With Manchester City battling for silverware on three fronts, Gareth Taylor’s side welcomed Leicester to the Joie Stadium. The two teams had met twice so far this season, with the most recent encounter in November’s Conti Cup fixture.
Despite City taking all three points from the 2-0 victory, the game provided relatively little action. So what were the key takeaways from Sunday’s game?
Jill Roord a major miss
Man City’s midfield is undoubtedly weakened by the absence of Jill Roord. The Dutch international suffered an ACL injury in the 2-1 League Cup win over Manchester United and will miss the rest of the season.
While City have several options in the midfield, the Sky Blues lack a direct replacement for their No.20. At times, Taylor’s side missed the creative link-up that Roord provides with the ball frequently being held up in the centre of the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
Leicester are quickly proving themselves a force to be reckoned with. Willie Kirk’s side are just four points from bettering last season’s points tally with nine games left to play. The Foxes have had a far stronger campaign than in previous years, putting a healthy distance between themselves and the bottom of the table.
Speaking after the game, Kirk was clear that he still expected more from his players. “I’ve always said and I’m really consistent with this. We need to see a better Leicester City in the second half of the season and I think we will, I’ve got no doubts about that”.
Jess Park’s influence
The introduction of youngster Jess Park was a key turning point in the match. Her speed and attacking play caused instant issues for the visitors with both goals being scored after the No.17 entered the field. Park has struggled for playing time throughout the season with Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly frequently being chosen ahead of the 22-year-old.Embed from Getty Images
While Park may not be a regular starter for the hosts, Taylor was full of praise for the winger. “Jess has got lots of qualities, she’s dynamic, she’s really intricate with her movement. We made a big point of that at the end when we spoke to the players. The role of those guys who’ve really supported the team well, trained really hard and provided real competition.
“Jess has stepped onto the pitch in the last few games and done great. She’s so hard to pick up in those moments and also, we have the luxury of someone like Jess to be able to play in a number of positions. She did great today, really well.”