On a day where media focus will be on Kingsmeadow, where Sam Kerr could make her professional debut for Chelsea, another important fixture will be played in London. Sunday's game will be the second competitive encounter between Tottenham and Manchester City, their previous meeting coming in the League Cup in February 2019 – Man City winning 3-0 away from home.
Spurs will be looking to try and get back to their previous form, after winning three of their opening five league games this season, they have followed it up with just one victory in their last five. Man City need all the points they can get to keep up their title chase. Having previously lost to Arsenal and Chelsea, they are now three points off of the top spot.
Tottenham have had a number of changes to their squad in the first couple of days of the winter transfer window. Important midfielder Rachel Furness was recalled by Reading on the first day, and later made the move to fellow WSL side Liverpool. On Friday night, many were surprised when Spurs announced that they had signed Arsenal defender Emma Mitchell on loan for the rest of the season, and her experience could be crucial in stopping Manchester City's impressive attack on Sunday afternoon.
Nick Cushing will have a full lineup to select from, in a squad that have made no moves in the transfer market so far
Tottenham Hotspur - Spencer; Neville, Mitchell, Filbey, Worm; Percival, Peplow, Green; Graham, Dean, Davison
Manchester City - Roebuck; Beckie, Houghton, Bonner, Campbell; Walsh, Weir, Scott; Hemp, White, Stanway
Key Clash: Kit Graham vs Steph Houghton
If there is one player who could prove to be the difference for Tottenham, then that is Kit Graham. Signed under somewhat controversial terms this summer from Charlton, she has been directly involved in four of Tottenham’s nine Barclays FA Women’s Super League goals this season (44% - 3 goals, 1 assist); no Spurs player has been involved in more. In fact, excluding own-goals, Graham has scored or assisted four of their last five goals.
Despite some criticism lately for mistakes that she has made at the back, Steph Houghton still holds the place as City and England captain, and she will help to solidify a brilliant defence. Her experience shines through, being the second most capped WSL player of all time (only behind teammates Jill Scott and Gemma Bonner), and also being the player with the most WSL wins
What the managers have said
Spurs head coach Juan Amoros told tottenhamhotspur.com about how they will need to try and find the weaknesses in Manchester City:
“In City, we know that we’re coming up against some very experienced players, they’re very good on the ball and we know they have some great finishers. When you play teams like them, they tend to have less weaknesses and more strengths than other teams in the league so it’s a question of us trying to exploit their weaknesses.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge, but I think the girls are ready for it. Last time we played them, we created a lot of chances and put them under pressure. Unfortunately, that FA Cup match ended in defeat, but it was a great experience and day for us overall as a Championship side. We’ve definitely grown as a team since then so we’re hoping to have a better chance of getting a positive result on this occasion.”
Speaking to mancity.com about his view for the future of his side in 2020, Nick Cushing mentioned that Lauren Hemp would be influential:
“She’s a consistent threat whoever she plays against,” he said.
“If we can get the ball to her, we’ll then feed off the chances she creates. It will push the team back and put the opposition under pressure.
“I thought she was very good in that sense, but her ability to get the ball back for us, her work-rate and her aggression to help the team defensively, was the best it’s been all season.
“She’s evolving her game, she’s improving, she’s going to be one hell of a player for England and ourselves.
“We’ve got to push her hard to make sure she realises that potential.”