Manchester United went back to the top of the WSL on Women’s Football Weekend and will be hoping to make a statement in the ever developing title race when they head to struggling Brighton to kick off April before any of their rivals are in action.
United needed ‘choice words’ at half-time in their last outing against West Ham before eventually cruising to a comfortable 4-0 win at Old Trafford. That, combined with Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City the next day, ensured they leapfrogged the reigning champions.
Brighton, meanwhile, still under the control of interim boss Amy Merricks for the second spell this season, are only two points off the bottom but have two games in hand on Leicester below them.
The Seagulls haven’t won a league game since early November and were disappointed to let slip a 2-0 lead against Reading last weekend. Yet it took an 89th minute Khadija Shaw goal for Manchester City to beat them on this pitch in mid-March, so they won’t make it an easy game.
When is kick off? Sunday 1 April, 11:30 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Madejski Stadium
TV channel/live stream? Sky Sports Main Event/Premier League (UK), FA Player (International)
What time does TV coverage start in the UK? 11:00 (BST)
Referee? Stacey Fullicks
Guro Bergsvand went off less than half an hour into the Reading game last weekend, while Elisabeth Terland was missing against Reading after only recently returning.
Injury rules veteran Kayleigh Green out of this one and Wales’ internationals in April.
Only Maria Thorisdottir, who won’t play again this season and is set to miss the World Cup with Norway, and compatriot Lisa Naalsund are ruled out of this game. The latter is still undergoing assessments to ascertain the severity of her injury and could return before the campaign is over.
Marc Skinner has expressed concerns about the quality of the Broadfield Stadium pitch ahead of this one, suggesting it presents ‘challenges’ after watching Manchester City struggle on it.
But the obvious quality in the United squad, particularly after what was arguably a bit of a wakeup call in the first half at Old Trafford, should see them take all three points.
It likely won’t be a walkover in the same manner as the reverse fixture at Leigh Sports Village back in September when it 3-0 inside 40 minutes, But Brighton haven’t kept a clean sheet in the WSL all season, while Saturday’s visitors have the most prolific attack with the most different scorers.
Prediction: Brighton 0-2 Man Utd
For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!