Manchester United are looking to keep the pressure on Chelsea and Arsenal in the WSL this weekend when they travel to Reading hoping to make it two wins from two in 2023 so far.
The Red Devils thrashed Liverpool 6-0 last time out to give themselves the league’s best goal difference and go three points behind Chelsea, who drew against Arsenal, with a game in hand. They also maintained a three-point cushion over fourth place Manchester City.
The reverse fixture of this weekend’s clash was played at Leigh Sports Village on the delayed opening weeked of the season when United blew Reading away with four goals in the first half.
The Royals have had a slightly better time of it since then and have only lost by single goal margins against both Arsenal and Chelsea. But they remain perilously close to the bottom of the table and were beaten 3-2 by Everton last weekend.
Reading are expecting a record home crowd for this one after selling more than 4,500 tickets, while it is a personal milestone for Royals boss Kelly Chambers in her 150th game in charge.
When is kick off? Sunday 22 January, 14:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Madejski Stadium
TV channel/live stream? FA Player (UK & International)
Referee? Richie Watkins
Long-term absentee Deanne Rose remains a big miss for Reading, who were also without Rachel Rowe and Lily Woodham last time out against Everton.
Leah Galton is the only doubt for Manchester United. Despite partaking in some light training, the influential winger missed last weekend’s win over Liverpool with a back problem and will undergo a late assessment to determine whether she is fit for this one.
Marc Skinner, who otherwise has no new injury concerns, has hinted at a cautious approach with Galton’s fitness. That has previously been seen with Alessia Russo and Ona Batlle this season.
Kelly Chambers has described Reading as a ‘completely different’ team than the one that was thrashed 4-0 by Manchester United in September. That may be reflected in results, but this is a better still Red Devils side flying high on confidence and coming into this one off the back of 6-0 win.
United have made a habit of scoring first and early in games this season. They are also yet to concede in the WSL against anyone outside of last season’s top three. Add those factors together and it looks so difficult for Reading to even get close to them here.
Prediction: Reading 0-3 Man Utd
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