WSL gameweek 3 awards: Player of the week, debut of the week, quote of the week & more

Ali Rampling
Harder scored twice for Chelsea during gameweek 3 in the WSL
Harder scored twice for Chelsea during gameweek 3 in the WSL / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

After a two-week break, the WSL returned in style this weekend with goals, penalty saves and drama.

Manchester United moved to the top of the table with big win over Brighton, Manchester City got off the mark and Chelsea got the better of Everton in their first match without Emma Hayes in the dugout.

Here's the best of the action from gameweek 3 with 90min's weekly WSL awards.

Player of the week: Ella Toone

Ella Toone
Toone netted a brace for United / Cameron Smith/GettyImages

All eyes were on how Manchester United would cope without regular source of goals Alessia Russo ahead of the visit of Brighton, with the England forward sidelined through injury. There needn't have been any concern.

Partner in crime Ella Toone netted a brace inside half an hour; the first a measured header and the second a well-taken finish from close range.

The creative midfielder then put one on a plate for Leah Galton with a trademark through ball as United rose to the top of the WSL with a thumping 4-0 victory.

Drama of the week: Aston Villa 1-2 West Ham

It all happened at the Banks' Stadium on Saturday.

With West Ham leading 2-0 against high-flying Aston Villa, Carla Ward's side were offered a route back into the game when Kate Longhurst was penalised for handball inside her own box. Alisha Lehmann stepped up to take the spot kick instead of top goal scorer and regular penalty taker Rachel Daly, but saw her effort saved by Mackenzie Arnold.

“It’s clear as day, everybody knows Rachel Daly takes pens," Ward said at full-time. "It hasn’t happened. It doesn’t matter why. It’s in-house. It can’t happen again. If we say who is on pens, they’re on pens."

Kenza Dali pulled one back for Villa but a dogged West Ham hung on to their lead. In the dying stages, Sarah Mayling fouled Hawa Cissoko and a scuffle between the pair of them broke out, with Cissoko slapping Mayling after being shoved by the Villa full-back. Cissoko was shown a red card, a melee then broke out on the touchline and Paul Konchesky was also given his marching orders.

"They're sticking up for their player and we're sticking up for ours and just things getting said to the player getting sent off which I'm not happy about," the West Ham boss said. "So as the manager of the football club I think it's alright that I stick up for my players."

Debut of the week: Yui Hasegawa

Summer signing Yui Hasegawa made her maiden Manchester City appearance against Leicester, having missed her side's opening two WSL defeats through injury.

Playing in the holding midfield role that had almost exclusively been occupied by Keira Walsh during City's time in the top flight prior to her record breaking transfer to Barcelona, Hasegawa hugely impressed with her energy and technical ability. The Japanese international even got on the scoresheet with a fizzing drive from the edge of the box,

"It’s a position for Yui that she brings fluidity to the play, moves around in position and allowed Esme [Morgan] to come join her," Gareth Taylor said at full time. "You can see she’s a top player, someone I’ve always admired, and I think she’ll do really well at this football club."

Record of the week: Manuela Zinsberger

Manuela Zinsberger kept an eighth consecutive clean sheet - a new WSL record - as Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners over Reading.

Although Arsenal dominated the game for large periods, Zinsberger was made to work hard for her record as Reading threw everything at the Gunners during the latter stages.

The Arsenal stopper pulled off two fantastic saves with her feet to preserve her side's slender lead; keeping out Emma Harries from point blank range, and reacting quickly to turn Tash Dowie's instinctive effort around the post.

Quote of the week: Brian Sorensen

Everton's clash with Chelsea saw new Toffees boss Brian Sorensen come up against compatriot Pernille Harder, who he coached during the early stages of her career at IK Skovbakken.

"She's amazing... let's hope she doesn't have one of her best days against against us," Sorensen said ahead of the fixture.

Harder netted a brace as Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners.

"I joked with her before the game; I said: 'Relax today', but she didn't listen!" Sorensen said at full-time.

Most improved team of the week: Tottenham

Rehanne Skinner
Skinner's Tottenham were much improved / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

Although Tottenham had taken three points from their opening two WSL matches this term, they had struggled to create anything clear cut against Leicester - only edging past the Foxes thanks to two stunning solo strikes from range - and had underwhelmed as they were comfortably beaten by rivals Arsenal, mustering just one shot on target.

However, Spurs burst out of the blocks against Liverpool and thoroughly impressed going forward, particularly in the first half as they secured a 1-0 victory. Ashleigh Neville was a constant source of creativity, with both her and Drew Spence cracking the woodwork before the half was out. Spurs were unfortunate to not have put the game to bed by the break.

"We played incredibly well, I thought we were fantastic in the first half," said Rehanne Skinner. "Really moved the ball well and created loads of problems for Liverpool. We had 10 opportunities, we took one of those and we probably need to be a little bit more ruthless in those moments."