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5 players to watch in the new Women’s Super League season

Mana Iwabuchi (left to right) Ann-Katrin Berger Vicky Losada Maya Le Tissier and Lauren James

The new Women’s Super League season kicks off on Friday night with Manchester United hosting Reading.

Chelsea begin their title defence at Arsenal, last season’s runners-up Manchester City visit Everton, while promoted Leicester start top-flight life away to Aston Villa.

Here, the PA news agency picks out five players to keep an eye on this term.

Mana Iwabuchi – Arsenal

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Forward Iwabuchi signed for Arsenal at the end of May after spending the second half of the 2020/21 season at Aston Villa.

Although her stint at Villa was short-lived, Iwabuchi made the difference for a struggling side and helped them survive a relegation battle.

The Japan international has won the Nadeshiko League three times, 2. Frauen-Bundesliga once and the Frauen-Bundesliga twice and has already made her impact at Arsenal, scoring three goals in Round One of the Champions League.

Ann-Katrin Berger – Chelsea

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Goalkeeping is always the target of trolling in women’s football, but Ann-Katrin Berger is one of the finest shot-stoppers in the game.

Last season she kept 12 clean sheets in 17 games and earned the Golden Glove for her performances.

Vicky Losada – Manchester City

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With a wealth of experience and titles under her belt, Losada will be one to watch this season in what is her second WSL stint, having played for Arsenal from 2015 to 2016.

The midfielder then made her return to Barcelona, where she captained her side to the treble last season, winning the league, cup and Champions League.

Maya Le Tissier – Brighton

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One of the brightest young talents around, Le Tissier has firmly established herself as a key part of Brighton’s defence after making her senior debut at the age of 16 in 2018.

Lauren James – Chelsea

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Signed by Chelsea on a four-year contract over the summer, James has been involved in the top tiers of women’s football for the last couple of seasons, and is still only 19.

The forward, whose older brother Reece also plays for Chelsea, has had experience in both Arsenal and Manchester United’s set-ups. Moving to Chelsea and working alongside talent such as Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby can only help James progress further.