Women’s Super League matchweek 12 preview

The Women’s Super League returned last week and brought back the same action that we have gotten used to week-in, week-out. What will matchweek 12 have in store?

Saturday

Manchester City vs Everton – 17:30

With the announcement of Nick Cushing’s departure and the prospective debut of Izzy Christiansen for Everton, this Saturday’s game at the Academy Stadium is full of narrative before a ball has even been kicked.

Manchester City have won every single Women’s Super League game against Everton.

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After back-to-back 3-1 losses against Manchester United and Arsenal before Christmas, Everton will be hoping for a turn in fortune. The Toffees have never conceded three goals in three consecutive games.

Chloe Kelly could be the difference for Everton. The English forward has been fouled more times than any other player in the WSL this season.

City will need a good result to keep up pressure on Arsenal and Chelsea at the top of the WSL table. Getting a win this Saturday will also set a club record for City for most consecutive wins at home (9).

Sunday

Liverpool vs Manchester United – 12:00

Casey Stoney will be expecting her side to react to last week’s shock upset against Bristol City. Manchester United lost their fifth game of the season last time out.

Liverpool sit rooted to the foot of the WSL table. The Reds are now the only side without a win this season.

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Liverpool have struggled constantly in the league this season and it doesn’t get any easier as they welcome United to Prenton Park on Sunday.

United won the reverse fixture at Leigh Sports Village 2-0. 18-year-old Lauren James scored the first – in fact, Lauren James has scored more goals than any other teenager in the WSL this season.

READ MORE: Disappointed Stoney takes responsibility for United 2020 WSL opener defeat

This Sunday’s North-West derby could be Melissa Lawley’s 100th Women’s Super League appearance.

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It will be the third competitive meeting between the two sides, with Manchester United winning the previous two.

Brighton vs Arsenal – 12:30

Arsenal have won 31 of their last 34 Women’s Super League games. They come into the game against Brighton sitting pretty at the top of the table.

The Gunners have gone from strength to strength this season and look as good as ever on the pitch.

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No player has ever recorded a goal contribution in 10 consecutive WSL games – Vivianne Miedema could become the first with a contribution against Brighton. She has 14 goals and 8 assists in her last nine games.

It won’t be that simple for Arsenal, though. Brighton have found some form, particularly at home. The Seagulls are undefeated in their last three at home (2W 1D).

Brighton have improved at a crucial time in the season to do so. They have put some proper daylight between themselves and the relegation battle.

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Aileen Whelan has been the one to give Brighton the lift that they need. She has been involved in 50% of all of their total goals scored in the league this season.

Cecilie Fiskerstrand could make her first Brighton appearance this weekend.

Arsenal need all three points against Brighton, any slip up could be fatal in this season’s title race.

Chelsea vs Bristol City – 14:00

Life doesn’t get any easier for Bristol City as Tanya Oxtoby’s team travel to London to face high-flying Chelsea.

Sam Kerr is looking for her first goal in royal blue after a decent first outing last weekend.

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Bristol City’s squad has been spread thin due to a multitude of injuries, yet it has not diminished the heart within the squad. This has led to the Vixens having started more teenagers than any other team in the league this season.

They could add another to that list if Elise Hughes gets handed her first start for them.

READ MORE: Oxtoby: Bristol need to make sure WSL win โ€˜isnโ€™t a one-offโ€™

As soon as Chelsea turned the screw against Reading last time out, they looked unplayable. It’s going to be a tough ask for City to get anything out of the game.

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It comes at the worst time for the Vixens too. The game follows one of the results of the season after Ebony Salmon’s goal earned them a shock win away to Manchester United.

It also precedes one of the biggest games of the season for them, with them taking on Liverpool on Sunday, January 19.

Spurs vs West Ham – 14:00

West Ham have recovered from the flu and face Spurs in their first game of the decade.

Spurs are undefeated in the last four competitive fixtures between the two sides (W3 D1) with the most recent game being a 2-2 draw in the Conti Cup – which Spurs won on penalties.

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Both Spurs and West Ham find themselves in mid-table obscurity this season but if they aren’t careful, they could get dragged into a relegation scrap.

West Ham have only played nine games this season, though and have more than enough time to push up the table.

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New signings Grace Fisk and Filippa Wallen could make their first appearances for the Hammers on Sunday.

Emma Mitchell could make her first start for Spurs, after making the move to the Hive from North-London rivals, Arsenal.

Reading vs Birmingham – 14:00

Both Reading and Birmingham are coming off the back of huge games against Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.

Reading have never beaten Birmingham in the WSL, putting even more pressure on this weekend’s game for the Royals.

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Reading have also only kept one clean sheet this season (on MD1 against Liverpool), they might be in a worse situation in defence against Birmingham too, with goalkeeper Grace Maloney sent off against Chelsea last weekend.

Birmingham will rest easy knowing that they have a four-point cushion between them and bottom-of-the-table Liverpool. The Blues hold all the cards, with two games in hand.

New signings Georgia Brougham and Emma Kelly could make their first appearances for Birmingham City this Sunday.

Reading could move as high as fourth in the table with a win against the Blues.

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