Manchester City Women take on Chelsea on Sunday lunchtime in a crucial battle at the top of the WSL. City have forced their way into the title reckoning, but have always struggled against Chelsea under manager Gareth Taylor.
They have never beaten Chelsea in the WSL under the former striker and their only win was a 3-1 League Cup victory last season.
Taylor himself has stated that it is a must-win match for the blues, but will defeat finally cost him his job?
Last season was a disaster for the blues as they struggled with injuries and form, only to recover in the second half of the season and sneak into the Champions League at the expense of Manchester United. However, following UCL defeat to Real Madrid and losing their opening two matches, the pressure mounted on Taylor from the start.
The blues have recovered well and have turned a three-way race for the title into a four-horse race. However, City are still the outsiders, with Arsenal and Chelsea having a game in hand and United in amazing form.
However, it hasn’t been the usual City style that has taken them into contention, with many points scraped against opposition that, in the past, they have simply cruised past. Part of that problem was the glut of players that were allowed to leave the club over the summer, with Georgia Stanway, in particular, being scathing about how she was treated at the club,
Caroline Weir and Keira Walsh were also allowed to leave, while Jill Scott and Ellen White announced sudden retirements. Spanish international Vicky Losada left the club in 2023 and Janine Beckie was frozen out of the side before moving to Portland.
And it’s fair to say that some of Taylor’s signings haven’t been a success. Venezuelan striker Deyna Castellanos, for example, has scored just one goal in the WSL so far this season. Although this may have something to do with the incredible form of Bunny Shaw, City fans are yet to see what Deyna can truly offer.
Is Taylor’s Job Under Threat?
Earlier this month, Taylor expressed a bit of frustration with the club regarding talks over a new contract. The manager explained that talks had been ongoing since May 2022 but were still to be resolved. And, while Taylor felt at the time that there would be some positive news soon, there have been no further announcements about his future.
Are the club waiting to see what happens by the end of the season? Maybe the reason why contract talks have stalled is down to the blues waiting to see if Taylor can pull off a surprise title win against the odds. It’s not impossible but, considering his record against Chelsea and how his team has struggled to fully break down the opposition in recent weeks, it seems unlikely.
City edged past struggling Brighton in the last WSL game, while their FA Cup match at Aston Villa ended in extra-time defeat, leaving the WSL as their only chance of claiming silverware.
It’s clear something isn’t right at City and, unfortunately, that’s been the case for a while. It’s not something that has suddenly happened, it’s been building for a long time and last summer’s huge exodus of players may have been the start of Taylor’s downfall.
Their charge up the table has seen them as title contenders and it’s only their position in the table at the moment that’s keeping Taylor at the helm.
Should the blues decide enough is enough and fresh leadership is required, they have the perfect replacement ready and waiting in the form of Jayne Ludlow. The former Reading and Wales boss is currently City’s Technical Director joined the blues in April 2021 and will no doubt be ready to step in if required.
What do you think? Should Taylor leave the club if he fails to secure the WSL title? Should he go regardless, or do you have faith in the City manager?