City are on a roll, and are therefore in if-it-ain’t-broke mode. No changes to the team that won 2-1 at Arsenal.
United went down 2-0 at home to Reading in their last run-out, and make one change. Striker Kirsty Hanson drops to the bench, with Jackie Groenen stepping up to bolster the midfield.
Manchester City: Roebuck, Bronze, Dahlkemper, Houghton (C), Greenwood, Walsh, Weir, Stanway, Kelly, Hemp, White.
Subs: Bardsley, Taieb, Coombs, Mannion, Park, Lavelle, Beckie, Morgan, Davies.
Manchester United: Earps, Thorisdottir, A Turner, M Turner, Batlle, Zelem, Ladd, Groenen, Toone, Galton, Press.
Subs: Bentley, Bourne, Jones, Fuso, Harris, Hanson, Ross, Sigsworth,
When these city rivals met at the Leigh Sports Village in November, Manchester United striker Tobin Heath sent a swerving screamer into the top left from 25 yards, sparking a comeback that turned a two-goal deficit into a 2-2 draw. But it didn’t knock Manchester City’s confidence. Since then, City have won six Premier League games on the bounce (and eight in all competitions). The latest was a hard-earned 2-1 victory at Arsenal that has put Gareth Taylor’s side very much in the title race (and pretty much knocking the Gunners out of it). By contrast, since the derby, United have gone on to win five but lose two, against leaders Chelsea, then a shock 0-2 reverse at home to Reading.
City go into this as the form horse, then, and if they win, they’ll leapfrog United into second place, a mere two points behind Emma Hayes’ reigning champions Chelsea. A win for United, and Casey Stoney’s women will draw level with Chelsea at the top … but they’ll have to do it without November’s hero Heath, who is out with an ankle injury. Can the likes of Lucy Bronze and Ellen White push home City’s on-paper advantage? This next chapter of a three-horse title race promises intrigue and excitement. It’s on!
Kick off: 7pm GMT.