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WSL Preview: the two Manchester clubs go head-to-head!

There is no argument to be had about who the dominant Manchester club is in regards to the WSL. It is clearly Manchester City and the Red Devils are currently no more than their noisy neighbours, but this season has possibly thrown that into the lurch. Besides an emphatic defeat at the hands of the current WSL champions Chelsea, Manchester United have flown out of their blocks whilst City are getting hit by blow after blow. To make matters even more fascinating, the pair go head-to-head this weekend!

The red half of Manchester was the feature of the last WSL weekly review as they continue to plug away. Their torrid off-season has been prominently covered in the media, yet on the field, they continue to challenge the dominance of the so-called big three. Under new boss Marc Skinner, they may be able to get results against the other sides in the WSL, but the 6-1 thumping against Chelsea may say a lot in terms of Manchester United’s title credentials.

Moving the microscope over to Manchester City and what on earth is going wrong there? Granted there are a number of key players on the sidelines with injuries, but, the results are just not good enough. First of all there was the Champions League disappointment having been eliminated by Real Madrid, and now they are seemingly out of the WSL title race too. City have just three points to their name after four games, the win over Everton on the opening day being succeeded by three consecutive defeats. Arsenal truly put them to the sword by scoring five unanswered goals, Spurs won in controversial circumstances and then last time out, West Ham got the job done on the road, against the odds.

Talking of the aforementioned injuries for Manchester City and there are a number of instrumental names missing in fairness. Amongst those are starting goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, captain Steph Houghton and new arrival Vicky Losada. Two England internationals in Demi Stokes and Keira Walsh have also been out of action recently but they both featured in the weekend’s defeat to the Irons.  

Manchester United on the other hand saw Alessia Russo return to the WSL too following an injury of her own which is good to see. Ella Toone is the star of the moment for Skinner, continuing her form from last season into the national team and this new campaign. Toone had a brief spell with City which is intriguing and although they boast a plethora of attacking talent at the moment, she could be the one that got away. In her last seven WSL fixtures, the forward has contributed five goals and five assists, proving to be integral to her team’s form.

When the two Manchester clubs met last season, Caroline Weir’s goal of the season contending strike sealed the three points in a 3-0 win back in February. Whilst Manchester City spent this week preparing for this huge rivalry game, their two title rivals were in Champions League action albeit with mixed success. Their history together may be brief in the WSL, but we have already seen some excellent matches and this one at Leigh Sports Village promises to excite too.

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