FIXTURE RELEASE: Women’s Super League season outlined
PA John Walton
Champions Chelsea will begin the 2021-22 Women’s Super League season with a trip to London rivals Arsenal.
Emma Hayes’ side retained the title and won the League Cup last term, while the Gunners appointed Swede Jonas Eidevall as their new manager last month following the departure of Joe Montemurro.
Clubs will start the new Super League campaign on either September 3, 4 or 5, with kick-off times and television fixtures yet to be finalised.
Manchester United, who are currently managerless after Casey Stoney’s resignation, host Reading, while newly-promoted Leicester start their maiden Super League season away to Aston Villa, now coached by Carla Ward.
Elsewhere, last term’s runners-up Manchester City travel to Everton, Tottenham play at home to Birmingham, and West Ham go to Brighton.
Sky Sports and the BBC will be host broadcasters for the forthcoming campaign, while fans are set to return to grounds following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game, said in a statement: “This season will see record levels of exposure and audiences as a result of our exciting new partnership with Sky Sports and the BBC, and I cannot wait to see our elite athletes showcasing their talent to the nation.
“The return of fans is hugely exciting and I am so pleased we can welcome you back. You are the heart of our sport and we missed you last season.
“Your return will highlight just how special our leagues are and I am really looking forward to seeing you back where you belong, cheering on your favourite team.”
Four-time winners Chelsea will wrap up the season at home to Manchester United on either May 7 or 8.
The Blues’ return match against Arsenal is scheduled for the weekend of February 11-13, while they take on title rivals City on November 12-14 and February 4-6, with the first of those fixtures away from home.
Manchester derbies will be held on October 8-10 and February 11-13, with United at home first.
Leicester, who amassed 50 points from 20 league fixtures en route to lifting the Championship title, complete the campaign away to Tottenham, with their first top-flight home game coming against Manchester United.
The Championship will kick off on August 28 and 29, with League Cup finalists Bristol City, who were relegated last term, travelling to Crystal Palace and last season’s runners-up Durham hosting Watford.
In the other opening games, Blackburn Rovers take on Sheffield United, Coventry host Sunderland, Charlton travel to Lewes and Liverpool meet London City Lionesses.
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