FA Women’s Super League striker and Wales international Helen Ward picks her third top performing side of the season.
GK: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)
It was a close call between Schmeichel and Fraser Forster and perhaps, considering the latter kept a clean sheet, some would say he is unlucky not to be in here. However, in facing the most prolific team in the country right now, I think Schmeichel made a couple of fantastic saves from Juan Mata in the first half and of course the penalty stop from Romelu Lukaku. He will be disappointed with his efforts for Marcus Rashford’s goal but he could also be very disappointed with the defending, or lack of defending, in front of him.
RB: Joe Gomez (Liverpool)
The young Liverpool defender has regained his place in the starting 11 in recent weeks after an injury hit season or two. Admittedly he wasn’t often tested against a very poor Arsenal team this weekend, but he looked composed and was a good option for the Reds going forwards. He was a revelation for Liverpool before injury hit but on this showing, there is no reason why he can’t now fulfil that early promise.
CB: Ciaran Clarke (Newcastle United)
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CB: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Of course ‘Dave’, as he is known by his Chelsea team mates, is strictly part of a back three, I have included him as a centre back for the purpose of this team. An assured performance in a dominant display from the Blues at the Bridge, Azpilicueta popped up with a delicious cross for his compatriot Alvaro Morata to head home and seal the three points for his team.
LB: Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth)
I’m not going to lie, he is pretty much in this team just for that goal against Manchester City. He didn’t do much wrong defensively as a left wing-back so it isn’t completely wrong of me to include him, but that finish is worthy of his place in the team. A simply sensational hit from quite an angle which would have got past any keeper in the world.
CM: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
The £90million man is slowly but surely starting to prove his worth and with the arrival of Nemanja Matic, he seems to really be able to express himself. A man of the match performance at the heart of a United team that is looking stronger by the game. Still has a way to go to prove some of his doubters wrong but if he keeps putting in performances of this ilk, it won’t take too long.
CM: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
The ‘Magic Man’ lived up to his reputation today as he returned from suspension to put in a classy performance for Antonio Conte’s side. The build up and finish for the first goal were excellent and I have no doubt that if Chelsea are going to retain their title, or at least challenge for it, then he will have a big role to play. I felt Fabregas was often underrated last season but the impact he had, whether it be from the start or off the bench, was immense.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
My midfield (and indeed a lot of the team) is made up of big names and big clubs this week and De Bruyne is another. He has started the season in a slightly deeper role and it is allowing him to dictate the play from back to front, something he did with ease at times against Bournemouth. Classy on the ball and he and David Silva make City tick.
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Front 3: Sadio Mane; Roberto Firmino; Mo Salah (Liverpool)
I have put the three Liverpool men together as they were simply sensational from the first minute against Arsenal. All three scored wonderful goals and arguably could have had one or two more each. The pace, the guile and their quality on the ball makes you wonder if they even need Philippe Coutinho. I don’t think there is a better front line in the country right now. I would also mention the likes of Anthony Knockaert (Brighton); Alvaro Morata (Chelsea); Gabriel Jesus (Man City) and Josh King (Bournemouth) as they all had excellent games for their respective clubs but I just couldn’t leave any of the Liverpool boys out.
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