Manchester City travel to Reading on Sunday, knowing that, barring a ten-goal win for Manchester United at Chelsea, a solitary point will be enough to claim third place in the WSL and the final Champions League spot.
The blues 6-0 win over Birmingham in midweek put them in pole position to finish above their neighbours, and sit two points ahead with one game remaining.
They face a Reading side with nothing to play for and, after a decent run of form in the middle of the season, have faded away and struggled for points in recent weeks.
Reading’s end of season form has been pretty woeful and, if it wasn’t for the worse form of Birmingham and Leicester, they could have found themselves in a bit of trouble.
Reading have failed to win any WSL matches since a 2-1 win at Everton on 6th February. They have gone nine games without a win, picking up just three points from draws at home to Tottenham (0-0), while drawing 1-1 at Aston Villa and 0-0 at Leicester.
They have won just seven this season, with five coming at home. In December, they pulled off a 1-0 victory over champions Chelsea, but suffered 4-0 home and away hammerings to Arsenal. Reading’s last home game was a 2-1 defeat to West Ham.
Reading have lost four at home and have scored just twelve goals, but conceded fourteen, and haven’t won any of their last three home matches, losing the last two.
Natasha Dowie is Reading’s top WSL scorer with six goals, but Deanne Rose is their vital component. The striker has scored four goals but claimed three assists this season, so the blues will need to watch her closely.
Midfielders Emma Harries and Rachel Rowe will also need to be contained. Harries has three goals so far and Rowe three assists, and City will need to be on their game with these two attacking from the centre of the park.
Reading have won 50% of their home games, but have lost 40%. They concede an average of 1.4 goals per home game, compared to 1.2 goals scored. Their expected goals (scored) per home match is less than one (0.96), while the conceded xG is 1.28.
They have kept five clean sheets in ten matches and have failed to score in 30% of their home games so far this season.
Who’s the Boss?
Kelly Chambers is in charge at Reading. She took over when Jayne Ludlow stepped down to take charge of the Welsh national side.
Last Time Out
City ran out 2-0 winners when they met at the Academy Stadium in March. Our last visit to Reading ended in a 1-1 draw in October 2020.