Preview: Man City travel to Leicester in search of second league victory

Lauren Hemp of Manchester City is congratulated by teammates.
Lauren Hemp of Manchester City is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup match against Everton on October 13, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

Manchester City will make the trip down to the King Power on Sunday as they hunt for a league victory over the Foxes.

Last season’s runners up have had a tricky start to the 2021/22 season, having only picked up three wins out of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Their only victory in the Women’s Super League came on the opening day as they comfortably beat Everton 4-0 at Goodison Park. Since then, Gareth Taylor’s side have endured their fair share of defeats, including back-to-back loses at home which subsequently ended their unbeaten home run of 33 matches.

The Blues also drew away to their local rivals Manchester United in the league back at the beginning of October despite being reduced to 10-players in the first half. Placing them ninth in the table heading into the weekend fixtures.

A home side hungry for a win

Since they were promoted from the FA Women’s Championship, Jonathan Morgan’s side haven’t had the easiest starts to the season either.

The Foxes have suffered defeats in their first five Women’s Super League matches, including loses away at Chelsea and West Ham. They remain at the bottom of the table.

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Leicester City will be relishing the challenge to face an injury-troubled Man City at the King Power Stadium. With the home crowd in attendance, the Foxes will hope to get their first WSL win under their belts.

After a spirited and determined performance at Kingsmeadow during matchweek five, Leicester will hope to bring that same energy into Sunday’s game. It wasn’t until the 83rd minute before they conceded two goals from the defending champions in that fixture.

Looking back

Last time out

Both teams were last in action midweek as they battled it out in Group D against the respective opposition in the Conti Cup.

The Foxes hosted fellow WSL side Everton, in which they were beaten 3-1. Swedish international Anna Anvegard got the ball rolling for Jean-Luc Vasseur’s team inside two minutes, followed by goals from Izzy Christiansen and Valerie Gauvin. Leicester did find themselves on the score sheet through a close-range finish by Ashleigh Plumptre, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win.

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Meanwhile, early leaders of the FA Women’s Championship Durham travelled to Man City. The Blues comfortably won the game 3-0 with Filippa Angeldahl scoring in the 16th minute. Two late goals then followed in the second half. Caroline Weir, City’s latest centurion, came off the bench to score from outside the box. Janine Beckie, who put in a player of the match performance, capped off the evening with a third goal in the final minutes of the match.

Previous encounters

The last time these two sides met was back in September for a Women’s FA Cup quarter-final tie. At half-time the visitors were holding their own at the Academy Stadium, keeping the current holders of the FA Cup to a 0-0 scoreline.

However, City ran out 6-0 winners in the end. Bunny Shaw bagged herself a hat-rick—her first in Sky Blue colours. Summer additions Vicky Losada and Filippa Angeldahl also got onto the scoresheet. Captain Alex Greenwood was in and amongst the goals after converting a spot kick inside the 71st minute.

Leicester City vs. Manchester City predictions

Predicted XIs

Leicester City: Levell; Purfield, Plumptree, McManus, Broughman; Bailey-Gayle, Pike, Tierney; O’Brien, Flint, Sigsworth. 

Manchester City: Taieb; Beckie, Kennedy, Greenwood, Stokes; Walsh, Losada, Weir, Stanway; Hemp, White, Park.

Player to watch

Lauren Hemp will be a key figure for City on Sunday afternoon when they visit the King Power. The number 15 was rested during the week for the cup-tie against Durham, leaving her as a fresh option upfront. The winger has an eye for goal as well as the ability to create opportunities for her teammates.

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Her electrifying pace down the left-hand side often proves difficult for opposing defences to handle. Despite only having found the back of the net on two occasions so far this season, the youngster has had quite a few attempts.

In her last 12 appearances across all competitions, Hemp has had a total of 29 shots and delivered 79 crosses into the box. The 22-year-old is very physical as well as quick, she has successfully won 118 duels out of the 240 faced.*

*Stats from wyscout.

Team news

Leicester City

Johnathan Morgan provided the latest update on the availability on his players ahead of the WSL meeting against Manchester City at the weekend. 

Unfortunately, midfielder Hannah Cain will be sidelined for the rest of the season after rupturing her ACL in a behind closed doors friendly match.

Manchester City

In the Blues camp, a number of key players are out due to injury as they head to the East Midlands this Sunday. 

There’s another injury blow for City as summer signing Bunny Shaw has been labelled a doubt for the weekend. She suffered an injury during the 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup. 

The team is also very light in the goalkeeping department, as first choice keeper Ellie Roebuck is still recovering from a minor set back in her rehabilitation. Back-up keepers Karen Bardsley and Khiara Keating are also unavailable due to various injuries. 

Gareth Taylor added in his latest press conference that a return for Ellie Roebuck is approximately three to four weeks away.

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Lucy Bronze revealed she is at the stage where she is back on the pitch running after recovering from a recent operation. She is closing in on a return; however, the right-back is still possibly a few weeks away at the earliest.

Fellow defenders Steph Houghton and Esme Morgan are also missing due to injuries. 

City’s captain Houghton is continuing with her recovery after she picked up an achilles injury away on international duty. Taylor’s latest update suggested she is in the next stage of her rehab and is due to be out on the pitch soon.

There is no time-scale on a return for City’s number 14 after she suffered a lower leg fracture in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham back in September. 

Out of all the injury updates, there was some positive news as Georgia Stanway is back in contention to return to the squad after serving her three-game ban as a consequence for her sending off in the Manchester Derby.

Where to watch

The Leicester City/Manchester City match kicks off at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and will be available to stream live on The FA Player for viewers across the world.

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