It may be cold outside but things are only hotting up in the Women’s Super League.
While Manchester United lead the title race, three rivals are closely breathing down their necks, and although rock-bottom Bristol City have taken just two points from ten games so far, being only four points away from safety still gives them a chance of avoiding the drop.
It looks set to be a thrilling second half of the season, but before we can enjoy what 2021 has to offer for Women’s football in England, we’ve got the last acts of 2020 to examine first.
Here’s a look at the six WSL stars who impressed so much throughout December that they’ve earned nominations for the GIVEMESPORT Fans’ FA WSL Player of the Month award…
Manchester United gave a convincing endorsement of their title credentials with three straight wins throughout December and goalkeeper Mary Earps played an important part in that, conceding just twice throughout the month while also recording a clean sheet away at Aston Villa.
Even the goals the England international let in were a little unfortunate – a deflected shot that trickled away from her against Reading and a Bristol City strike on the rebound after she’d done well to make herself big in a one-on-one situation.
While Earps kept things tight between the sticks, Leah Galton was busy causing problems at the other end of the pitch in December.
A constant menace in the left forward position, the 26-year-old netted in all of her outings last month as well as bagging a brace in the 6-1 demolition of Bristol City that included an unstoppable long-range stunner.
Her cross-come-shot against Bristol City, once again from that left-hand channel she thrives in, was perhaps a little on the fortunate side – but every goal counts!
Chelsea scored four goals to seal back-to-back wins in December, and all four of them were netted by Sam Kerr. The Australian sensation is perhaps the most potent penalty area predator in the WSL and she showed that throughout last month, with all of her goals coming from essentially point-blank range.
A hat-trick in a 3-2 thriller with London rivals West Ham was followed up by the only goal in Chelsea’s win over Bournemouth, leaving the 27-year-old joint-second with team-mate Fran Kirby and Arsenal’s Jill Roord in the Golden Boot race.
Manchester City did their best to get themselves back into Champions League qualification reckoning in December with consecutive victories, including a huge 2-1 win over the club now just one place above them in the table – Arsenal.
Midfielder Caroline Weir was an instrumental influence behind that six-point return. In addition to being a constant driving force from midfield, she bagged a hat-trick of assists in a 3-0 win over Everton with two gorgeous crosses and a corner.
The Scotland international then netted a stoppage time winner over the Gunners by picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box and curling it into the bottom corner.
WSL top scorers Arsenal netted a whopping eight goals in three December outings and while the immediate reaction would be to applaud the influence of Vivianne Miedema, Caitlin Foord was in on the act as well.
In fact, it was Foord who scored in the 4-0 thumping of Everton last month with Arsenal’s famous No.11 benched for that fixture, while the Aussie assassin also put away a bullet header to open the scoring in a 3-0 victory over Birmingham.
Two expert finishes applied to deadly crosses.
Easy come, easy go is the story of Alex Morgan’s short time at Tottenham. After signing in September on a short-term deal, the USA legend has now returned to her homeland, but she did give Spurs a parting gift last month in the form of her first and second goals for the club in subsequent WSL fixtures.
Morgan netted a late penalty in the 3-1 victory over Brighton and then repeated the feat with the opener versus Aston Villa, this time winning the spot kick herself having taken the ball around Lisa Weiss and then been brought down by the Villa goalkeeper.
Morgan also provided the cross that lead to Caroline Siems’ own goal, ensuring her time in north London will be remembered as short but sweet.