City outperforming a young United in the FA WSL
The tale of these two Manchester sides is very different from the men's. In this story, Manchester City has been around for longer – since 1988 – while United was established just 19 months ago.
In City's women's team 31-year existence, it has been crowned champion of the FA Women's Super League once in 2016, won the FA Women's Cup twice in 2016-2017 and 2018-2019 and lifted numerous other antique trophies. In contrast, the Red Devils were quick to reach the FA WSL lifting the 2018-2019 FA Women's Championship trophy in its first year as an active club and it is striving for more.
Don't get it twisted though, Casey Stoney's Reds are doing great for their second year and first in topflight, but they are still far from what Nick Cushing has done with the Citizens during this campaign.
League leaders Manchester City have won 11 of 13 matches, scoring 33 goals, conceding five and accumulating 33 points while United, on the other hand, has won six of 11 matches, scoring 19 goals, conceding eight and tallying 18 points. City is in a tight title run amongst Chelsea and current champions, Arsenal, while United has lagged behind those three by 14 points.
The Red Devils have a long road ahead, but the club can shorten that road if it keeps attracting youngsters like Lauren James and other players with international and club experience that could potentially turn this side into a title contender.
Only one goal separated these two rivals in their first-ever match, which was the season opener for the league on September 9, 2019.
Manchester City's Caroline Weir stunned all 31,213 fans – FA WSL attendance record – who watched the introductory derby from the Etihad's stands with a 25-yard-bomb that gave Mary Earps in the United goal no chance.
City gave a nice possession display keeping 63% of it to its name and completing 84% of its passes. But United defended well and had glimpses of brilliance in attack that in the end didn't end up in conversions. The Blues were kept at only three shots on target out of 11, similar to the Reds' nine shots with two on frame.
Their second match came on October 20, 2019, when Manchester United retaliated with vengeance winning 2-0 at home in an FA WSL Cup match.
"We lost there in the Continental Cup earlier this season even though we played quite well, and our players will be hugely motivated," said Cushing while preparing for the upcoming match. "We hold the FA Cup and we want to make sure we're still in the hat for the next round."
Players to watch
Regardless of Pauline Bremer's scoreless performance against Birmingham City last weekend, the German forward is undoubtedly the squad's biggest goal threat. City's ace has converted five goals in her last four matches including two braces against middle of the table Everton and Tottenham.
Bremer is a natural striker who looks to drive defensive lines out of position with her runs and positioning in the area. Give her a couple of feet and the striker will not hesitate to score as she has done so nine times in this FA WSL season becoming the Citizens top scorer.
Katie Zelem, who turned 24 years old on January 20, has been United's best player this season running the midfield and scoring important goals. The English international scored a brace in the Red Devils 3-0 win over Tottenham in their last league game.
Being the penalty taker for your team has definitely helped Zelem's goal tally, but her efforts from the midfield as captain, whether it be defending or in attack, make her United's most important player going into this derby.