WSL gameweek 5 awards: Player of the week, quote of the week, win of the week & more

Ali Rampling
Chelsea beat Aston Villa during gameweek 5 of the WSL
Chelsea beat Aston Villa during gameweek 5 of the WSL / Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/GettyImages

Gameweek five in the WSL threw up a bit of everything; there was drama, last minute goals, a relegation six-pointer and stunning moments of individual brilliance.

Manchester United and Arsenal both maintained their perfect starts to the season to leave just goal difference separating the pair at the WSL summit, Reading dramatically got the better of relegation rivals Leicester and Tottenham registered a huge victory over Brighton.

Here's the very best of the action with 90min's weekly WSL awards.

Player of the week: Ashleigh Neville

Ashleigh Neville enjoyed quite the day out as Tottenham ran out emphatic 8-0 winners over Brighton. The winger had a hand in half of her side's goals, netting two - a fizzing side-footed half volley into the top corner and a bullet header - and setting up two with her link-up play with Drew Spence.

Her first assist was particularly sumptuous, sending Spence scurrying through on goal with an audacious back-heeled flick.

Having frequently been deployed at right-back during Tottenham's early days in the WSL, Neville has made the left wing spot her own this term, and has frequently been Spurs' most dangerous attacking outlet.

Big win of the week: Reading

Reading were rooted to the foot of the table when they welcomed fellow winless side Leicester on Sunday in a pivotal match up between two clubs battling to avoid the drop.

The Foxes have history when it comes to securing vital wins over relegation rivals, having twice beaten Birmingham last season as they narrowly preserved their WSL status. Leicester had been leading 1-0 as the clock ticked down into injury time following a long-range Natasha Flint effort, before up stepped Rachel Rowe.

The midfielder netted straight from a corner in the 90th minute to level the scores, before superbly holding off a trio of Leicester challenges and firing past Kirstie Levell from 20 yards out to secure a huge three points for the Royals.

“I said to the girls after the match, you love giving me a heart attack!" Kelly Chambers told Reading's official club website at full time.

Super sub of the week: Jordan Nobbs

Jordan Nobbs made her first start of the season against Zurich in midweek, marking the occasion with a stunning solo goal and a player of the match performance.

She was introduced from the bench earlier than expected against West Ham on Sunday following an injury to Kim Little, and levelled the scores with just her second touch within a minute of entering the fray, firing low through a sea of bodies and into the back of the net.

Nobbs turned in a typically energetic display, driving Arsenal forward and having a hand in her side's third goal by keeping the ball alive. Despite being on the pitch for just 50 minutes, it was another player of the match performance from the midfielder.

Nobbs forced her way back into the England squad at the beginning of the season after missing Euro 2022 through injury, but was not selected for Sarina Wiegman's October camp. Central midfield is where England boast the least depth, and it will be interesting to see if the 29-year-old has done enough to force her way back into the Lionesses reckoning.

Goals of the week: Lauren James

There were plenty of wonderful individual strikes in the WSL this weekend - but for the sheer quality of both of hers, Lauren James deserves a special mention.

The Chelsea forward burst past Rachel Corsie with her first touch and found the bottom corner for her opening goal against Aston Villa, before nipping past Maz Pacheco and slamming into the roof of the net for her second. It was an effortlessly classy performance from James.

"I'd certainly say I'm finding my feet again after the injuries," the forward said, having now featured in as many WSL games this term as she did during the entirety of her debut season with the Blues. "Starting to find rhythm and in the flow of things, and I'm just enjoying my football and playing with a smile."

Unexpected performance of the week: Tottenham

What's more embarrassing: conceding eight goals at home to Tottenham, or being the 90min writer who wrote about the significance of a traditionally goal-shy Spurs losing another forward player to injury just two days earlier?

Tottenham are largely renowned for their well-drilled defensive discipline and ability to frustrate teams. They averaged 1.1 goals per game last term, prior to Sunday they had scored three goals in four WSL matches this season and they are not a team heralded for being free scoring.

Spurs went and beat Brighton 8-0.

In an electric attacking performance, Ashleigh Neville and Drew Spence particularly excelled with their link-up play and energy as they each netted a brace, while Jess Naz also chipped in with two goals - her first straight from kick-off was particularly spectacular.

Record of the week: Arsenal

Jordan Nobbs
Arsenal won their 13th game on the bounce / Alex Davidson/GettyImages

Arsenal came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 and extend their winning run in the WSL to 13 matches - the longest consecutive winning streak in the league's history. Jonas Eidevall's side have not failed to win a league match since 13 February 2022.

The Gunners had previously shared the record with Manchester City, but Sunday's win means it is now exclusively theirs.

"Every game is difficult to win so to win 13 in a row is obviously very difficult," Eidevall told the BBC at full time. "So it is a big and huge achievement, and [I'm] happy for that, but it comes with preparing and performing in each one of those games so we keep on pushing."

Quote of the week: Carla Ward

Carla Ward
Ward's Aston Villa were beaten 3-1 by Chelsea / Cameron Smith/GettyImages

Chelsea boast outrageous squad depth, with Paul Green and Denise Reddy spoilt for choice with the strength and depth of talent at their disposal.

What did Aston Villa boss Carla Ward make of the Chelsea starting XI that her side took on on Sunday?

"I got their team sheet and I put it in front of me, and I laughed. I literally laughed."