West Ham and Manchester United go head to head in the WSL this weekend, with both teams marking the delayed start of the 2022/23 season with a win a week ago.
The Hammers enjoyed a narrow victory over Everton to set their stall out for the campaign, while United blew Reading away in front of a record crowd at Leigh Sports Village.
These sides have differing ambitions this season, with West Ham looking to establish themselves as a top half club and United determined to break into the top three and qualify for the Champions League. But each will see this as an important game to make another statement of their intent.
When is kick off? Sunday 25 September, 15:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Chigwell Construction Stadium
TV channel/live stream? FA Player (UK & international)
Referee? Emily Heaslip
Hammers boss Paul Konchesky has no new injury concerns ahead of this one, with long-term absentee Emma Snerle the only confirmed miss here. He could name an unchanged team from last weekend’s victory over Everton.
Full-back Kirsty Smith is set for an early reunion with her former club after leaving Manchester when her United contract expired in the summer.
Summer signing Grace Clinton has become a doubt for United after picking up a cold during the week and missing a couple of days of training. Rachel Williams remains sidelined for another two or three weeks because of a pre-season knock to her knee but has started training on grass.
Aoife Mannion (ACL) remains a long-term absentee for United. She continues to recover and, all being well, could be back playing come January.
Summer signing Aissatou Tounkara is pushing for a start but will have to displace either Maya Le Tissier, who enjoyed a stunning two-goal debut last weekend, or Millie Turner.
West Ham (4-3-3): Arnold; Shimizu, Parker, Cissoko, Smith; Ziu, Longhurst, Brynjarsdottir; Asseyi, Hayashi, Evans
Man Utd (4-3-3): Earps; Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Zelem, Ladd, Toone; Garcia, Russo, Galton
West Ham have caused problems for Manchester United in the past, notably inflicting a surprise 3-2 defeat on Casey Stoney’s Red Devils in 2019 and holding Marc Skinner’s team to a 1-1 draw that proved extremely costly to their Champions League hopes just six months ago.
That being said, the Hammers also haven’t beaten Sunday’s visitors since that 2019 game. This particular fixture also has a track record of goals – 13 in total across three WSL meetings in east London and it is impossible to ignore what United did to Reading in the first half a week ago. It is also worth noting that United cruised to a 3-0 win over the Hammers at Leigh in May.
West Ham have strengthened over summer and will pose a tougher test than they did. They could get on the scoresheet themselves, but a United win overall seems the more likely outcome.
Prediction: West Ham 1-3 Man Utd