Laura Harvey admits Arsenal will have their work cut out if they are to win their opening Women’s Super League fixture of the season.

The treble winners kick off their campaign at home to their “biggest rivals” Everton, an opponent they have had some major battles with down the years.

The Gunners beat the Merseysiders in the FA Women’s Cup two weeks ago, but Harvey expects to be pushed all the way in Sunday’s game.

“It is always tough against them, they’re our biggest rival,” she told Arsenal Player. “Birmingham came into the top two last year, but an Arsenal v Everton game is always a good watch.

“We will probably go in as favourites but we know it won’t be an easy game. They had a fantastic second half of the season last year and I’m sure they learned from the first half – they will come back stronger this time.

“As a group of players they have played together for a long time, and everyone knows Everton work really hard to try to achieve everything that they can and I don’t think this season will be any different.”

Aside from Everton and last year’s runners-up Birmingham, Harvey is anticipating a challenging season as Arsenal look to retain their WSL title.

“Lincoln and Chelsea have made good signings in the off season. They will be tough, while Bristol are developing and they work really hard on trying to produce players from within and will be a strong outfit,” she said.

“I don’t think there will be any weak team, which is what we wanted and why we went to the WSL and a summer sport.

“We wanted to make it as competitive as possible and if you asked me ‘who will finish where?’ I don’t think I could tell you. That is how it should be, and it is good for the sport.”


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