Manchester City Women will be disappointed with the start that they have made to the 2021-22 Women's Super League campaign, and Sunday's visitors, West Ham United Women, currently sit in seventh, one point and one place above Gareth Taylor's side.
The home team are six points behind early table toppers Arsenal, with some reports suggesting that Man City's title hopes are already fading away, and this weekend's match is being considered as a must-win game for Taylor's team.
Manchester City have been hit with many injuries to key players at the beginning of this season, and Arsenal took advantage of that last weekend when Taylor's team travelled to North London.
Goals from Vivianne Miedema, Katie McCabe, Leah Williamson and a brace from Kim Little sealed an emphatic 5-0 win for the Gunners, which was their first competitive victory over Man City since October 2019.
Manchester City did respond well to that heavy defeat in the FA Cup quarter-finals last time out on Wednesday, when they welcomed Leicester City to the Academy Stadium, and ran riot against Jonathan Morgan's team.
Vicky Losada, Alex Greenwood and Filippa Angeldal all got onto the scoresheet alongside Khadija Shaw, who netted a hat-trick, to help Man City progress into the last four in the FA Cup, where they will face Chelsea in the semi-final.
As previously mentioned, Man City are now six points behind league leaders Arsenal, seemingly making Sunday's game a must-win for Taylor's team, who cannot afford to fall any further behind the Gunners, with WSL history suggesting that, come the end of the season, the champions do not lose many more than two games throughout the campaign.
West Ham's season has been gradually getting better as the games have gone on, with their most recent WSL fixture ending in a strong 4-0 victory for the Hammers.
Tameka Yallop and Claudia Walker put West Ham 2-0 ahead and then they forced Leicester into some mistakes, receiving a helping hand from Ashleigh Plumptre and Kirstie Levell, who both scored own goals.
That performance was most probably Olli Harder's side's best of the campaign, having registered eight shots on target and dominating the ball, but this game against Man City is most likely not going to follow suit.
West Ham will be confident that they can take points back to East London with them this weekend, considering Manchester City's weakened start to the season, but the home side have shown that they are still capable of performing without the injured absentees, like they demonstrated on the opening day against Everton.
These two teams last met in the FA Cup in May, when Taylor's side came out on top with a 5-1 win, after completing the double over the Hammers in the WSL that season also.
There were five changes to the Man City lineup for their FA Cup triumph on Wednesday, and Taylor had to improvise especially in the centre-back position, where midfielder Jill Scott came into the side to operate as a centre-back, due to Alanna Kennedy and Ruby Mace being unable to play in the quarter-final as the competition has been carried over from last season.
Ellie Roebuck, Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Esme Morgan and Hayley Raso are just a few of the names which will be absent from the squad list this weekend, with Man City's depth currently being tested to the fullest.
Adriana Leon and Walker will lead the line for West Ham, and both strikers are now off the mark for the season after Walker netted against Leicester last time out.
Hawa Cissoko came back into the starting 11 last weekend after serving her suspension from the red card she received on the opening day and she will retain her place in the back three alongside Gilly Flaherty and Kate Longhurst.
Manchester City Women possible starting lineup:
Benameur; Stokes, Greenwood, Kennedy, Mace; Weir, Coombs, Losada; Hemp, White, Beckie
West Ham United Women possible starting lineup:
Arnold; Cissoko, Flaherty, Longhurst; Parker, Hasegawa, Stringer, Brynjarsdottir, Yallop; Walker, Leon
We say: Manchester City Women 2-1 West Ham United Women
Man City will be determined to bounce back in the league this weekend, with their title challenge in serious concern of fading away, but West Ham will not make it easy for the home side.
The Hammers are likely to cause Man City problems but with Hemp, White and Beckie as a front three, Taylor's team are strong on the attacking front and they need to be clinical in front of goal.