Five things to look out for in the Barclays FA WSL this weekend

Soccer Football - Women's Super League - Arsenal v Manchester City - Meadow Park, Borehamwood, Britain - May 11, 2019 Arsenal's Beth Mead in action with Manchester City's Megan Campbell Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Soccer Football - Women's Super League - Arsenal v Manchester City - Meadow Park, Borehamwood, Britain - May 11, 2019 Arsenal's Beth Mead in action with Manchester City's Megan Campbell Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

With London derbies and top-of-the-table clashes, there is no doubt that another thrilling weekend of Barclays FA Women’s Super League football lies ahead before the top-flight breaks for cup and international action.

We looked at five things to look out for on Sunday:

1) Lionesses could prove the difference at Borehamwood

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The biggest match of the weekend sees 2018/19 champions Arsenal welcome last season’s runners-up Manchester City to North London, a fixture guaranteed to prove vital come the end of the campaign.

The visitors are currently setting the pace at the top of the league, having won four from four without conceding a single goal, while Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their slim 2-1 defeat to Chelsea last time out at Kingsmeadow.

With the last four league games between the sides having ended 1-0 to the Gunners, both teams will be looking for their point of difference on Sunday, which very well could be the showings of the Lionesses they have within their ranks.

For Arsenal, all eyes will be on Beth Mead, the England striker having scored seven goals and provided six assists in all competitions this season, while City will be looking forward to the potential return of the electric Georgia Stanway, who has missed the start of the season through injury.

The midfield is usually an evenly-matched affair, but with City and England midfielder Keira Walsh ruled out through suspension, it could be time for Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs to shine in a central role.

2) Can Williams provide more late heroics?

For the first time in domestic competition, Manchester United and Reading will face off at Leigh Sports Village, both keen to pull in the points to keep up with the early pacesetters.

Both sides have an identical record in the league so far – two wins, two losses – but there has been one player who has stood out of late, and that’s Reading’s veteran midfielder Fara Williams.

Williams showed exactly why she remains England’s all-time most capped player, and one of the most respected players in the women’s game, against Lewes in the Conti Cup last weekend, taking matters into her own hands by scoring a match-winning hat-trick at the Madejski Stadium.

United may be a side in form, but the newcomers will have to prove they are able to deal with the old greats if they want to secure victory on Saturday, with Williams surely on the hunt for goals once more.

3) West meets East in London derby

Emma Hayes will be one of many pleased to get back stuck into league action this weekend, the Chelsea boss having slammed the Continental Cup for damaging the growth of the Women’s Super League.

And her side will not have to travel far for their weekend’s football, with a short trip across the capital all that is required to meet West Ham at Rush Green.

West Ham, playing in their second top-flight season, will be looking to win successive Women’s Super League matches for just the second time, but face a stern test against Chelsea who are unbeaten in their last six London derbies on the road.

Last time the two sides met in the league, it was ex-Blues defender Gilly Flaherty who scored to seal a 1-1 draw for the Hammers – and Matt Beard will be hoping it's his trusty centre-back who can become the unlikely hero once again.

4) Liverpool looking to build Anfield hype

It’s been a huge week for Liverpool’s women’s side, the club having announced that they will play their first-ever league game at Anfield in November against Merseyside rivals Everton.

Fans, coaches and players alike have called on the city of Liverpool to come out and show their support on November 17, but an improvement on their second from bottom league position would surely help pull in the numbers.

Liverpool, who sit in 11th with just one point from four games, travel to bottom of the table Birmingham who are yet to win a game this season.

There will be few better opportunities for the Reds to get a win under their belt, and Vicky Jepson will be urging her side to grab it with both hands.

5) Spurs eyeing debut season success

Elsewhere, Tottenham will be confident of securing their third win in four games as they head to a Bristol City side who are winless in their last seven outings.

Spurs were tested last weekend against a tenacious West Ham in the Conti Cup and only managed to edge the tie thanks to Rachel Furness’ winning penalty.

Addressing complacency will be key on Sunday after Tottenham allowed West Ham to score two late goals to take the cup tie to penalties, with Bristol City sure to be gunning for the three points to pull away from the relegation patch.

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