Liverpool's warrior, Arsenal's prolific striker - who stood out in this weekend's Barclays FA Women’s Super League?

It was another pulsating weekend of Barclays FA Women’s Super League action, with Arsenal’s win over Everton ensuring they will sit top of the table at Christmas and Chelsea’s slip up at Liverpool leaving them trailing Joe Montemurro’s side by four points.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 1:19 pm
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 1:20 pm
Sophie Bradley-Auckland

Manchester City also continued their impressive start to the season with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Brighton, while Reading toppled Tottenham to see them edge one point ahead of the North London side.

And on a weekend where the dynamic of the table underwent a considerable shift - despite Birmingham’s clash with Manchester United and West Ham’s trip to Bristol City falling foul of the weather - here are three standout players who helped guide their teams to glory on a scintillating Sunday.

Vivianne Miedema

The Dutch striker is showing no signs of relinquishing her prolific form this campaign, picking up from where she left off after her 22 league goals last season with a further double against Everton at Prenton Park.

And the 23-year-old was at her clinical best from the off in the north-west, being thwarted by goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela before making amends just minutes later by powerfully nodding home Kim Little’s deft cross.

Miedema proved a continual nuisance to Willie Kirk’s side throughout, combining majestically with the likes of Little, Beth Mead and Danielle van der Donk to keep Toffees centre-back pairing Kika van Es and Gabrielle George on their toes.

Her second goal demonstrated all her predatorial instincts as she tapped home Leonie Maier’s cross at the far post for her 14th of the season and - staggeringly - 53rd of the calendar year.

And it’s been a record-equalling season for Miedema, scoring in her sixth consecutive game to draw level with an Arsenal club record and outline just how integral she is to the Gunners’ hopes of retaining their title.

Sophie Bradley-Auckland

No player in Vicky Jepson’s side battled harder for their point against Chelsea than captain Sophie Bradley-Auckland, resembling a warrior at the heart of the Reds’ defence to repel attack after attack at a mud-covered Haig Avenue.

The former England international demonstrated all her experience on Sunday afternoon, reading the game intelligently and putting her body on the line to keep Emma Hayes’ team at bay throughout the contest.

The 30-year-old’s most memorable contribution was a last-ditch goal-line clearance to keep out Beth England’s shot, maintaining parity in the game at a crucial period heading into half-time.

And in a second half when the 2017-18 champions pushed relentlessly for a winner, Bradley-Auckland and centre-back partner Niamh Fahey held strong to pick up a vital point and move the Reds out of the relegation zone.

If Jepson's side are going to have any chance of beating the drop and retaining their Barclays FA WSL status next season, their skipper’s role will inevitably be paramount.

Lauren Hemp

The 19-year-old celebrated her new contract in style on Sunday as Nick Cushing’s side signed off for the Christmas break, scoring once and providing a consistent creative outlet as Brighton were blown away at the Academy Stadium.

The precocious young talent notched her team’s third just before half-time, flicking in after Steph Houghton’s header across goal to show why City were so keen on retaining her services.

And Cushing heaped praise on the England international during the week, hailing her offensive influence but challenging her to get even better as the resurgent side bid to regain their Barclays FA WSL crown of 2016.

The former Bristol City player has now scored ten goals in 33 appearances for City, an impressive return given her teenage years and a promising omen of what more is to come.

So as Cushing’s side bid to emulate their heroics of three seasons ago where they lifted the trophy, Hemp’s role looks set to be vital if City are to usurp Arsenal’s hegemony at the top of the table next year.