first hat-trick for Chelsea / Gaspafotos/MB Media/GettyImages

Lauren James was the star of the show for Chelsea as they breezed past Liverpool 5-1 to move three points clear at the top of the WSL table.

It was a show-stopping performance from James, who bagged the first of three goals with a crisp strike from inside the penalty area, although Liverpool weren’t derailed by her opening of the scoring, pulling level thanks to Jess Carter’s own goal.

James assisted Aggie Beever-Jones for a fourth goal in as many games, before the woman of the hour netted a quick-fire brace to register her first hat-trick for Chelsea.

Sjoeke Nusken added the gloss with a fifth, but perhaps the most significant event on the day was Sophie Ingle breaking Kerys Harrop’s record of most appearances in the WSL – the Welsh captain appeared for the 184th time in her career.

Carrie JonesCarrie Jones

Bristol City and Everton shared the spoils at Walton Hall Park / Jess Hornby/GettyImages

Amalie Thestrup’s 82nd minute equaliser rescued a point for Bristol City against Everton at Walton Hall Park,

The Toffees are still yet to register a home win in this season’s WSL but looked to be on their way when Martina Piemonte opened the scoring after just five minutes.

Amy Mae Rodgers levelled in first half stoppage-time, only for Everton captain Megan Finnigan to restore Everton’s lead just before the hour mark. The Robins weren’t to be denied though, with Thestrup’s pinpoint floated effort evading Courtney Brosnan for a hard-earned share of the spoils.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal FC - Barclays Women´s Super LeagueBrighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal FC - Barclays Women´s Super League

Arsenal recorded their fifth WSL win in a row / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Arsenal bagged their first clean sheet of the season with a convincing 3-0 win over Brighton at Broadfield Stadium.

Beth Mead started for the Gunners, a year to the day after tearing her ACL, and celebrated her return in style as Stina Blackstenius grabbed the game’s opening goal.

An ambitious but superb long-range strike from Caitlin Foord doubled Arsenal’s advantage, leaving Sophie Baggaley with no chance, before Frida Maanum condemned the Seagulls to their fourth defeat of the season with an injury-time third.

The game was played out in front of a sell-out 4,921 crowd – support that lead Jonas Eidevall to say of the hefty travelling support: “It’s huge for us because the support is tremendous and helps us so much. With what we’re trying to build and what we as a club can capitalise on, it’s unique and special.”

Martha ThomasMartha Thomas

Tottenham rescued a point in the second half / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Leicester and Tottenham took a point away from their clash at King Power Stadium – a result that saw a marked improvement defensively from the Foxes after their home humbling at the hands of Arsenal.

Janice Cayman netted once again for the Foxes, slotting a composed finish past Becky Spencer, but Celine Bizet was on hand to cancel that goal out after collecting Martha Thomas’ through ball and finishing with aplomb past Janina Leitzig.

Spurs drew their third successive game with the result, though Robert Vilahamn was in optimistic mood after a spirited second half showing from his players: “We have to improve because we should score a few chances. It is nice to see the squad taking steps.

“The second half we were brilliant. We played the way we want to offensively. We played through them, created chances, pressed high and scored one great goal. We had so many chances. It is too bad we didn’t win but it was a great performance.”

Rachel DalyRachel Daly

Rachel Daly was Aston Villa’s match winner late on / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Rachel Daly’s dazzling acrobatics earned Aston Villa a stoppage-time 3-2 win over struggling West Ham.

The Hammers went ahead after Viviane Asseyi converted from the penalty spot but Villa turned things around to lead through Anna Patten and Adriana Leon – the latter scoring a wonderful goal against her former employers.

Lisa Evans looked to have earned West Ham a point, smashing a superb half-volley past Daphne van Domselaar, but Daly was on hand to hook a spectacular finish past Mackenzie Arnold. The result leaves the Hammers with just four points from a possible 21, hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Chloe Kelly, Khiara KeatingChloe Kelly, Khiara Keating

Manchester was blue after City out-smarted United at Old Trafford / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner admitted his players had let the occasion get the better of them as Manchester City ran out 3-1 winners in front of a club-record 43,615 crowd.

The Red Devils started brightly and took the lead through Katie Zelem’s 21st minute penalty, awarded after Alex Greenwood had handled the ball. Summer signing Geyse thought she’d made it 2-0 soon after, but her effort was chalked off after the officials deemed the ball out of play.

Two goals in the space of a minute changed the complexion of the game. First, Jill Roord’s superb strike levelled matters before it was over to Lauren Hemp for a classy finish from a tight angle.

The third was gift wrapped by Maya Le Tissier and Mary Earps, with their lack of communication and confidence in clearing their lines eventually seeing the ball rebound off Bunny Shaw and into an empty net – Earps stranded after cannoning her clearance against the Jamaican.

Laia Aleixandri was sent off with less than 20 minutes to go but City held firm to claim a huge three points.

2023/24 WSL table – Matchday 7

Position

Team

Played

GD

Pts

1.

Chelsea

7

+18

19

2.

Arsenal

7

+9

16

3.

Man City

7

+8

13

4.

Man Utd

7

+9

12

5.

Tottenham

7

+5

12

6.

Liverpool

7

-1

11

7.

Leicester

7

-3

8

8.

Brighton

7

-7

7

9.

Aston Villa

7

-9

6

10.

Everton

7

-9

5

11.

West Ham

7

-9

4

12.

Bristol City

7

-11

4

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