Manchester City Women look to keep the pressure on the top three as they travel to Merseyside to face Everton. The blues are just three points behind third-placed Manchester United and face a mid-table Everton side who they beat four times last season.
City enjoyed a rich goal-scoring spree against the Toffees in those games, winning both league matches 4-0 and hitting the same scoreline in the FA Cup quarter-final. That was added to with a 5-1 home League Cup success as City marched to the final.
Can Gareth Taylor’s side repeat that feat today?
City have picked up the pace since their defeat at Chelsea in the second game of the season, winning four on the trot and also thrashing Blackburn in the League Cup. Last time out, City recorded a 3-0 win at Reading, courtesy of two second-half own goals and a strike by Bunny Shaw. The Jamaican striker will have fond memories of visiting Everton - she scored her first goal for City on the opening day last season as the blues took a 3-0 half-time lead.
Everton’s form has been erratic. After losing their opening match, the Toffees won the next two, but have only won one from their following three fixtures. A worrying statistic for manager Brian Sorensen, who will be looking to change that today.
Gareth Taylor will leave it until the last possible minute to make a decision on whether or not Lauren Hemp features against the Toffees. The winger withdrew from the England squad due to a thigh injury, and Taylor has remained cautious about her return.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Taylor said “she obviously picked up something quite slight from Reading. We will find out a little bit more over the next 24 hours if she’ll be available or not. We took the precaution over the last few days to keep her out of the training practices.
“We’ll have some news in 24 hours.”
Everton will be without on-loan star Jess Park, who is ineligible to play against her parent club. Former City striker Toni Duggan will not feature for the home side after revealing her pregnancy, while another former blue, Izzy Christiansen will captain the Toffees against her former club.
The blues have won all 12 of their previous matches against the Toffees, both home and away.
73% of City’s goals this season have come in the second half. The blues have scored 11 goals in the second half of their matches, compared to just four in the first.
A win for the blues would see a 13th consecutive victory over the same opponent, equalling Arsenal’s record, which coincidentally, comes against the same opposition.
City have got their rhythm and with Jess Park unable to feature, Everton’s attacking threat has diminished. They do still pose a huge threat to the blues and mustn’t be underestimated, but I’m going for a City win today.
Everton 1-3 Manchester City