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MATCH INFO:

Manchester United vs Manchester City

Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

Kickoff: November 14th, 2020, at 7:30 a.m. EST

WHERE TO WATCH: NBCSN

Week 7 of the FAWSL is upon us, and it is shaping up to be a cracking weekend with four of the top five set to face off. The start of the action on Saturday will see league leaders Manchester United host fifth-place Manchester City. Both teams are coming off of statement-making wins, with United claiming victory over previous league-leaders Arsenal, and City thrashing Bristol City 8-1. If the historic rivalry of the Manchester Derby is not enough to entice viewers to watch the match, the great form of both teams should draw any casual football fan.

Manchester United went into the match against Arsenal last weekend in third place, below both their North London opponents, who were in first at the time, and Everton in second. Chelsea had done United a favour earlier in the day by beating Everton 4-0, and United capitalized with Ella Toone scoring the only goal late on in their win against Arsenal.

The day before, Manchester City hosted Bristol City and dominated them for the full 90 minutes. Bristol City went into the match as massive underdogs, with five of their first-team players unavailable due to one of them developing COVID-19 symptoms the night before, and four other players having to isolate due to living in shared housing with the player in question. Manchester City would have felt aggravated to have briefly allowed Bristol City back into the match, with the score being 1-1 up until the 39th minute, but a three goal blitz in the back end of the first half, as well as four more goals in the second half, led to an easy win for Manchester City.

Manchester United have improved as the season has gone on, and they’ve learned the ability to see out matches. They have not scored the most goals this season (Arsenal has 29, compared to United’s 15), nor have they conceded the least amount of goals (Chelsea have conceded only two goals this season, compared to United’s five), but what sets them apart is their balance of attacking and defensive tactics, a balance that was fully on display against Arsenal.

Unlike Arsenal, United were quite patient while attacking. They did not rush any of their possessions, despite it still being 0-0 well into the second half. This can be showcased by where both teams took their shots. United, who attempted 23 shots, waited until Arsenal’s defense started showing holes. Out of those 23 shots, five were on target, and 13 were taken inside the penalty box. Arsenal, on the hand, were quite erratic and impatient when shooting. Out of their nine shots, only three were in the penalty box.

Arsenal would often rush their play, taking low quality shots from small chances, which Manchester United would then capitalize on. This composure from United led to their lone goal, and they were able to remain tight defensively for the rest of the match.

While United are a team that are tactically patient, Manchester City are erratic, but in the best way. As mentioned before, Bristol City were massive underdogs going into last weekend’s fixture, but not many teams would have been able to score eight past them. City likes to blitz teams using their speed to overload all areas of the pitch. They successfully suffocate teams in their own half, and take chance after chance until they score. It is not a coincidence that Manchester City have had multiple high-scoring games this season —their style is boom or bust.

This aggressiveness can also be their downfall. City’s 3-1 loss against Chelsea earlier in the season showcased the limits of their high-risk, high-reward style of play. Manchester City’s high press created defensive gaps which Chelsea was happy to exploit. Manchester United will look to do the same.

The upcoming derby will also see two USWNT duos go head to head with United’s Tobin Heath and Christen Press facing off against City’s Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. Both duos came to the WSL with a lot of pressure, with all eyes watching to see if their talent could translate into a brand new league for them.

They haven’t disappointed thus far, with both duos certainly making their marks on their respective teams. Now, we’ll get to see which American pair can claim FAWSL supremacy.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE FA WSL:

 

November 14th 

Manchester United vs. Manchester City @ 7:30 a.m. EST

Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City @ 9:30 a.m. EST

Everton vs. Reading FC @ 11:30 a.m. EST

Bristol City vs. Tottenham @ 1:30 p.m. EST

November 15th

West Ham vs. Brighton & Hove Albion @ 7:30 a.m. EST

Arsenal vs. Chelsea @ 9:30 a.m. EST