Match preview: United Women v Reading
Manchester United Women will be bidding to begin our 2022/23 WSL campaign in fine fashion, as we get ready to host Reading at Leigh Sports Village this Saturday.
Marc Skinner's side will hope to improve on our fourth-placed finish last season, with the boss set to begin his second full term in charge of the Reds.
With seven players added to the squad this summer, each and every one will hope to play a crucial part this season, as we get set to begin our fourth campaign in England's top flight, this weekend.
Ahead of Saturday's clash with Reading, here's everything you need to know for the lunchtime kick-off...
HOW TO WATCH
Leigh Sports Village is set for a record WSL crowd on Saturday and you still have the chance to be a part of it. Tickets remain available to buy ahead of this weekend's season opener, with adults priced at £6, while over 65's and under 16's admission is available for just £3.
Alternatively, the game is set to broadcast live on MUTV, ManUtd.com and our Official App, with coverage getting under way at 11:30 BST.
The match is also being broadcast on The FA Player too, and we will also keep you firmly up to date with proceedings at Leigh Sports Village through the United App, providing team news, goal alerts, half-time and full-time updates, and much more.
Ahead of our first test of the campaign, United boss Skinner addressed the media in his pre-match briefing on Thursday, insisting United are shaping up nicely, with just two members of his squad set to miss out against Kelly Chambers's side.
“Absolutely fine,” he began. “The only one that will be missing this weekend will be Rachel Williams [who recently picked up a knee injury in training] and of course Aoife Mannion. They’ll be the only ones. Rach is probably three weeks away before she then hits the ground running. She took a knock in training. Everyone else is fine and ready to go.”
Other than Williams and Mannion, Skinner's side have a clean bill of health going into the eagerly anticipated curtain-raiser against Reading.
Leigh Sports Village set for biggest WSL crowdArticle
There could be a record attendance at United Women's WSL opener against Reading this Saturday.
Having recorded an eighth-placed finish in the WSL last season, the Royals will be hoping to secure another solid campaign, having brought in six new faces so far this summer.
The one that will be recognisable to most is former Reds defender Diane Caldwell. The experienced defender has joined the Berkshire-based side on a short-term deal, having spent the second half of the previous term at United, before the expiry of her contract in the summer.
Incidentally, Reading visited LSV on the opening day last season, with goals from Kirsty Hanson - now on loan at Aston Villa - and Ona Batlle ensuring the Reds began 2021/22 in the best possible fashion, with a 2-0 win. Skinner will no doubt be looking for his side to replicate that victory on Saturday and start 2022/23 with all three points.
Highlights: United Women 2 Reading 0
United Women took all three points from our WSL season opener on Friday evening...
United enter this fixture on the back of a strong pre-season, which featured the Reds defeating European heavyweights PSG in France, and most recently running out 1-0 winners over Everton at Carrington. In addition to that, many of Skinner's squad returned to Manchester this summer having turned out for their countries in the 2022 Euros. Of course, our four Lionesses Mary Earps, Ella Toone, Alessia Russo and summer signing Nikita Parris will be buoyed by their success and looking to carry that momentum into 2022/23.
For the visitors, Reading come into the season opener having defeated fellow WSL side Aston Villa 3-2 in their final pre-season outing. The Royals were set to take on WSL newcomers Liverpool last week, but due to the postponement of those games, they travel to Leigh on Saturday to commence their new season.
The Reds will be hoping to recreate our 2-0 win over Reading at LSV from the first day of last season when the Royals visit on Saturday.
In March's return fixture, Skinner's side again won by two goals, with a Leah Galton brace and a goal from Alessia Russo seeing United triumph 3-1 in Berkshire.
Le Tissier: It will be specialArticle
Maya says playing in front of a record Leigh Sports Village crowd will be an honour for United Women this weekend.
Our game is one of six in the division as the WSL season gets under way this weekend. See the full schedule below...
FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER
Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion (19:30 BST)
SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER
UNITED v Reading (12:00 BST)
SUNDAY 18 SEPTEMBER
Aston Villa v Manchester City (15:00 BST)
West Ham United v Everton (15:00 BST)
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur (17:00 BST)
Liverpool v Chelsea (17:00 BST)