Manchester City's title hopes took a blow with the announcement that Khadija Shaw has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury.

Shaw currently sits top of the Women’s Super League golden boot race with 21 goals in 18 games this season, a total which puts her well ahead of closest rival Lauren James, who is eight behind.  

But she picked up her injury during Man City's 5-0 WSL victory over West Ham last weekend, a match in which she had scored twice in the first half, and will now miss the crucial final weeks of the top-flight campaign. 

City have been reliant on the Jamaican's goals this season and will miss her in what is likely to be one of the most exciting run-ins in WSL history. 

Chelsea sit three points behind City, however they have a game in hand and goal difference could end up being the determining factor if both teams are able to win all their remaining games.

The Citizens’ manager Gareth Taylor confirmed the Shaw blow in his pre match press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Bristol City, saying: “We have an issue with Bunny, she’s sustained a foot injury which will keep her out of the game for certain and potentially longer.

“It’s such a difficult one for Bunny because she’s had an incredible season. 

“We had a feeling it might be an issue when she came off the pitch [against West Ham] even though it was non-contact.

“She’ll be well looked after by the medical team.”

City will have to think about who can fill the shoes of their star striker, but Taylor was confident about his team’s options despite the injury to Shaw.

"Bunny is our main number nine, but Mary [Fowler] has played there, Lauren [Hemp] has played there. Chloe [Kelly] is capable of playing there, Jess [Park] can do a really good job there," he said.

"Of course, we all understand what Bunny brings, she is such a box player, she gives us a different way of playing. Now, we will have a different kind of number nine."

City did, however, have some good news to share as they have tied down Lioness Lauren Hemp on new three-year contract extension keeping her at the Joie Stadium until 2027.  

Hemp has won four trophies, while scoring 65 goals in 157 appearances, and has been a key player in the evolution of Taylor’s side.

Man City have secured the winger, who was out of contract at the end of the season and has attracted the attention of some of Europe's elite clubs such as Barcelona. 

This term she has proved as productive as ever for City, scoring nine goals and adding six assists. She will also be key in the coming matches after the news of Shaw's injury misery.

"I feel at home here in Manchester," Hemp said after signing the deal. 

"With the squad we have here, we are always learning and it’s so special to be involved at a club where we’re capable of achieving anything.

"I’m so passionate about this club and there’s no place I’d rather be. I’m very excited to keep this journey going for the next few years."

With just three matchweeks to go in the Women's Super League, it really is all to play for.

Manchester City lead the pack, three points ahead of rivals Chelsea. The Blues have a game in hand so can even things up, but are also behind the Citizens on both goal difference and goals scored. 

Bristol City are all but down and will drop to the Championship if they lose at home to Man City and West Ham can get a win at Aston Villa, with both of those matches taking place on Sunday.

Arsenal, meanwhile, travel to Everton for the early kick-off. The Gunners have won each of their last 16 WSL games against Everton, the joint-longest winning run by a team against a single opponent in the competition's history (Manchester City also managed 16 against Everton).

Jonas Eidevall's side will be buoyant after securing Champions League qualification for next season, but they have not given up on chasing down the leaders, as they start the weekend six points off the pace.

Arsenal's form on the road has been the chink in their armour this season. Three of Arsenal’s WSL defeats this term have come away from home (versus Tottenham, West Ham and Chelsea), though the Gunners haven’t lost outside of London in the competition since April 2023, in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, going eight unbeaten since then (seven wins, one draw).

The Toffees, however, are also in good spirits after beating Brighton 2-1 last time out. Everton will be looking to win successive WSL games for just the second time this season. Four of their five wins this campaign have now come away from home, however. 

One to watch in this encounter will be Beth Mead, who is finding the form that she was displaying before suffering the anterior cruciate ligament injury which kept her out for almost 12 months. 

Mead has scored four goals in her last two WSL appearances, netting braces against both Bristol City and Leicester City. This is only the second time the England star has done so in back-to-back outings in the competition, also doing so for Sunderland in July 2015 (versus Chelsea and Bristol City)

Elsewhere, Tottenham host Brighton in a mid-table clash. Tottenham are unbeaten in four previous home games against Brighton in WSL play (three wins, one draw), drawing this fixture 2-2 last season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

They will be looking to build momentum ahead of next month's FA Cup final against Manchester United, but the Seagulls could provide them with a stern test.

Brighton are unbeaten in their last three away WSL games (two wins, one draw), their longest-ever streak on the road in the competition; the Seagulls have scored 10 goals in four away games under Mikey Harris. 

