This week, Manchester United Women host Arsenal Women at the Leigh Sports Village in a potentially campaign defining match in the Women’s Super League.
In a season and league that’s had more twists-and-turns than a tricky winger, this is a titanic clash that could have plenty of permutations. Kick off’s at 7:15pm and you won’t want to miss it!
Fighting for a Top Three Finish
What’s made this season one the most enthralling to date? Well, there are only three Champions League spots available, but there are four teams that are determined to secure their position.
As it stands, the table is incredibly tight – as too is the race to be crowned champions. Currently, Manchester United top the table with 41 points. Just one point behind, Chelsea sits second, Arsenal are third with 38 points and Manchester City are fourth on the same points.
Though as we’ve become accustomed to this year, there could be another shuffle to those standings.
Current champions, Chelsea, have played a game less than Man United and Man City. Although it’s not until the 3rd of May, they’d be expected to collect three points in their game in hand at home to Liverpool.
Arsenal have also played a match less. Their game in hand comes against table-toppers United, but do they have what it takes to put pressure on Marc Skinner’s side?
Whose Form’s Better?
After being beaten by Chelsea 1-0, United then went onto win 4-0 in their next two league games. Although Arsenal are a tougher test, their demolition jobs of West Ham and Brighton are sure to put them in good stead.
An added boon for MUFC is that in their previous encounter with the Gunners, a late goal from Alessia Russo bagged them a victory in a thrilling contest that ended 3-2.
Going into this fixture, in terms of form, Arsenal has the edge. They’ve got nine points from their last three games.
Under their belt they’ve a 4-0 win over Reading, a 5-1 thrashing of city rivals, Tottenham, and an almightily important 2-1 victory against Manchester City.
Defensively, the Red Devils are difficult to breach. With 11 clean sheets so far, they have the best defensive record in the league. They also have one of the best keepers between the sticks, Mary Earps, holds the record for most cleans sheets in WSL history.
In midfield, Manchester United are blessed with gifted players. From a creative perspective, Ella Toone can supply both assists and goals. This season so far, the England star has notched three goals and provided eight assists.
Sitting, and sharing third, in the top scorer table is Leah Galton and Alessia Russo. They each have eight goals this season and will be keen to add more this Wednesday.
But the pair won’t have an easy time. Arsenal boast a quality defence that includes Brazil’s captain, Rafaelle. The defender has plenty of experience to keep her side calm in a high-pressure game.
A side that has the European champion’s captain pulling the strings is always going to be elite. Leah Williamson, a defender by trade, has displayed her versatility in the face of injuries. She’s been martialling the midfield with confidence for her club.
With injuries to Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, and with Katie McCabe suspended, if Arsenal are to get a goal, it’s likely to be through Frida Maanum.
The Norwegian international has herself seven goals this campaign. One of those came against Manchester City in their 2-1 win, it’s evident that the number 12 can produce in big games when it matters.
It was a late goal that separated the two sides last time out. Whilst we think it’ll be just as an exciting affair, with goals aplenty guaranteed, we reckon the sides will be sharing the points.
Our fulltime prediction is that it’ll finish 2-2. How do you think it’s going to play out?
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JD Football | November 21, 2023