League leaders Chelsea slipped up for the first time in February, as Manchester City closed the gap on the defending Champions to ensure this Women’s Super League season is in for a thrilling climax.
City went the entire month unbeaten — as did Brighton, Reading and Everton — while Manchester United’s title hopes were dented after consecutive defeats.
There were also some fine individual displays, with goalkeeping heroics, defensive masterclasses and prolific goal-scoring from a number of players. We’ve narrowed it down to just six names for you to crown GiveMeSport Fans’ WSL Player of the Month for February.
Grace Moloney (Reading)
Reading’s unbeaten month started with a 2-0 win against Man United, which was largely down to a faultless goalkeeping display from Grace Moloney.
With the score still at 0-0, Moloney pulled off two game-changing saves to keep things all square, before Natasha Harding and Danielle Carter gave Reading all three points.
With Reading currently sixth in the Women’s Super League table, Moloney has been an ever-present figure throughout this campaign, starting all 15 games and playing the joint-most minutes of any goalkeeper this season, along with United’s Mary Earps.
Having been at Reading since the age of nine, the 28-year-old Republic of Ireland international has recently signed a new two-year contract to keep her at the Royals until 2023.
Caroline Weir (Man City)
Given City’s exceptional run of results recently, there were many names considered for nomination — not least Lucy Bronze, who appears to be back to her very best after a difficult start to the season.
However, Caroline Weir particularly stood out, scoring two goals, including a sumptuous chip in City’s Manchester Derby victory.
The 25-year-old Scot has a history of wonder goals versus United, having scored a 25-yard screamer last season, which was nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award.
Adept at playing centrally or out on the right-hand side, Weir’s versatility makes her integral to this City side, and she will no doubt continue to play a vital role as Gareth Taylor’s side jostle with Chelsea for silverware.
Lauren Hemp (Man City)
Lauren Hemp also enjoyed a fine month for City, scoring in every league game in February as the Manchester side picked up maximum points.
Having registered five league goals and three assists so far this season, Hemp has formed a devastating forward trio with fellow England internationals Ellen White and Chloe Kelly, who have also been in scintillating form.
It’s all the more remarkable when you consider Hemp is still just 20 years of age. She’s clearly a name we’ll continue to hear a lot about in years to come.
There is, however, fierce competition for places in City’s squad. With United States international — and recent SheBelieves Cup MVP — Rose Lavelle returning to form, Hemp will have her work cut out holding on to a starting spot.
Pernille Harder (Chelsea)
Despite having the pressure of being the world’s most expensive female footballer ever on her shoulders, Pernille Harder has more than lived up to her price-tag so far.
Seven goals and three assists so far this season, including three in February, has helped Chelsea maintain top spot in the WSL table, despite their recent defeat to Brighton.
The reigning UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, Harder has added yet more attacking flair to a Chelsea side that already boasts a plethora of talent.
Together with partner Magdalena Eriksson, Harder has also been influential off the pitch, too, taking to Twitter recently to offer support to those finding it hard to open up about their sexuality.
Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
Kirby was desperately unlucky to miss out on the GMS Fans’ Player of the Month Award last month. The England forward scored five goals in three matches in January and has followed up that sensational form with three more goals and two assists in February.
With 17 goal contributions in the league so far –– the most of any player — her combination with Harder, Sam Kerr and Bethany England is breathtaking at times and makes Chelsea’s attack arguably the most fearsome in world football.
Recently, though, there has been a question concerning Kirby’s fitness, after she withdrew from the most recent England squad, but a goal in the Champions League against Atlético Madrid last Wednesday suggests she is back fully fit again.
Aileen Whelan (Chelsea)
It takes something extra special to beat Chelsea, especially when they’re undefeated in 33 games, but Aileen Whelan duly provided just that as Brighton beat the league leaders 2-1 at Kingsmeadow.
Whelan stormed into the box to meet a Megan Connoly corner, and also scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at West Ham, as the Seagulls recorded back-to-back wins to move up to seventh in the table.
The 29-year-old is still searching for her first England cap, but if performances like this continue, then an international call-up surely must be on the cards.
To crown your winner, click here