Manchester City v Manchester United: Women’s Super League – live | Women’s Super League

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Key events

6 min: Shaw drives City upfield with a powerful run from her own half. The move breaks down but Shaw picks up the pieces and wins a free-kick for her side 25 yards out. Alex Greenwood’s effort canons into the wall and out for a corner.

4 min: There is a smart turn from Toone just inside the City half but her through ball towards Russo lacks precision an is easily cut out. Brief moment of excitement for the crowd with that little moment of quality.

3 min: Patient start from United, who are able to control the ball for the opening minutes without getting into anything resembling a dangerous position.

1 min: We are underway at the Etihad.

The teams are out, kick-off is imminent…

There will be around 42,000 fans at the Etihad today, short of WSL attendance record but another big gate to add to growing collections this season. The FA recently revealed that top-flight attendances are up 200% on the numbers from this stage of last season.

Encouraging youth participation is also on the rise after the pandemic. There are now 100,000 more girls playing football than there were five years ago, according to an annual survey of children’s fitness by Sport England:

Julie Blakstad isn’t in the City starting XI today, but the midfielder has a busy few days ahead. After today’s derby against United, she will have to switch off, whatever the outcome, as she sits exams for her master’s degree in engineering on Monday.

Ahead of today’s game the Norwegian spoke to Suzy Wrack:

After trouncing Aston Villa 5-0 last weekend, Skinner keeps the same starting XI for this one. Russo has scored in each of her last three matches and will lead the line with support from the trio of Toone, Nikita Parris and Leah Galton behind.

City bring in Lauren Hemp for Julie Blakstad as the only change from their 3-1 win over Brighton in the previous matchday.

The teams

Manchester City: Roebuck, Casparij, Aleixandri, Greenwood (C), Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Castellanos, Coombs, Kelly, Shaw, Hemp

Subs: MacIver, Stokes, Houghton, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Morgan, Kennedy, Blakstad

Manchester United: Manchester United: Earps, Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell, Ladd, Zelem (C), Parris, Toone, Galton, Russo

Subs: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Tounkara, Boe Risa, Moore, Staniforth, Lucoa Garcia, Thomas, WIlliams

Preamble

Since earning promotion to the Women’s Super League in 2019 Manchester United have not beaten their city rivals. In that time Manchester City have beaten United three times and played out two draws.

None of this is a surprise. City have been WSL force for far longer than United, but this season there is a growing sense that the red side side of Manchester can truly challenge. Marc Skinner’s side are two places ahead of City in the league, sitting second, and have a number of England internationals in their ranks who could form a solid core around which to build for the years ahead. Household names such as Alessia Russo and Ella Toone are accompanied by experienced internationals from overseas.

For a long time that squad makeup was the hallmark of City’s identity, but they are rebuilding under Gareth Taylor having lost Keira Walsh, Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway to big moves overseas and Ellen White’s retirement following Euro 2022. After a slow start City are beginning to find form. Powered up the table by the goals of Jamaica international Khadija Shaw, a win in front of at least 42,000 fans at the Etihad will see City overtake United in the WSL table heading into the winter break.

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