Here’s a team of the week for Matchday 22, comprising the games played on the 27th May 2023. The final day is here, and it was still all to play for. A big performance here could be the difference between a league-winner and a victim to the trapdoor.
GK: Mary Earps (Manchester United)
LB: Maz Pacheco (Aston Villa)
CB: Millie Turner (Manchester United)
RB: Ona Battle (Manchester United)
CDM: Vilde Bøe Risa (Manchester United)
LM: Guro Reiten (Chelsea)
CM: Remi Allen (Aston Villa)
RM: Nikita Parris (Manchester United)
CAM: Emma Snerle (West Ham United)
ST: Khadija Shaw (Manchester City)
ST: Beth England (Tottenham Hotspur)
Yes, despite losing the league on this day, a heavy Manchester United contingent remain. They had to scrap and claw for the victory over Liverpool, obviously demonstrated at the back with Millie Turner blocking her fair share and Mary Earps being called on more often than we’ve seen in plenty of other encounters. She was also on call to get things moving, setting off the likes of Ona Batlle out from the back while Bøe Risa would hold down the fort. At the front, Nikita Parris was attacking when no-one else seemed able to, finding the necessary gaps and keeping the unfortunate Rachel Laws on her toes (she’s only unfortunate to miss out on this team you understand (if you can call that misfortune)). That Manchester United contingent kept a plucky Liverpool side quiet, but some noise squeaked through: the always dangerous wing-backs of The Reds, Koivisto and Hinds, are swiftly having the team built around them, while Shanice van de Sanden reminded everyone how dangerous she is with explosive pace nearly ruining the Man U backline. Elsewhere for The Red Devils, Lucia Garcia can replace Parris an hour into the game if she keeps delivering, and Hannah Blundell and Ella Toone miss out, just as their team did on the final day to Chelsea — who can thank Guro Reiten for controlling the game (aided by the likes of Niamh Charles, Magdalena Eriksson, Sophie Ingle, and Sam Kerr) that saw them crowned and opponents Reading relegated. Reiten’s immense command keeps out a host of impressors on the left side, the big name being Lauren Hemp, who bagged a goal as well as two assists, as she and her forward-thinking cohorts ran rampant against Everton. Of course, Chloe Kelly gets at least a shout-out, but it is Khadija Shaw displaying textbook striker play who makes this team. Bunny could write that textbook, and along with Sam Kerr, Beth England could join them, as she looks to show just how much of a natural she is. Shaw and England also keep out season’s top scorer Rachel Daly, and Hannah Cain for the week.
Elsewhere, Villa have two reps, with Remi Allen stepping into the midfield and running Arsenal ragged anytime they had possession, she would not leave them alone. She is joined by Maz Pacheco, who is turning into a real leader from the back. Their opponents on the day can count Rafaelle Souza among their highlights, and other defensive players include Everton’s Katrine Veje, and naturally, Leicester’s Janina Leitzig. The German stopper’s teammate Aileen Whelan has been a necessity for The Foxes this season too and show it off on the final day. The final member of the team is West Ham’s Emma Snerle, who played as if it was the last time she would ever play — taking chances, harrying opponents, laser-focused — great to see. Her comrade Honoka Hayashi played out a solid shift, while their opponent Rosella Ayane played one of her best games in a Tottenham shirt.
For this season’s final PLAYER OF and GOAL OF the week, it ain’t so cut and dry. The final day makes everything seem more important and it’s much harder to isolate instances and performances to determine a victor. Hmm…
Player’s gotta be Guro. Led her team to victory in match and league, and since Chelsea’s Champions League exit, she’s been the inspiration they’ve needed to win all those matches on the trot and take the crown.
As for goal, Lucia Garcia flicked it over a player, miskicked it, and then finished it finely, and as great as that was, watching Shaw dash up the pitch, pass to Kelly, one touch over to Hemp, one touch back to Shaw, then watching her compose herself to polish a shot into the bottom corner was *chef’s kiss* a helluva way to sign off for Manchester City. Just better than Shaw’s second goal as she displayed yet more of the composure that has bagged her twenty goals this season.
I’ll see you at the team of the season call, and more importantly, next season for the next edition of the Women’s Super League. HOO-RAH.
Keep it streets ahead,