Following a round of fixture postponements after a controversial coronavirus outbreak, fourth place Manchester City will be looking to close the gap to league leaders Manchester United as they host strugglers Aston Villa in their first WSL fixture since Christmas.
Villa, off the back of a Continental Cup defeat to Bristol City will be hoping for a respectable scoreline in this one.
The Sky Blues’ last WSL fixture ended in dramatic fashion with Caroline Weir providing a last minute winner against fellow title-chasers Arsenal.
Much has changed since then with City caught up in a coronavirus outbreak with four positive cases following some players taking a controversial trip to Dubai for business reasons over the break.
USA internationals Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis have been called up for their national teams’ double header against Colombia next week and will be unavailable for the rest of the month.
The Villans will hope for more ruthlessness in this one following their Continental Cup 2-1 loss against Bristol City. New signing Mana Iwabuchi is expected to make her WSL debut following her arrival from Japanese club INAC Kobe Leonessa.
Sporting Director, Eni Aluko, told Villa’s club website: “Mana is an exciting and creative goal-scorer who will bring World-Cup winning experience to the club.”
Youngster Olivia McLoughlin may also feature in her first WSL squad following her promotion from their academy. The 16-year-old defender, who is predominantly a right-back, will hope to bring some stability in a shaky Claret and Blue backline.
E. Roebuck (GK)
L. Bronze, S. Houghton, A. Greenwood, D. Stokes
K. Walsh, J.Scott, C. Weir
G. Stanway, E. White, J.Beckie
L. Weiss (GK)
A. Ale, E. N’Dow, N. Hough, C. Siems
M. Ewers, A. Asante
R. Petzelberger, N. Hanssen, E. Follis
Ones to watch
Caroline Weir will offer plenty of creative threat for City, particularly against a vulnerable Villa backline. With three assists already this season, following a hat trick of them against Everton, she will be hoping to add to her tally and maybe even get on the scoresheet.
Elsewhere, Ellen White will lead the line for the Manchester club, providing a real target in the box, whilst also adding a composed hold up play that will serve City well when looking to get women in and around the final third.
Ramona Petzelberger will provide the main creative outlet for a Villa side that have struggled to hit the target this season. The right-sided attacking midfielder stands as their top scorer with three goals so far this season, two against Bristol City, and will hope the opportunity arises to add to that.
How to watch
This match will be broadcast globally through a variety of channels, as well as on terrestrial television in the UK:
UK: BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer
Sweden: Viaplay Sweden, V Sport Football
Norway: Viaplay Norway, V Sport Football
Denmark: TV3 Sport, Viaplay Denmark
Canada: Sportsnet World Now
Germany and Italy: Atafootball.com
The rest of the world can watch via FA Player.