What's going wrong at Man Utd?! Struggling to replace Alessia Russo, Ella Toone's poor form and the problems plaguing last season's Women's Super League title challengers

Geyse Mary Earps Ella Toone Man Utd Women splitGetty

Sunday was a huge day for Manchester United’s women’s team. The Red Devils welcomed bitter rivals Manchester City to Old Trafford and a club-record crowd of 43,615 fans streamed in to watch. Most of them were hoping to see a home win, one that would move United to within a point of Arsenal in second place in the Women's Super League, and four behind leaders Chelsea, while also leaving City nine points off the pace with only seven games played. But although it was an historic day at the 'Theatre of Dreams', the match was a nightmare for the hosts.

Despite home advantage, despite going 1-0 up after 21 minutes and despite playing against 10 players for almost half an hour, United came away empty-handed. They were sloppy, wasteful and uncomfortable in what turned into a 3-1 win for City.

Marc Skinner admitted after the match that his United team probably now need to go unbeaten for the rest of the season to stand any chance of winning the title. But based on what we saw on Sunday, that looks highly unlikely.

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The 2022-23 campaign was an incredible one for Skinner's side. They were the only team to battle Chelsea for the WSL title until the final day, they secured a spot in the Women’s Champions League for the first time and they reached a maiden Women’s FA Cup final, too.

But the outlook is quite different with almost a third of this 2023-24 season gone. United couldn’t reach the UWCL group stages after landing a very tough tie in qualifying with Paris Saint-Germain, they’re seven points behind league leaders Chelsea and a defeat at Old Trafford to City has only intensified dissatisfaction among the fans. So, what is going wrong?