Here’s a team of the week for Matchday 6, comprising the games played on the 12th November 2023. Thrills and spills, twists and turns abound. An early-season six-pointer, a clash of potential pretenders, and a chance for each of the current ‘big four’ to show how they stack up against an ‘outsider’.
GK: Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea)
LB: Ashleigh Neville (Tottenham Hotspur)
CB: Maria Thorisdóttir (Brighton & Hove Albion)
CB: Maya Le Tissier (Manchester United)
RB: Grace Fisk (Liverpool)
LM: Lina Hurtig (Arsenal)
CM: Victoria Pelova (Arsenal)
RM: Celin Bizet (Tottenham Hotspur)
LW: Leah Galton (Manchester United)
RW: Cloé Lacasse (Arsenal)
ST: Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
Chelsea at the front and back for the team this week. Up top, Sam Kerr continues to put on sumptuous spectacles of strikery while Ann-Katrin Berger holds off various challengers to her throne with a display that kept Everton out of the game at a point when they could have taken real hold — Heather Payne playing chief tormentor for The Toffees. Kerr & co. soon took hold, with Sjoeke Nüsken putting in a shift, and Aggie Beever-Jones relishing her role as super-sub… For now. Arsenal’s Alessia Russo continuously commanding conductions only make Kerr’s inclusion more impressive, while Manchester United’s Geyse, West Ham’s Riko Ueki, and Aston Villa’s Ebony Salmon displayed their chops but go cigarless. Speaking of Villa, how good must it feel to have Kenza Dali back? The difference was palpable, leading to a first win of the season for Carla Ward’s side (despite Abi Harrison’s best efforts). However, despite that magic returning to the Women’s Super League, Victoria Pelova had the counter-spell as she drove Arsenal to a comeback that was perhaps just slightly more stunning than Dali’s on the day. Ella Toone’s composure wasn’t far off getting her in the side either.
But now to a crux of the side — four wingers. Kinda. Along with Pelova, Cloé Lacasse dragged Arsenal back from the dead almost single-handedly to begin with, while Lina Hurtig (off the bench) saw the challenge off once and for all, putting the nail in the coffin of Hannah Cain and Leicester City. The other half of the wings are made up of half the contingent that Spurs and Manchester United bring to the TOTW — Celin Bizet put in her finest display in Lilywhite to keep out a game citizen in Chloe Kelly, while Leah Galton continued to prove how dangerous she could be at any given moment. The Red Devils also put Maya Le Tissier forth (harshly keeping out goal-scoring team-mate Millie Turner) as she seems to be the creative replacement for Ona Batlle, sparking plays from the back with a lower-lying Toone. Ashleigh Neville is the second Spurs star in the line-up as she solidifies her reputation as the first name on the Spurs team-sheet. Across the rest of the defence, Grace Fisk continues to fill in with aplomb at wing-back for Liverpool, further proving that The Reds just seem to have the anatomy of that position on lock. Finally, Brighton’s Maria Thorisdóttir held off a mighty Manchester City (with aid from the rest of her defence, namely ‘keeper Sophie Baggaley) as The Seagulls snatched victory, and that is what gets her in ahead of Liverpool’s Jenna Clark and Villa’s Danielle Turner.
For that final reason it is Thorisdóttir who grabs the Player Of The Week award, holding off (comparatively) inspiring displays from Lacasse, Kerr, and Pelova. As for Goal Of The Week, Celin Bizet’s dribble from her own half, Millie Turner’s willingness and placement, Sam Kerr’s finish to an unerring team move, and Aggie Beever-Jones’ cut-back and curl inside are all contenders… And I reckon, for the sheer exhibition of defensive force, passing prowess, crossing accuracy, and finishing nous, Kerr (as well as Bright, Carter, Périsset, Nüsken, and Kaneryd) takes it.
Keep it streets ahead,