Champions Chelsea fell foul of an early challenge from Arsenal on Sunday in a gripping first glimpse of a potential Women's Super League title battle. 

Chelsea and Arsenal have accounted for seven of the 10 WSL championships to date, including the past four in a row, although the Blues were dominant last term. 

The beaten Champions League finalists entered the match at Emirates Stadium having suffered only one defeat in 43 league games and unbeaten in 39 away from home – a competition record. 

However, Arsenal, whose most recent defeat came against Chelsea in February, landed the first blow in 2021-22 with an impressive 3-2 win. 

Vivianne Miedema netted a record-extending 61st WSL goal to open the scoring, steering inside the near post for her sixth strike on opening weekends. 

Chelsea were level on the stroke of half-time through Erin Cuthbert but trailed again four minutes after the restart as Miedema turned provider for Beth Mead, who raced away and finished in style. 

Mead's eighth WSL goal against Chelsea – all at home – followed, meaning Pernille Harder's fine header proved merely a consolation as the Blues became the third team to lose the first game of a title defence, after Arsenal in 2013 and Liverpool in 2015. 

 

It was a first win in six against Chelsea for Arsenal, but they now have the outright most victories versus the reigning WSL champions (six). 

And the Gunners hope this will not be a one-off, as two-goal Mead told Sky Sports: "We are a team that want to fight for the title, so we won't make it easy for these teams. 

"Hopefully we can continue to do that for the rest of the season." 

She added: "[This win] has been a long time coming. We've had a lot of seasons where we've [fallen] short in these games." 

Arsenal Women have confirmed the signing of United States star Tobin Heath on a free transfer.

Heath, who spent last season at Manchester United, has won the World Cup twice and also has Olympic gold medals.

The 33-year-old, who has scored 31 international goals, was named in the FIFPro Women's World 11 in 2020 and won the US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year in 2016. 

Prior to her move to United in 2020, Heath had spent seven years with the Portland Thorns and had a spell with Paris Saint-Germain.

"Tobin's record speaks for itself. She's an incredibly talented player who will bring so much experience to our squad," said Arsenal's head coach Jonas Eidevall.

"This is an exciting time for the club, and I'm delighted we could secure Tobin's signing as we prepare to kick off the new season at Emirates Stadium on Sunday."

Heath, who plays on the wing or up front, scored four league goals for United last term. Arsenal's first game of the new season sees them take on champions Chelsea.

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