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Following their return from the international break, the FA Women’s Super League saw an exciting week of women’s football. It was a week of firsts — Sam Kerr notched her first hat trick for Chelsea, and Alex Morgan netted her first goal for Tottenham — while Manchester City cemented their status as a “Big Three” squad.
Below is a breakdown of everything we learned.
One of the most prominent storylines from this past weekend was Sam Kerr’s performance in Chelsea’s match against West Ham United. The Australian bagged a hat trick in the contest, and has totaled six goals in seven matches for her squad this season. Though it took Kerr a while to get settled into the Women’s Super League upon her signing with Chelsea a little over a year ago, there is no question that she is a force on offense, no matter what league she is playing in.
Taking a look at Kerr’s playing history, she has been nothing short of an all-world striker in stints with the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and the Western New York Flash of the NWSL; the Australian national team; and Perth Glory FC. Her stats speak for themselves — most notably, Kerr netted 28 goals in 40 appearances for Sky Blue FC in only three seasons, 52 goals in 49 appearances for Perth Glory between 2014 and 2019, 11 goals in 26 appearances for the Australian national team, and a dazzling 35 goals in 43 matches for the Chicago Red Stars. In fact, Kerr still holds the record for the most goals scored by a player in an NWSL regular season and was named the NWSL league MVP in 2017 and 2019. She’s also the all-time leading goalscorer in both NWSL and W-League history.
Given her impressive past, it should come as no surprise that the 27-year-old superstar is making strides on offense for Chelsea. Following Saturday’s performance, Kerr said of her hat trick: “It’s my first hat-trick for the club so I’m really excited about that,” before politely deflecting credit to her fellow teammates. “It’s nice playing with players like Fran [Kirby], Pernille [Harder], and Bethany [England]. Every day in training we score goals like today.”
‘It’s my first hat-trick for the club so I’m really excited about that.' - @SamKerr1????— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) December 7, 2020
Many are calling Kerr’s hat trick “the first of many,” which is indicative of how far her reputation precedes her. Fans expect her to score goals, no matter the opponent. Sunday’s performance was further proof of Kerr’s consistency. From the NWSL, to the W-League, to the FAWSL, Kerr has made it apparent that she’s a threat to go off whenever she steps foot on the field.
Also marking the scoresheet this weekend was Alex Morgan, lifting Tottenham Hotspur to their first win (!) of the 2020/2021 season. Converting from the penalty spot, Morgan’s goal was her first for club or country since the birth of her daughter, sealing the dominant 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion for her team. The goal also comes as a bit of sweet redemption, following a missed PK in a match prior that saw the USWNT star catch quite a bit of heat from English soccer fans.
???? The moment we've all been waiting for!— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) December 6, 2020
???????? A first #BarclaysFAWSL goal for @alexmorgan13 from the penalty spot to give @SpursWomen a third!
???? Things you just love to see! pic.twitter.com/m2NoSXeCoo
After many near-scoring chances (including one in the recent USWNT friendly that was called offsides), Sunday’s goal was the breakthrough Morgan needed as she progresses in her playing career with Tottenham. As Doug McIntyre reported for Yahoo! Sports, the Spurs are unbeaten in the three matches that Morgan has appeared in, tying against Reading FC and Bristol City before finally adding a win this weekend. Following the victory, it looks as if the tables are finally starting to turn for the Spurs, as they advance to ninth place in the league over West Ham United, Aston Villa, and Bristol City.
That was fun. Let's do it again next Sunday. https://t.co/CPcognhalj— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) December 7, 2020
Morgan was a member of the starting line-up during Sunday’s match and subsequently logged 85 minutes of playing time, the most she has played in a single match for Tottenham this season. The contest was Rehanne Skinner’s first match serving as Tottenham’s manager, and it seems that Skinner plans to utilize Morgan in ways that former managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros did not — which may be just the opportunity that Morgan needs to continue getting settled in the UK.
Last but certainly not least, we learned that Manchester City is worthy of their status as a “Big Three” team following a comfortable 3-0 win over Everton on Sunday. With the win, Manchester City edges closer to a top-three ranking in the table, leaping the vanquished Everton to move into fourth place. With plenty of matches left on the 2020/2021 season, a top-three finish is certainly in reach as City strives to move past prior inconsistencies and continues on their current trajectory.
During Sunday’s match, a trio of goals by Ellen White, Gemma Banner, and Janine Beckie went unanswered by Everton in the first half, and City’s solid defensive play held their opponent to only 9 shots throughout the entirety of the contest. Still not impressed? Consider that City’s stellar first half was carried out without the assistance of big-time contributors like Sam Mewis, Chloe Kelly, Georgia Stanway, and Alex Greenwood, all of whom entered the game as second-half substitutions.
While City’s performance against Everton is promising moving forward, their work is nowhere near complete as the squad takes on fellow “Big Three” opponent Arsenal next weekend. Arsenal, who defeated Birmingham City 3-0 in their most recent match, currently boasts a 6-1-1 record and holds second place in the table. For City to continue their climb up the FAWSL rankings, their upcoming contest against Arsenal is a must-win — so buckle up, because it looks like City is only beginning to dip into the talent their roster has to offer.
Bristol City vs. Aston Villa @ 2:30 p.m. EST
Reading FC vs. Manchester United @ 7:30 a.m. EST
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea @ 9:00 a.m. EST
Birmingham City vs. Everton @ 9:00 a.m. EST
Tottenham vs. Aston Villa @ 9:00 a.m. EST
Bristol City vs. West Ham United @ 9:00 a.m. EST
Manchester City vs. Arsenal @ 9:30 a.m. EST
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