Women's Super League preview: Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United look to heat up WSL title race

Tipstrr football expert Paul Bathurst looks ahead to a busy weekend in the WSL, where Manchester United and Arsenal will be looking to close the gap on title favourites, Chelsea.

Arsenal may live to regret their mistake last week in allowing Sam Kerr to equalise at the death to ensure Chelsea remained top of the league. 

Elsewhere, Manchester City found a way to keep their hopes alive at West Ham United, where a Bunny Shaw goal was enough to win 1-0. Manchester Utd smashed Liverpool 6-0, whilst Leicester City, Everton and Aston Villa all picked up important home wins.

The early game this Saturday sees Manchester City play hosts to Aston Villa, who have made a couple of very exciting signings in the form of Jordan Nobbs from Arsenal as well as Lucy Staniforth from Manchester Utd. Both started last weekend's 2-1 win against Spurs, with both making a very good first impression.

City need to win here to keep pace with those above them, as they are currently six points behind the leaders Chelsea, although City do have a game in hand. This match is likely to be highly contested, much like the 4-3 City win on week one in the reverse fixture. Goals feel likely once more, as Villa are the 'best of the rest' outside of the big four (Chelsea, Arsenal, City and United) in terms of creating chances, currently ranking at16xG .

Chelsea looking for revenge

Liverpool will travel to leaders Chelsea for Sunday's lunchtime kickoff with the hopes of doing an unprecedented league double over Emma Hayes' side. 

Newly promoted Liverpool unexpectedly came from behind to beat Chelsea back in week two, thanks to a brace of second-half penalties from Katie Stengel.

Chelsea should comfortably get their revenge here, and they are priced at a very unattractive 1/16 to pick up the three points.

Goals at both ends?

Everton and West Ham are on 15 points apiece and sit fifth and sixth in the WSL table. The Hammers will take confidence from losing just 1-0 to Manchester City last weekend, although the scoreline papered over the cracks, with City scoring just once despite creating 4.0xG.

Everton were a little fortunate themselves last time out, winning 3-2 at home against Reading in a highly competitive match. In terms of metrics both sides defensive records are over performing with West Ham conceding just 19 from 28xG, while Everton have given up 19xG, but allowed just 12 goals. This game feels very likely to see both sides on the scoresheet.

United can avoid Reading banana skin

Manchester United will visit Reading this week and are priced at 1/14 to take home the spoils. Both United and Arsenal have conceded just six goals this campaign. However, with United allowing just 8xG compared to 12xG of Arsenal, it is fair to say the Manchester outfit has the most solid defence in the league.

Reading can be one of those banana skin fixtures, as they are capable of pulling out a performance from nowhere. Chelsea led 3-0 at half-time back in week 10, with the game looking like going to 5 or 6-0, before, out of the blue, The Royals netted two in as many minutes.

The league leaders did see out the game to get the job done, winning 3-2, but it was far from comfortable or convincing in the end. Reading lost 4-0 when they travelled to Manchester back in September, failing to register a single chance, while United notched up 3.90xG.

Tottenham Hotspur welcome bottom of the league Leicester City, the Midlands-based side fresh from their first points of the season, having beaten fellow strugglers Brighton 3-0 last weekend. 

Tottenham have lost their last five WSL outings, although prior to that they did dispatch Brighton 8-0 away from home, so it would appear that Spurs should have no problems getting back to winning ways in this one.

Arsenal gunning for goals

The final game this week will see Arsenal travel to a Brighton side in dire straits. The league leaders are still without the talismanic duo of Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead; however, their squad possesses endless talent, suggesting they should have no problems in this one.

Brighton's defence has leaked at least three goals apiece to Manchester United, Spurs, West Ham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester so far this season. Factor in Arsenal's 4-0 win in the reverse fixture on opening day, and it looks like a routine high-scoring win is on the cards for the Gunners.

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