Arsenal Women Crisis GFXGetty/GOAL

One defeat from disaster: Arsenal must bounce back against Man Utd in huge WSL clash or Gunners face an early-season crisis

If you are a title-chasing team in the Women’s Super League - Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United - you cannot really afford to drop points against those below you given how rarely it happens in the division. Last season, for example, those four only failed to win against the other eight teams in the WSL on six occasions between them. But last weekend it happened in the first round of fixtures of the new campaign, with Arsenal stunned by Liverpool in a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates.

Last season, the Reds caused another opening-weekend upset when, as a newly-promoted side, they came from a goal down to defeat champions Chelsea 2-1. The Blues, though, still went on to win the WSL title, something that will give Arsenal fans hope after a difficult result.

But this doesn’t feel the same. Few wouldn’t have had faith that a Chelsea team stacked with so much talent and experience could bounce back - and they did immediately with an impressive 2-0 win over Man City. For Arsenal, it’s hard to be as hopeful and optimistic. After all, the Gunners started this new campaign by suffering elimination from the Women’s Champions League in the first qualifying round.

Facing an extremely tough trip to Leigh to face Manchester United on Friday night, another difficult job in hosting a Rachel Daly-led Aston Villa the week after and still without a handful of world-class stars for several weeks, if not months, Arsenal must draw a line under these early season issues as soon as possible - or their season could be over before it has even begun.

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