Continental Cup Preview: Everton v United
Manchester United Women are back in action for the first time in two-and-a-half weeks, as we visit Everton in the Continental League Cup on Wednesday.
The game on Merseyside kicks off a crunch month for Casey Stoney’s side, who are unbeaten in the league but still looking to get off the mark in this particular competition.
Here’s everything you need to know about the fixture…
Unfortunately, the match, which kicks off at Walton Hall Park at 19:00 GMT on Wednesday, will not be shown live on television in the UK, although we’ll have highlights on our channels the following day. However, we can reveal that Sunday’s game versus Arsenal in the Women’s Super League will be broadcast live and in full on MUTV, with kick-off set for 14:30 GMT.
The Toffees and United sit second and third in the WSL table respectively. Both sides have 13 points, having secured four wins and a point each so far, although Everton have a superior goal difference of four, thanks to big away wins over Aston Villa (6-0) and Bristol City (4-0). Last time out in the league, the Reds got our own big win on the road, seeing off West Ham United 4-2 courtesy of goals from Alessia Russo (2), Tobin Heath and Christen Press. Everton, meanwhile, were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Brighton & Hove Albion, but they’ve played since, losing 3-1 to Manchester City, after extra-time, in the weekend’s Women’s FA Cup final.
Both sides are yet to get points on the board in this season’s Continental Cup. United lost 3-1 at Liverpool in our Group C opener, while the Toffees went down to Manchester City by the same scoreline. Only the group winners are guaranteed to progress to the knockout stages, alongside the two best runners-up from the six groups, meaning the losers of this game would face an uphill task to qualify.
HEAD TO HEAD
This will be our fifth meeting with the Toffees and we’re looking to keep up our 100 per cent record against the Merseysiders, having won all four previous head-to-heads. Both group-stage meetings in this competition have finished 3-0 to the Reds, while Willie Kirk’s side were beaten 3-1 at Leigh and 3-2 at Walton Hall Park in the WSL last season, the latter in our last game before the COVID-19 lockdown. Lauren James has scored four in four games against Everton, with Katie Zelem netting in each of the two previous Contiental Cup fixtures.
Alessia Russo withdrew from the England squad prior to the cancelled friendly with Germany due to a thigh injury and it remains to be seen whether our leading goalscorer has recovered in time to face the Toffees. Summer signing Ivana Fuso was pictured in training earlier this week – the German Under-19 international is still awaiting her Reds debut after joining from FC Basel in July. Jackie Groenen, Hayley Ladd, Kirsty Hanson, Jane Ross and Kirsty Smith all represented their respective countries during October with no ill effects, according to Stoney.
“Morale’s good,” Casey told us on Tuesday. “It does feel like a long time [since she spoke to club media] with the international window and not having a game. We’ve used the time well to make sure the players have got some good work in. We’ve given them some time off as well and those players that have come back from internationals are fit and well, so we’re looking good.”
Ready for November gallery
United Women have been pictured hard at work ahead of this month's huge fixtures.
OTHER CONTINENTAL CUP FIXTURES
TUESDAY 3 NOVEMBER
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur (19:00 GMT)
WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER
Sheffield United v Durham (19:30 GMT)
London City Lionesses v Arsenal (19:30 GMT)
Liverpool v Manchester City (14:00 GMT)
Everton v UNITED (19:00 GMT)
West Ham United v Reading (19:30 GMT)
Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion
Leicester City v Blackburn
London Bees v Lewes
THURSDAY 5TH NOVEMBER
Crystal Palace v Bristol City
All kick-offs 19:45 GMT unless stated.