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Talking Tactics: How Man City can end United's WSL title hopes
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Dan Fitch

Manchester City have the chance to derail Manchester United's Women's Super League title bid this evening.

City's own WSL hopes have long faded away but their fans will hope that they can stop their rivals from claiming their first piece of silverware.

Ahead of Sunday's derby, we take a look at how the visitors can end United's dreams. 

Get Bunny hopping

Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, has scored three goals in her last seven games. For most strikers that would represent a decent return but the Jamaican is not most strikers. 

In total, she has scored 18 times in 20 league outings for City this season, so her current run is something of a drought judged by her own high standards. 

The last six matches have seen Gareth Taylor's team lose three times, resulting in an FA Cup exit and their hopes of winning the title slip away. In contrast, they had only lost four times previously this season.

Shaw's goals have been the vital ingredient of keeping City competitive, after losing some key players in the summer. The side need her firing again. 

Bunny Shaw has enjoyed a fruitful campaign overall for Manchester City
Bunny Shaw has enjoyed a fruitful campaign overall for Manchester City

Handle away day pressure

Of City's seven defeats this season, six have come in fixtures played away from home, which includes a 2-1 loss at Liverpool in their most recent outing. 

One advantage for the visitors is that they will not have to face a large crowd at Old Trafford, with the game taking place at the Leigh Sports Village.

The reverse fixture was played at the Etihad and saw City fight back from being a goal down to draw 1-1, which is a result the visitors would be very happy with on this occasion.

Control midfield

When these teams last met, it was City who had more possession. This was particularly true in the first 20 minutes of the game, when United struggled to get through their press. 

On that day, Taylor went with a 4-3-3 formation. Laura Coombs played on the left of the midfield three, rather than in the No10 role that she normally occupies in a 4-2-3-1. 

With United playing with a 4-2-3-1, winning the midfield battle by creating a numerical advantage could be key to getting a result. 

Laura Coombs could drop into a deeper position on Sunday
Laura Coombs could drop into a deeper position on Sunday

Tame United's attack

Though City started well in their home match against United, Marc Skinner's side came back into the game and even with less possession created more chances. 

The Red Devils' successful season has been in large part down to their attacking quartet of Ella Toone, Nikita Parris, Leah Galton and Alessia Russo. 

All four of those players have the quality to produce a moment of magic and it was Galton who combined with Toone in the reverse fixture to give United the lead. 

City have often been sloppy defensively this season. Any errors are bound to be punished on Sunday and that is why packing the midfield to disrupt the supply could be the Citizens' best hope.


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