With the international break in operation, there's no Premier League action scheduled for the weekend. However, arch rivals Tottenham-Arsenal and Liverpool-Everton will lock horns on Sunday in the Women's Super League (WSL).
The North London and Merseyside derbies, firsts in WSL history, will mean that much more for the women considering all eyes will be on a different part of that LED screen at Anfield and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - the attendance meter.
English football is seeing a seismic shift in terms of the attention given to women's football. The broadcast numbers during the Women's World Cup and more recently, the attendance figures from England and Germany's friendly at Wembley (78,000), which the host lost tell this story quite emphatically.
READ : Wembley sell-out proves boom time for women's football in England
The WSL this season too started on a promising note, with the opener - the Manchester Derby at the Etihad stadium - seeing 31,213 people in attendance. It remains to be seen if the biggest rivalries in English club football can draw more.
The FA had to bypass several hurdles to give the Women's Super League sole attention, with the Premier League, Championship games and lower leagues taking precedence over the women's tournament. That the weekend now sees a packed women's fixture is a huge step in that direction.
Incidentally, this weekend will see the Reds play their first game at Anfield. The Tottenham Hotspur stadium is also opening its doors to the women for the first time. The venue used otherwise is The Hive, with a capacity of 6,500.
“This is an historic moment for women’s football on Merseyside,” Peter Moore, Liverpool’s chief executive and chairman of the women’s team told The Guardian .
“We’re incredibly proud to have our women’s team play their first league game at Anfield and for it to be a Merseyside derby against Everton makes it extra special. Our fans now have the opportunity to watch our women’s team at our spiritual home and I’m sure it will be a memorable occasion.”
According to The Independent , a large number of subsidised tickets have also been distributed to local schools, football teams and residents, courtesy the LFC Foundation and the club’s Red Neighbours scheme.
What the box office says
According to the Evening Standard , tickets for the North London Derby have sold well with Arsenal having sold out its away allocation. Tickets are prized at £6.50 for adults and £3.50 for concessions.
The Standard also points out that ticket concessions and rates do not reflect on the actual turnout on matchday. Chelsea's 41,631-seater Stamford Bridge stadium saw only 24,564 eventually attend despite tickets being free. The Blues took on Spurs in that game.
This is a big improvement from last season though. When the Gunners lifted the title last year, there were barely 6,000 people there to watch the game.
For Liverpool, the story is a little different. The Reds have struggled this season and will be on guard against an upbeat Everton. The Guardian reports that approximately 15-20,000 fans are expected to be in attendance at Anfield.
The boss of all bosses - surprise feature
The North London Derby will see also feature a half-time talk from two-time World Cup-winning former USWNT coach, Jill Ellis.
How the teams stand in the tournament
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City have won four out of their five games, taking the top three spots in the points table in that order - with Chelsea on top with 13 points and the others with 12 points each. Arsenal is the defending champion in this tournament but the competition has gotten a lot tighter this season, and early on to boot.
Manchester United is placed fourth with nine points from five games, as are newly promoted Everton and Tottenham - which take fifth and sixth place in the table.
Liverpool finds itself right at the bottom with a solitary point from five games.
Big fixtures this weekend
Manchester City vs West Ham - 6pm
Chelsea vs Manchester United - 7.30pm
Tottenham vs Arsenal - 8.30pm
Liverpool vs Everton - 8.30pm
Where to watch
The games from the Women's Super League can be watched on The FA Player app (available for iOS and Android devices).
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