Fran Kirby named Barclays WSL Player of the Month for January

Chelsea's Fran Kirby celebrates scoring her side's second goal.
Chelsea's Fran Kirby celebrates scoring her side's second goal against Manchester United at Kingsmeadow on January 17, 2021. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

After starting 2021 in incredible form, Fran Kirby has recently received recognition as Barclays WSL Player of the Month.

The Chelsea forward kicked off the new year with a bang. She racked up four goals, including a perfect hat-trick against Reading at the beginning of January. Thanks to Kirby’s incredible effort, the Blues managed a 5-0 victory over her former side.

The following fixture against Manchester United saw calm and collected Kirby hit the back of the net once more. This helped secure a crucial 2-1 win over the title-holder’s most vicious threat and sit comfortably at the top of the table.

A 4-0 triumph away to Aston Villa signified a record-breaking feat for the Blues – 33 consecutive unbeaten games in the WSL. Yet, this string of success finally came to an end after a shocking 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton.

Despite this, Emma Hayes has also received recognition for a successful January. The Blues manager was named Barclays WSL Manager of the Month because of her outstanding achievement with the club.

Kirby herself did not make it onto the score-sheet on that momentous evening against Aston Villa. Though, it is undeniable that her work on the pitch has and continues to make a substantial contribution to the exceptional performance of her club.

At the top of her game

The striker enjoyed her most successful period with the Blues during the 2018/19 WSL season. During that time, she scored nine goals in 16 appearances.

This season, Kirby already has 11 goals under her belt from 12 appearances. It seems incredibly likely that the current campaign will end as her best yet.

Whilst Kriby’s Player of the Month recognition pertains to the WSL, her continued success in other recent competitions cannot go unnoticed.

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Back in December, she netted her 69th and 70th goals for the Blues during a Champions League fixture against Benfica. This saw the forward take over Eni Aluko as the club’s all-time top goal scorer.

Kirby has also managed to provide an impressive performance so far this month in the WSL. The forward contributed to a crucial 3-0 win over Arsenal earlier in February. She also appeared twice on the score sheet during Chelsea’s last fixture, where they managed a convincing 5-0 victory over Bristol City.

It is without a doubt that January was a fantastic month for Kirby, with the striker putting on a true display of world-class skill. It is something that WSL fans missed during her prolonged absence in 2020. To watch her thrive and overcome her diagnosis of pericarditis is inspiring.

Worthy of continued recognition

With no more WSL fixtures scheduled for the remainder of February and Kirby having netted three fantastic goals for Chelsea, it seems like she could be in contention to be recognised as the league’s best player for a second consecutive month.

Meanwhile, fans will be watching the striker eagerly as Chelsea face Atletico Madrid in the next round of the Champion’s League. The first leg will take place on 3 March, with the hope that Super Fran can lead the Blues further in the competition.