Aston Villa welcome West Ham to Villa Park, having struggled to hit the heights they reached last season. Winless in their last three WSL games (one draw, two defeats), Villa are on their longest run without victory since losing their opening five league matches of the season.

The Hammers are teetering on the brink of the relegation zone, but a win against Villa would secure their WSL status for another season. 

No side in the WSL this season has scored fewer goals than West Ham (17), whilst they are one of only two sides in the competition – alongside Arsenal - to be underperforming their expected goals (xG) figures, scoring their 17 goals from chances with an xG total of 20.7 (-3.7).

Another reason why they find themselves in such a precarious position is they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last eight away WSL games (one win, one draw, six defeats), the second-longest ongoing streak in the competition, behind only Bristol City (21).

Despite securing a place in the FA Cup final, Mark Skinner's Manchester United team have found this campaign a challenge after being so prominent in last season's title race. 

The Red Devils began the season with doubts over the future of their star shot-stopper Mary Earps, with United rejecting a world-record offer from Arsenal for her services.

Earps is United's leading-appearance maker in the Women's Super League and could play her 100th game in the competition for the Red Devils this weekend; since her debut for the club in September 2019, the England international has recorded more clean sheets in the top flight than any other goalkeeper (45).

Leicester, United's opponents on Sunday, are looking to change their fortunes but have lost their last two games and could lose three in a row for the first time since December 2022 (a run of five).

Manchester City will look to go six points clear of Chelsea in the final game of the weekend. Chelsea are not in action until midweek due to their involvement in the Champions League semi-finals, with the Blues taking a 1-0 first-leg lead over Barcelona into Saturday's second leg at Stamford Bridge.

The Citizens know they need to keep their foot on the throttle as they pursue their first WSL title since 2016, a drought Gareth's Taylor's team are keen to end. 

Their striker Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw leads the WSL scoring charts this season with 21 goals to her name. However, she limped off last time out and it is thought she may now miss the rest of the campaign through injury. Since the start of last season, she has recorded 51 WSL goal contributions – the most of any player (41 goals, 10 assists).

City will also be keen to further boost their goal tally as the title race could come down to goals scored, should Chelsea win their games in hand and both sides match each other's results for the rest of the season. 

City have scored in each of their last 18 away WSL games (38 goals), the longest such streak they've ever managed in the competition's history.

Taylor's side have been ruthless this campaign, scoring 54 goals, with the likes of Lauren Hemp, Mary Fowler, Chloe Kelly and Jess Park all contributing. Only Shaw (24) has recorded more combined goals and assists than Hemp (15) in 2023-24. 

Bristol City are the team tasked with stopping Taylor's juggernaut, and the Robins have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 29 WSL games, the longest such run any side has ever endured in the competition's history.

With the title race as close as ever and bottom clubs still fighting for survival, it promises to be another exciting weekend in the WSL

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor has offered an update on the injury that forced star striker Khadija Shaw off at half-time against West Ham on Sunday.

Shaw made a blistering start to the game and set City on their way to a 5-0 victory, scoring twice in the first 24 minutes as her team returned to the top of the Women's Super League table. However, she went down with a foot injury in the final seconds of that first half and was replaced by Chloe Kelly after being helped off the pitch by the team's medical staff.

Concern grew for Shaw when she appeared in a boot and with crutches during the second period. City are locked into a fierce title race with Chelsea, who are three points behind them but with a game in hand. To lose a player who has scored 21 goals in 18 league games this season would be a huge hit to their challenge.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Taylor said of Shaw's withdrawal: "We decided not to take the risk. It was touch and go as to whether she was going to come back on the pitch. We'll get a bit more of an assessment tomorrow. She's on crutches, which looks bad, but most of the players end up being offloaded in that situation. We'll just have to assess it. If it's more serious than we anticipate, then we'll deal with it. I thought Chloe Kelly came onto the pitch and did really well in that position, put them under a lot of pressure, created some good opportunities. We'll find out a little bit more over the next couple of days."

The Cityzens travel to bottom side Bristol City next weekend as they look to stay ahead in the title race but it is the fixture the week after that which fans will be desperate to have Shaw available for, as third-placed Arsenal come to town.

Khadija Shaw scored two goals to help Manchester City move three points clear at the top of the Women’s Super League with an emphatic 5-0 victory over West Ham. It was a record 13th consecutive win for Manchester City Women.

City made their breakthrough in the very first minute when Leila Ouahabi placed in Jess Park’s low cross and Shaw got herself on the scoresheet by picking out the top corner inside the box just a couple of minutes later.

Shaw rocketed a header in for their third to take her WSL goal tally past 50 and City sealed the rout with two goals in the final 10 minutes courtesy of Laura Blindkilde and Park.

