Here’s a team of the week for Matchday 7, comprising the games played on the 18th and 19th of November 2023. Big bulls clashing at the top while sides towards the bottom have a chance to climb away, or risk being dragged further into the mire…
GK: Janina Leitzig (Leicester City)
LB: Katrine Veje (Everton)
CB: Alanna Kennedy (Manchester City)
CB: Anna Patten (Aston Villa)
RB: Angharad James (Tottenham Hotspur)
CDM: Sophie Ingle (Chelsea)
LM: Lauren James (Chelsea)
CM: Victoria Pelova (Arsenal)
CM: Jill Roord (Manchester City)
RM: Chloe Kelly (Manchester City)
ST: Khadija Shaw (Manchester City)
The victorious and blue side of Manchester weigh in with four inclusions this week; Alanna Kennedy showed boss-like qualities in both penalty areas, reminding everyone why The Citizens have perhaps the most impressively consistent centre-back partnership in the league, Jill Roord continues to present herself as the personification of poise, Khadija Shaw keeps the likes of a resurgent Rachel Daly (if she ever did really desurge…) and a meticulous Martha Thomas out of the eleven with an undeniable display, and Chloe Kelly put in a woman of the match performance as she danced around a Manchester United defence she appeared to have on strings. There was only so much Mary Earps could do against a the force that Manchester City brought, and it is that oft-aforementioned consistency that sees them boast some of the best in each position in the world.
Onto the rest of the team and the remaining midfield trio is made up of London-based players — first, record-breaker Sophie Ingle sits snugly in the middle of the park as she has done more than anyone else in the Women’s Super League, and she has the now seemingly irreplaceable Victoria Pelova drifting around in front of her. Just off to the left is an absolute powerhouse in Lauren James. The hat-trick meant I had to pick her, but the list could go on and on as to why she should be in this team this week. There were plenty of other Chelsea names who could have made it in, with youth-product Aggie Beever-Jones starting to start, and looking cracker while doing so. Her replacement in the match, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, immediately made the game her own off the bench, orchestrating the remaining goals in the game. Erin Cuthbert continued her fine form as well, putting in another domineering display, especially in the first half. Others without a cigar include Leicester duo Sam Tierney and Jutta Rantala, Arsenal’s more deeply-deployed Alessia Russo, Spurs’ Celin Bizet (who looks on a mission to be her side’s new talisman), Bristol City’s potential magic key Amalie Thestrup, and Everton’s soon-to-be-departing Nicoline Sørensen — and don’t we wish her all the luck in whatever she does next. Cheers for being here.
At the back, there’s only a few waiting at the door, with Liverpool’s Grace Fisk resilient in defeat and West Ham’s Kirsty Smith much the same, but it’s Smith’s smiter who rocks up alongside Kennedy, Anna Patten. Patten’s goal seemed to galvanise the rest of her game as she strode to and fro in a performance that could well have seen Villa over the line. They’re flanked by an industrious Katrine Veje, who gets the most airtime for sheer reliability, and then by Angharad James on the opposite side, who exhibited a fresh intensity that is steadily seeping through this Spurs side — for the better. In goal it’s Janina Leitzig because of course it is — I mean, a triple save? Come on now.
Player Of The Week was close to being Chloe Kelly’s, but Lauren James had the advantage of playing first, and nobody in the proceeding five games really came close to unseating the Chelsea winger this week. As for Goal Of The Week, there’s a variable plethora to choose from, but having broken it down, honourable mentions will go to Jill Roord’s delightful pseudo-dummy against Manchester United, Stina Blackstenius inadvertently selling the whole Brighton defence a dream, Frida Maanum’s swept finish from a delicious Lacasse lay-off, and Rachel Daly’s ridiculous last-minute hooked winner, which claims fourth and surely shows the quality of the top three:-
#3 — LAUREN HEMP
A sumptuously placed curler that clipped off the bar to duck in during a Manchester Derby.
#2 — LAUREN JAMES
A preposterous low strike from a silly angle that had to be aimed to perfection and was.
#1 — LISA EVANS
Though not a winner, or even a late point-grabber, for a fleeting moment it was the latter, and it was a driven effort through a crowd, straight from the heart and down through the boot of The Hammer.
Keep it streets ahead,