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Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby
Sam Kerr (left) and Fran Kirby (right) had standout seasons for Chelsea in 2020-21

Chelsea will begin the defence of their Women’s Super League title at London rivals Arsenal on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 season.

The champions have a tough start to the new campaign with a home game against Everton to follow, before a trip to Manchester United.

Meanwhile, newly promoted Leicester City travel to Aston Villa for the club’s first match in the WSL.

The new season kicks off across the weekend of 3-5 September.

Elsewhere, last season’s runners-up Manchester City are away at Everton, Brighton host West Ham and Tottenham are at home against Birmingham City.

The first Manchester derby of the season will take place on the weekend of 8-10 October.

Over the 12-14 November, Birmingham City host rivals Aston Villa, the north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal will take place and Chelsea travel to title rivals Manchester City.

Aston Villa v Birmingham City also takes place on the final weekend of the season.

The BBC will show the WSL on network free-to-air TV for the first time in a “landmark” three-year broadcast deal starting this season.

The BBC will broadcast 22 live matches, with a minimum of 18 shown on BBC One or BBC Two.

Sky Sports will provide coverage of up to 44 matches screened across the Main Event, Premier League and Sky Sports Football channels.

The Women’s Championship will kick-off a week earlier on the weekend of 28-29 August.

Opening WSL fixtures

3-5 September:

Arsenal v Chelsea

Aston Villa v Leicester City

Brighton v West Ham

Everton v Manchester City

Manchester United v Reading

Tottenham v Birmingham City

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