Shaw'sr 50th goal came after just 57 appearances in the WSL and became the second fastest ever to achieve that benchmark. The Jamaican also established a new record becoming the first player in WSL history to record a goal involvement in 10 consecutive appearances.  

She was substituted at the interval after suffering what appeared to be a knee injury while chasing a through ball just before the break.

Elsewhere, Beth Mead scored in each half as Arsenal secured their third successive league win with a convincing 3-0 victory over Leicester at the Emirates Stadium.

Mead opened the scoring in the 28th minute when she fired home from close range and her England team-mate Alessia Russo was next on the scoresheet when she picked out the bottom corner from inside the box in the 75th minute.

Mead sealed her brace three minutes later with a clever dink from close range to keep the gap to leaders City to six points.

Maya Le Tissier celebrated her new four-year deal with a last-minute equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw for Manchester United against Tottenham.

Looking to continue momentum from their Women’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Chelsea last week, Manchester United hit the front in the 13th minute courtesy of Melvine Malard’s looping header.

Spurs turned the game upside down in the space of a couple of minutes as Beth England equalised in the 29th minute before Jessica Naz whipped beyond Mary Earps a couple of minutes later.

While it looked like Tottenham were on their way to their third successive win, Le Tissier’s close-range header secured a point for the hosts.

Gareth Taylor has urged Manchester City to step up and seize their moment in the Women’s Super League title race.

Chelsea returned to the summit on goal difference on Wednesday night with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa but Taylor’s team will play twice before the current champions get the chance to add to their 46-point tally.

While Chelsea switch their attention to Champions League semi-final action with Barcelona over the next two weekends, City host West Ham on Sunday before they travel to Bristol City on April 28 with the aim of being six points clear going into May.

Taylor told a press conference: “Wednesday night changed things around a little bit again but of course we play now two games before Chelsea play again, so it is an important moment for us to step up and do our bit.

“That is all we will do. Attack the next game, give it our very best and do what we can.

“Yeah, I’m excited about this next period and think it is a great opportunity for us.

“If we had looked at that at the beginning of the season, knowing that most of the time the WSL goes to the final game, I think it is a fantastic position for us to be in.

“We’ve worked so hard and we don’t want to lose that opportunity. We want to continue with it and take it all the way.”

City will have first-choice Khiara Keating in goal after she was able to shake off the knee issue which forced her to leave England national team duty earlier this month.

 

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A Women’s FA Cup final dress rehearsal will also take place on Sunday when Manchester United host Tottenham.

Grace Clinton will be a notable absentee due to the terms of her loan at Spurs from United and she will also be unavailable at Wembley on May 12.

Tottenham head coach Robert Vilahamn has made no secret of his desire to keep the England international beyond this season-long loan but his opposite number Marc Skinner talked up his future hopes for Clinton in a United shirt.

Skinner said: “When we signed Grace two seasons ago, it was that we saw this level of potential for sure.

“It’s really interesting talking to people around her and so on, there is still loads more we can give to her and we can keep adding to her.

“But I can’t stress this enough, the whole reason she went on loan was to be able to do that.

“We couldn’t give her the minutes that needed her to be able to do that but she has now proven she is in that space, she has had that exposure and I look forward to welcoming her back to do that for Manchester United.”

Sunday’s other fixture will see third-placed Arsenal host Leicester with the Gunners eager to close the gap on Chelsea, which stands at six points with four fixtures left to play.

It was a memorable March for Jamaican international Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw and Manchester City in the Barclays Women’s Super League, as they completed a clean sweep of the league’s monthly awards.

Shaw’s remarkable strike against Liverpool scooped the Goal of the Month prize, while her teammate Jess Park was named the WSL’s Player of the Month for the first time in her career. And with City winning all four of our league fixtures across March, it comes as no surprise that Gareth Taylor was also named Manager of the Month.

In a performance of superlatives, it was Shaw’s spectacular first half strike against Liverpool that handed her the WSL Goal of the Month prize. On that goal, Shaw picked up play from Laura Coombs and cleverly flicked the ball around the onrushing Gemma Bonner to create space for a well-struck effort, from about 25 yards out, which nestled into the top corner of Liverpool’s net for her 18th goal of the WSL season.

Shaw followed that up with a second half header, as she took another step towards this season’s Golden Boot.

With five WSL goals in four games, the prolific 27-year-old striker was only just pipped to the Player of the Month award by her teammate Park, but the Jamaican would still reach another impressive milestone in her career to date during March.

Indeed, her strike against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium saw her surpass Georgia Stanway as the Club’s record goalscorer, with her tally now standing at 70 goals in just 83 appearances.