The two teams bottom of the WSL form table will meet in the early Sunday kick off, but can either Everton or Bristol City see their current league fortunes improve in the New Year?
The Toffees were given a few extra days off, before starting their 2021, after last week’s fixture with Manchester United was called off due to an array of COVID-19 precautions. An eventful 2021 is already underway for the Vixens, after they reached the semi-finals of the Conti Cup by beating Aston Villa 2-1 on Wednesday evening.
The biggest news in the build up to this match was that Tanya Oxtoby has begun her maternity leave. Announced on Friday, she has handed over the managerial reins to Matt Beard, who will be in charge of Bristol City against Everton and for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
The match kicks off at Walton Hall Park at 13:00 GMT.
If reports are to be believed, then versatile defensive midfielder, Damaris Eggurola, will be joining Lyon in the January transfer window. Everton manager Willie Kirk said in his press conference Friday morning that: “She will go with our best wishes and I fully expect that to happen in the next 2-3 days”.
Everton are also set to still be missing French international Valerie Gauvin in attack, with either Simone Magill or Nicoline Sørensen the most likely deputy in Kirk’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Providing that Norwegian international Rikke Sevecke can shrug off an injury before the Christmas break, she should return to the heart of the defense.
Bristol are missing three players from their starting lineup, due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has seen Carla Humphrey and Sophie Baggely test positive for the virus and Jemma Purfield isolate with caution.
Everton: MacIver (GK), Turner, Sevecke, Finnigan, Wold, Clemaron, Graham, Sorenson, Christiansen, Raso, Magill
Bristol City: Haaland (GK), Bryson, Evans, Rafferty, Palmer, Allen, Bissell, Daniels, Logarzo, Wellings, Salmon
Ones to watch
No introduction is necessary for Bristol City and England U19 striker Ebony Salmon. Seven goals in seven starts, in all competitions, this season has put her in prime position for a move up the WSL, either in January or the Summer transfer window. Salmon has a gift for scoring against the run of play. Creating nothing out of something, she deploys herself close to the shoulder of the opposition defenders. Bristol’s star forward is always ready to pounce on the counter attack.
Everton’s glorious start to the season has fizzled out in tandem with the form of midfield maestro Izzy Christiansen. The extended Christmas break will hopefully mean Christiansen is well rested to bring her combative and creative self back into the WSL spotlight. Look out for her tight player marking and swirling set piece delivery.
Last season, this fixture was decided by two moments of outstanding quality from former Everton winger Chloe Kelly. However, that 2-0 win in September of 2019 was Everton’s first against Bristol City in four attempts. Having been beaten, home and away, by the Robins in both 2017/18 and 2018/19. This match is also a repeat of the opening day of the 2020/21 season, where Everton brushed aside a weakened Bristol side 4-0. Lucy Graham’s goal of the season contender breaking the deadlock in the first half.
How to watch
This match will be broadcast on the FA Player worldwide.