Manchester City v Manchester United: Women’s Super League – live | Women’s Super League
39 mins: Castellanos shoots a low drive from 25 yards out, it’s a good one but Earps is more than even and gets everything behind him to get the ball back safely.
35 mins: Toone is gaining more and more space which is bad news for City. This time she advances to the edge of City’s penalty area but her shot is poor and dribbles wide.
33 mins: Ouahabi saves City with a magnificent rescue challenge to deny Parris. Russo had skillfully cleared Blundell down the left and the ball from the full-back past Parris looked good, but the Spain international followed it through and slid in to clear.
31 mins: Russo gets her first goal sniff as she is found in the box by Toone’s clever backheel. The striker’s left-footed shot drifts harmlessly wide.
29 mins: City respond with Hemp and Shaw exchanging passes on the edge of United’s box. Hemp’s first shot is comfortable enough for Earps to deal with.
Objective! Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United (Galton 25)
When I said Toone would be the key, I had no idea she would prove me right so quickly. It’s a fine goal for United as Toone combines with Galton to enter City’s penalty area. Toone brings the ball back to her teammate from the left side of the penalty area, Galton’s shot gets a handy deflection to beat Roebuck.
25 mins: Toone looks like the most capable United player to unlock City’s defence. The Lioness gets a time trick and finds a pass in the way of Parris, but Leila Ouahabi defends well to stifle the chance.
22 mins: Luck of nothing! Hemp storms into town and places an early ball on which Deyna Castellanos takes a toe, but it just goes wide.
19 mins: Now it’s United’s turn to take advantage of a period of sustained pressure. First Galton, then Batlle sent balls into the area which panicked the City defense and forced a corner. Roebuck stays strong to claim Zelem’s dangerous ball.
15 minutes: Shaw looks really dangerous. She’s clearly confident with eight goals so far this season and seems to be in the mood today. The Jamaican striker arrives at the boundary line on City’s right and brings the ball in for Chloe Kelly, but Hannah Blundell steps in at the key moment.
11 minutes: Galton turns the ball over in the final third for United and Ellie Roebuck is called into action for the first time to collect the resulting cross.
9 minutes: United clear the initial corner but when the ball is brought up it gets a bit messy at the edge of the box. City have another chance to put the ball into the box from a corner. Two superb back-to-back set pieces from Greenwood put Mary Earps under pressure but United manage to clear.
6 minutes: Shaw pushes City to the top with a powerful run from his own half. The move fails but Shaw picks up the pieces and wins a free kick for his team from 25 yards out. Alex Greenwood’s effort sinks into the wall and comes out for a corner.
4 minutes: There’s a smart turn from Toone just inside the half of town, but his through ball to Russo lacks precision and is easily clipped. Brief moment of emotion for the crowd with this small moment of quality.
3 minutes: Patient start from United, who are able to control the ball for the first few minutes without getting into anything resembling a dangerous position.
1 minute: We are in progress at the Etihad.
The teams are out Kick-off is imminent…
There will be around 42,000 fans at the Etihad today, below the WSL attendance record, but another big door to add to the growing collections this season. The FA recently revealed that top-flight attendance was up 200% on figures at this stage last season.
Encouragement of youth participation is also on the rise post-pandemic. There are now 100,000 more girls playing football than five years ago, according to an annual survey of children’s fitness by Sport England:
Julie Blakstad is not in City’s starting XI today, but the midfielder has a busy few days ahead of him. After today’s derby against United, she will have to switch off regardless of the outcome as she will sit her Masters in Engineering exams on Monday.
Ahead of today’s game, the Norwegian spoke to Suzy Wrack:
After beating Aston Villa 5-0 last weekend, Skinner keeps the same starting XI for this one. Russo has scored in each of his last three matches and will lead the line with the support of 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 the previous day.
Manchester City: Roebuck, Casparij, Aleixandri, Greenwood (C), Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Castellanos, Combes, Kelly, Shaw, Hemp
Subtitles: 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
Subtitles: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Tounkara, Boe Risa, Moore, Staniforth, Lucoa Garcia, Thomas, Williams
Since being promoted to the Women’s Super League in 2019, Manchester United have not beaten their city rivals. Meanwhile, Manchester City have beaten United three times and drawn two.
None of this is a surprise. City have been the force of the WSL for far longer than United, but this season there is a growing sense that Manchester’s red side can really challenge. Marc Skinner’s side are two places ahead of second-placed City in the league and have a number of England internationals in their ranks who could form a strong core around which to build for years to come. Familiar names such as Alessia Russo and Ella Toone are accompanied by experienced strangers.
For a long time the squad composition was a hallmark of City’s identity, but they are rebuilding under Gareth Taylor after losing Keira Walsh, Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway to big moves abroad and of Ellen White’s retirement after Euro 2022. After a slow start, City are starting to find form. Powered by goals from 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.