Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

United surge to their best start
Manchester United secured their best start to a WSL season with a 4-0 win over Brighton, making it the first time since they were promoted in 2019 that they have won their opening three fixtures. It took them top on goal difference and their performance is underpinned by a stellar attack and defence. They are one of two teams not to have conceded a league goal, along with Arsenal, and Sunday’s victory was their ninth consecutive home league win. ““We just have to keep it up every game,” the player of the match, Leah Galton, told the BBC. Sarah Rendell

Missed chances cost Arsenal top spot
Arsenal let chances go begging in their 1-0 win over Reading, leaving them second because they have scored nine goals to United’s 10. Arsenal had 21 shots at goal but only six on target, including a first-minute Stina Blackstenius chance, a missed sitter by Laura Wienroither and a Kim Little penalty saved by Jacqueline Burns on the goalkeeper’s WSL debut. They will need to be more clinical if they want to claim the title. The player of the match, Manuela Zinsberger, told Sky Sports: “We always know it is hard to beat Reading. We defended as a team and we got the result.” SR

Tottenham enjoy home comforts
Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road proved a fruitful new home for Tottenham as they returned to winning ways. They made the move to their new digs in the summer as they seek to continue building their fanbase. They continued their run of never losing an opening home WSL game as they edged to victory over Liverpool. An 11th-minute goal, instigated by the summer signing Celin Bizet Ildhusøy and turned into her own net by the unfortunate Niamh Fahey, proved decisive. It was the third time Liverpool had conceded early this season. Tottenham controlled the first 45 and should have increased the deficit before the break. Liverpool improved in the second half but clearcut chances remained hard to come by, leaving Matt Beard with work to do. Sophie Downey

Chaos breaks out in Walsall
Shields-Marshall was boxing’s historic headline act on Saturday but there was an unexpected undercard fight earlier in the day. As West Ham edged towards an important three points over Aston Villa in Walsall, the game descended into chaos on and off the pitch. In the first minute of added time the West Ham defender Hawa Cissoko saw red literally and figuratively. The French international reacted to a cynical foul by Sarah Mayling. As the Villa full-back responded with a shove in turn, Cissoko’s hand connected with Mayling’s face leaving the referee with no choice. Mayling got booked for her part in the fracas. Commotion broke out in the dugout as West Ham’s manager, Paul Konchesky, was also sent down the tunnel. It is something rarely seen at the top level and as Villa’s manager, Carla Ward, said: it “shouldn’t be in the game”. Bans will surely follow; the big question is for how long? SD

Hasegawa points way for City
Manchester City are up and running, beating Leicester 4-0 at the Academy Stadium in a must-win game for Gareth Taylor and his team after two away defeats, against Aston Villa and Chelsea. There were many positives for the manager, including two goals from Khadija Shaw, but, above all, an impressive debut from Yui Hasegawa, the summer signing from West Ham who was brought in when it became apparent City would lose Keira Walsh. The Japan international crowned her performance with a late goal from outside the area and Taylor said: “She has the ability to play across midfield and attack because she’s creative. She can score goals as she’s proved today. You can see she’s a top player, someone I’ve always admired and I’m really pleased we’ve been able to secure her.” Marcus Christenson

Hayes is present while absent at Chelsea
The absence of Emma Hayes is a big one for Chelsea, but the detail-obsessed manager is never too far from the action – even after an emergency hysterectomy related to her endometriosis. Hayes was in the ear of her assistant Denise Reddy throughout Chelsea’s professional 3-1 picking apart of an Everton side much improved under their new manager, Brian Sørensen. Reddy called the shots, charged with making the final decisions after discussion with Hayes and the general manager, Paul Green, who has shared an office with Hayes for the nine years he has been at the club. Hayes is known for empowering her players and staff, encouraging them to be decision makers alongside her, and the bonus of that strategy is that when she is taken out of the equation there are leaders able to pick up the mantle in her image. Suzanne Wrack