On Sunday, Arsenal Ladies face Manchester City Women at Meadow Park.
After winning 1-0 when the two sides met last, Arsenal will be hoping for a similar performance.
The game will be shown live on BT Sport.
Manchester City are now setting the standard for women’s football in England in term of training facilities and professionalism. Arsenal are now trailing behind and need to invest in order to catch up with City, as well as the other teams that have now become full-time professionals.
City are still a collection of talented individuals at the moment and have not gelled yet but as soon as they do they will steamroll most of the teams with their quality, attacking football.
This is a top of the table clash between two teams fighting for a Champions League place and the title. The loser will certainly have a mountain to climb with only four and five games remaining. Even a point might not be enough depending on Chelsea’s and Sunderland’s results.
Like the majority of the FA WSL side, City are a team set up to defend first and attacking is left to the quality forwards they have in Duggan and Parris, seconded by the workhorse Scott. They had been suffering in midfield with nearly no creativity but the arrival of Corboz from the USA with her passing range, as seen against Chelsea, is a big asset for them.
Their goalkeeper is their weakest link with the error prone Bardsley who had a very average World Cup and conceded a bizarre goal from Jordan Nobbs last season. There is also a lot of space behind their attacking left back, Stokes, so who ever plays on the right wing for Arsenal will find acres of space to run in the counter attack.
City have Harding injured while Arsenal have Losada, Nobbs, Smith and maybe Scott still unavailable. Arsenal should have strong starting 11 but the bench will again be very young with mainly ex-u17s and development team players.
Who would you have?
Jennifer Beattie: There is a shortage of centre-backs at Arsenal and she knows the club very well, her ability on set pieces would also be a plus.
Lucy Bronze: She was the best English player last season and was also fantastic at the World Cup. She would be a better choice than Alex Scott.
Natasha Harding: She is a quick winger/centre forward that could do damage with her pace – something that’s missing at Arsenal on the right wing.
Opposition key players
Jill Scott, the box to box midfielder is a very intelligent and technical player. She is also tall and powerful, and has been a top player for many, many years.
Toni Duggan, who is scoring for fun at the moment.
Lucy Bronze is a consistent quick reliable excellent on-the-ball defender.
Daphne Corboz – the diminutive playmaker might be the final missing piece in City’s jigsaw.
Manchester City: Bardsley, Bronze Houghton Radtke Stokes, Beattie Scott Christiansen, Corboz Parris Duggan.
Arsenal: Byrne, Corredera, Stoney, Rose, Mitchell, Bailey, Janssen, Williamson, Carter, Natalia, Ubogagu.
Playing for both sides
Jennifer Beattie was signed by Arsenal from Scotland. She left to play her trade with Montpellier in France early in the Shelley Kerr era and decided to move back to England last winter.
Stephanie Houghton, the England Captain, left Arsenal back in the winter 2014 when City offered better training conditions and wages than Arsenal. Manchester is also closer to her home.
19/04/2015 – Man City 0 Arsenal 1
16/10/2014 – Arsenal 0 Man City 1 FA WSL Continental Cup final
24/08/2014 – Man City 0 Arsenal 4
18/05/2014 – Arsenal 0 Man City 1