Former England and Manchester United goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain is waiting with bated breath ahead of the hotly anticipated Manchester derby this evening.
A star-studded lineup
The derby is set to be one of the most competitive and defining games of the Women’s Super League season. With league titles and Champions League qualification in both teams’ sights, the clash is certainly expected to bring fireworks.
Chamberlain couldn’t help but hail the quality of personnel at City’s disposal.
“It’s a frightening time to be playing them [City],” she told Her Football Hub. “You look at the players they’ve brought in… Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Chloe Kelly!”
The previous derby at Leigh Sports Village drew a 2-2 result, however this evening’s fixture sees City boasting the addition of USWNT defender Dahlkemper.
Injury issues for United
On the flip side, United are without a few key players that have been crucial to their impressive performances this season.
Lauren James and Tobin Heath have been forced to the sidelines due to a foot and ankle injury respectively.
Chamberlain commented on the impact of their absences, suggesting “if Man United had Alessia Russo, Tobin Heath and Lauren James fit, it would add a completely new dimension.”
Heath was pivotal to last fixture’s result, scoring a thunderous goal that drew United level and ultimately earned the Red Devils a point.Embed from Getty Images
This being said, a number of stand-out performers are still available to bring the fight to City. Ella Toone – who was recently called up to Hege Riise’s 20-player England camp for a friendly against Northern Ireland – has been a stand-out player for United this season.
To date, the midfielder has six goals and three assists to her name. The young talent will certainly be looking to add to this tally against the Blues.
The American wave
On the whole, the American wave that has washed over the WSL has been no short of huge.
“It’s been a huge impact for the WSL as a whole,” Chamberlain said. “If you’ve got World Cup winners out there then it definitely drives interest.”
The knock-on impact these players have had on young English was also noted by Chamberlain.
“Look at Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly… Ella Toone and Millie Turner for United too. Training with World Cup winners day in, day out is going to develop them as people as well as players.”
Evidently, this evening’s fixture is set to be season defining for the two title-chasing sides. For the neutral, it will be an opportunity to see some of the best players in the world at work.
For the fan, a chance for their team to propel towards the coveted WSL title.
This season BT Sport is showing more Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches than ever before. Watch Man City v Man Utd on BT Sport 2 from 6.30pm on Friday 12th February.