Tuesday, 28 October 2014

WSL Team of the Season

So the WSL season has come to an incredibly dramatic end, with Liverpool Ladies retaining their title on the final day of the campaign. In light of the season’s finish, here is our Team of the Season:

Goalkeeper – Carly Telford (Notts County)

It would be easy to pick the goalkeeper from the team with the best defensive record, but in this case it is fully deserved. The England stopper, who played every WSL game, conceding only 8 goals, has been in tremendous form this year, not least in the final game of the season, putting in a match saving performance to deny Blues, in particular the outrageous double save from Karen Carney’s penalty and follow up. In the year before a World Cup, Telford has performed admirably behind a solid Notts County defence, and I would fully expect her to be on the plane to Canada next year.

Defender – Chelsea Weston (Birmingham)

Equally comfortable defending or attacking, Weston has had another very good season in the Blues defence. Missing only one game throughout the season, the right back has also chipped in with two goals, including a now trademark screamer away to Bristol Academy, as well as contributing to goals through her forays forward. Another young, exciting player who the England camp must be looking at for the future.

Defender – Gemma Bonner (Liverpool)

One of three Liverpool players to play every minute this season, Matt Beard’s Captain once again ended the year lifting the WSL trophy. Bonner is an integral part of a Reds backline that claimed the second best defensive record in the league, conceding only 10 goals all season, as well as getting a goal to her name in the win at Bristol. Her never say die attitude epitomises the way she dragged her side along towards the end of the season. As with Telford, I would be hugely surprised if her name was not on the England World Cup squad next year.

Defender – Rachel Corsie (Notts County)

Voted Notts County’s player of the season recently, Corsie has become the star of the most resilient side in the WSL. Vice-captain at the start of the season, but promoted to Captain due to Sophie Bradley’s long term injury, the Scotland international has won the hearts of fans and staff alike with her hard work and professionalism at the heart of the East Midlanders defence. Another who played every minute of their campaign, Corsie has a World Cup qualifying play off against The Netherlands to look forward to with Scotland. Qualification to Canada would top a magnificent year for the 25 year old.

Defender – Lucy Bronze (Liverpool)

Last season’s PFA Player of the Season has had another terrific year, cementing her place in not only Liverpool’s team, but also stamping her mark on Mark Sampson’s England squad. Bronze has scored two goals this term, including one in the crucial final day victory over Bristol, and has been a rock in the Champion’s defence. A certainty to play a huge part in Canada next year, she, like Bonner, played every minute of the Merseysiders successful campaign, and she will be looking forward to progressing in the Champions League to top another superb season.

Midfielder – Fara Williams (Liverpool)

Despite the controversy surrounding the goal, one of Williams’ four goals this year well and truly revitalised the Reds chances of retaining their title this year. After conceding a late equaliser at Birmingham, it was Williams’ quick thinking and world class ability to take the kick off and score from the halfway line gave Liverpool the win, and ultimately led to them finishing top. Starting every game this season, and scoring in the final day win, Williams has become the catalyst for all Liverpool attacks, making a deeper midfield role her own for both club and country. Only injury can prevent Williams extending her record international caps haul over the next year or two.

Midfielder – Jo Potter (Birmingham)

Much of what was said about Fara can be mirrored into the analysis of Blues’ very own midfield engine. The pivot in the Blues side, Potter is usually the one dropping deep to start attacks off, spraying 30-40 yards passes to the wings or over the opposition defence. She has three WSL goals to her name this year, including one straight from a corner kick away to Notts County. An unsung hero in the side for a number of years, Potter’s efforts have recently been awarded with a return to international action, and she, along with all Blues fans, would be delighted to see her on the plane to next year’s World Cup.

Attacker – Yuki Ogimi (Chelsea)

A tough call between Chelsea’s two eastern acquisitions, who have both made a big impact to Chelsea’s side this year, the Japanese international sneaks in thanks to her goal scoring efforts, netting five times this season. Bringing flair and control to a strong team, Ogimi took no time settling in, scoring a brace in their opening game of the season. Starting all but one WSL game this year, the former Potsdam star will be looking to put the final day disappointment behind her as she and her international teammates look to retain the Womens World Cup next year.

Attacker – Jess Clarke (Notts County)

Clarke has had a magnificent season for Notts County, stepping up in the absence of Ellen White and thriving in the role as main attacking threat. Scoring half of their league goals all season, six in total, she has become arguably the most threatening player in the league, mixing pace and skill with some very good finishes. There is no doubt that, without her efforts this year, County’s great defensive record may not have counted for much, and they have been heavily reliant on her goals all year. While she may not be a regular starter for England, I would hope she gets a place in the World Cup squad, as she would be a seriously positive impact player to bring on.

Attacker – Karen Carney (Birmingham)

Blues’ skipper this year could not have done much more to help her side lift their first WSL trophy. Finishing top scorer in the WSL with eight goals, playing every game for the Midlands outfit, she has played her part in what was a superb effort from Birmingham in taking it to the very last minute in the fight for the title. Carney’s brace in the penultimate game at Man City is an example of her never say die attitude, and her willingness never to give in and help pull the team along eventually led to the last day battle. Another who will be guaranteed a place in the England World Cup squad, injuries permitting.

Striker – Nikita Parris (Everton)

This could very easily have gone to Eni Aluko, who deserves a mention, but Parris shone in an Everton side that were eventually relegated. The young England striker scored six of Everton’s ten goals in total, missing only one game through suspension. Parris’ goals, although futile in the fight for survival, gave the Blues the best chance possible, and in two of the games they drew, Parris scored in those games. A shining light in the side, she performed wonders, being asked to carry the team with her goals, and at a tender age she has displayed a great eye for goal, one which many WSL1 teams will be looking at over the winter.

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