The Blues reconvene at the Academy Stadium this weekend to take on Birmingham City in the WSL with the hope of making it four wins from four in the league.
The women left for their national duties with City sitting in second place, with only them and Arsenal making perfect starts. A 1-0 win away at Everton was the latest result and in tough conditions, Steph Houghton’s goal was enough to take all three points.
Birmingham have not had such a great start to their campaign,. losing their opening two matches and currently sit second bottom. The third game was postponed due to bad weather.
Lauren Hemp, fresh off her first England cap, is the first name off the injury list and is likely to feature against Birmingham. Ellen White, Karen Bardsley, Laura Coombs and Georgia Stanway are all still sidelined however.
It’s going to be important to match Arsenal’s form continuously and Nick Cushing will want to continue the good form. Especially with a important Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid looming.
Predicted XI: Roebuck, Mannion, Houghton (C), Bonner, Stokes, Walsh, Scott, Weir, Beckie, Wullaert, Bremer
Ahead of the game, we spoke to GreatSince68 to get their thoughts:
1) Birmingham have had a tough start to the season losing both opening games, but are yet to play their third, what have you made to your start?
Birmingham City fans didn’t know what to expect to be honest when we kicked off the season with such a big turnover of players taking place. Any side that loses 10 first-team players is bound to feel it, at least initially. Despite that though we only lost to Everton because of an own goal and were denied an equaliser against West Ham after Lucy Staniforth’s effort was adjudged to have not crossed the line. All in all I think we’ve looked like a side that’s getting to know each other and that’s understandable. I’m seeing signs of improvement every week though and I’m positive we will pick up our first points sooner rather than later.
2) City took both Aofie Mannion and Ellen White from Birmingham in the summer, what can we expect from the two of them in their City careers?
Aoife Mannion has all the traits to become the future captain of England. She is an incredible defender who is continuously working on her game and is at her best when she’s playing at centre-back. She is a player who genuinely surprises you when she makes a mistake and that’s the level of consistency she showed at Blues. Ellen White is a complete forward and as she showed at the World Cup, she’s really hitting the peak of her talents. Give her a chance in front of goal and she’ll bury it nine times out of 10. She is bound to be a difference maker for Manchester City, if she can stay fit, and is an absolute steal on a free transfer.
3) How have you rated your summer business?
Thinking outside the box comes to mind when I think of our summer transfers. A lot of the players we have signed are not what you’d call household names but that’s because they’ve played most of their football outside of the UK. The likes of Adrienne Jordan for instance have played in Iceland, Italy and Sweden and she’s still only 25-years-old. It was important to build a team prepared for a fight after losing 10 players in the summer and I can see that. It’s early on but I can see Brianna Visalli becoming our new Hayley Ladd in midfield. She has an eye for a pass and has the tenacity in the tackle to calm our new look back-line.
4) What are your hopes and aspirations for the upcoming season?
After such a large overhaul in the summer I was initially quite concerned about the season ahead. But we’ve made some good signings since then and I believe it’s starting to gel together. I’m under no illusions that we can compete at the top of the table this year but a mid-table finish would please me greatly.
5) And finally, what is your predicted XI for the weekends game and a score prediction?
Hampton Jordan, Holloway, Harrop, Scott Arthur, Visalli Mayling, Staniforth, Grant Williams. Score Prediction: 2-2
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