Manchester City travel to neighbours and City rivals United on Wednesday for the League Cup group clash, a match that manager Gareth Taylor will desperately want to win.
The blues have struggled so far this season, and with Sunday’s 4-0 home hammering still fresh in the minds of the faithful, City will be eager to put on a performance that belies their league status. City suffered their biggest home defeat since 2014 and are yet to win a league match at the Academy Stadium.
However, the League Cup has provided a welcome reprieve for Taylor’s side, with City topping the group with two wins from two, having beaten Everton and Durham in previous rounds.
United will undoubtedly cause City a few more issues than Durham in the last round. The blues drew 2-2 at the Leigh Sports Village in October, and even took the lead after Georgia Stanway had been sent off. United replied with two goals, before City equalised late on.
Victory on Wednesday night will see the blues take a big step towards qualifying for the quarter-finals, and the blues have one game remaining after the derby, which is a trip to Leicester.
United drew their opening fixture with Durham, a match that ended 2-2, and have drawn their last three WSL matches, and all signs are that this may well be another stalemate.
The reds sit in fifth place in the league with twelve points, five more than the blues and are third in the League Cup table.
City could welcome back Bunny Shaw, who has missed the last three matches with a foot injury. However, City will still be without keepers Ellie Roebuck and Karen Bardsley, while defenders Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze and Esme Morgan are also sidelined. Chloe Kelly remains a long-term absentee.
What the Boss Says
Gareth Taylor says there is no added incentive ahead of the derby. “There’s no added incentive needed for these games – a Derby is a Derby and of course, we want to be successful. It’s the second one at Leigh Sports Village in a short space of time, although it’s a different competition to the league fixture, in which we fought back well to draw 2-2.
“We’re looking to go one better this time to try and win the game. That’s the objective for sure. We understand United will be in the situation where they also need to win so that sets things up nicely for a good game.”
City will need to dig deep to get a result on Wednesday. Confidence is low, but their form in the cup is good. Although United are likely to score, City may just turn on the style.
Manchester United Women 1-2 Manchester City Women.