Lauren James celebrates scoring against Reading

A guide to the Women's Super League

This weekend promises to be a historic one for Manchester United Women.

Casey Stoney’s side, who were promoted from the FA Women’s Championship as champions in 2018/19, will open the club’s first-ever Barclays FA Women's Super League campaign with a trip to crosstown rivals Manchester City on Saturday.

Before the big kick-off, here’s everything you need to know about what’s in store for us in the top flight...

THE TEAMS
There are 12 sides competing in the 2019/20 FA WSL, which is one more than last season. Tottenham Hotspur, who were promoted in second place behind United, are also making their debut in the competition. Reigning champions Arsenal are one of four previous winners the Reds will be facing, along with City, Chelsea and Liverpool, who we beat in our first-ever fixture (in the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup) in August 2018.

West Ham United and Everton will also be familiar faces after our successful cup meetings last season, as will Reading, who narrowly edged us out in the quarter-final of the SSE Women's FA Cup in March, and Brighton and Hove Albion. Two former FA WSL runners-up in Birmingham City and Bristol City round off our list of league opponents.

THE FORMAT
Each team plays each other on a home-and-away basis between September and May. In addition to being crowned champions, the side in first place qualifies for the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League, alongside the league runners-up. The team which finishes bottom will be relegated to the FA Women’s Championship.

THE VENUES
United Women’s home games are scheduled to be played at Leigh Sports Village. Locations of fixtures, however, are subject to change and our opening match against Manchester City will take place at the Etihad Stadium, rather than City's usual Academy Stadium venue.

THE PLAYERS
The Reds have added six new faces to the team which claimed promotion from the Championship last term. Abbie McManus, Hayley Ladd and Jane Ross all played in the FA WSL in 2018/19, and have signed for the club from Manchester City, Birmingham and West Ham respectively.

Goalkeeper Mary Earps has been brought in from Wolfsburg, while Sweden Under-23 international Lotta Okvist arrives from Hammarby IF. Jackie Groenen, who played in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final for the Netherlands, will slot into midfield after a four-year spell at German side FFC Frankfurt.

Player of the Year Katie Zelem will be hoping to repeat her stellar performances in a higher division, while Jessica Sigsworth is back in the top tier after two consecutive Championship Golden Boots.

Star opposition names to look out for include Manchester City's England World Cup heroines Steph Houghton and Ellen White, Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema, who top-scored in the FA WSL last year, and Chelsea’s Ji So-yun.

OUR WOMEN'S SUPER LEAGUE FIXTURES*

Saturday 7 September – Manchester City (A) (15:00 BST)

Monday 16 September – Arsenal (H) (19:30 BST)

Saturday 28 September – Liverpool (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 13 October – Tottenham Hotspur (A) (14:00 BST)

Sunday 27 October – Reading (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 17 November – Chelsea (A) (14:00 BST)

Sunday 24 November – Brighton & Hove Albion (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 1 December – West Ham United (A) (15:00 BST)

Sunday 8 December – Everton (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 15 December – Birmingham City (A) (14:00 BST)

Sunday 5 January – Bristol City (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 12 January – Liverpool (A) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 19 January – Tottenham Hotspur (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 2 February – Reading (A) (14:00 BST)

Sunday 9 February – Chelsea (H) (12:00 BST)

Wednesday 12 February – Brighton & Hove Albion (A) (19:45 BST)

Sunday 23 February – Everton (A) (12:30 BST)

Sunday 22 March – West Ham (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 29 March – Manchester City (H) (12:00 BST)

Sunday 5 April – Arsenal (A) (14:00 BST)

Sunday 26 April – Bristol City (A) (15:00 BST)

Saturday 16 May – Birmingham City (H) (15:00 BST)

*Please note that fixture dates and times are subject to change.

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