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FA Women’s Continental Cup Preview: Everton vs Manchester United

Rescheduled fixture from matchday two gives Toffees chance to advance

Everton v Bristol City - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Preview

Everton take on fellow WSL side Manchester United in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup Group Stage. The match will be contested on Wednesday, December 16 at 2 p.m. ET/7 p.m. BST at Walton Hall Park. Wednesday’s fixture was originally scheduled to be played on November fourth but was postponed due to inclement weather, which caused safety concerns at the stadium.

Having suffered a heartbreaking loss at the beginning of November in the FA Cup, this competition provides Everton with their best chance at earning silverware this season. While the Toffees are still in title contention — Everton are in fifth place and nine points behind table-toppers United — winning the domestic league will be a difficult task.

Should Everton defeat United this Wednesday, they would finish second in the group, trailing City by only one point. With the two best second-place teams advancing to the knockout stage of the Continental Cup, Everton would need to defeat United and need help elsewhere. For a team that has slumped in recent weeks, a signature win against the current league leaders surely would reinvigorate this Everton side.

United have had a strong start to the league campaign, posting a record of 7–2–0 — the Red Devils are one of two teams (Chelsea) not to have lost this season. Despite dominating in the league, United dropped points to Liverpool in matchday one of the Continental Cup and narrowly defeated rivals Manchester City on penalties in the second of three cup matches.

While Everton are struggling with several injuries, Manager Willie Kirk has enough talent in his squad to make Wednesday’s match a competitive affair. It’s possible that Tinja-Riikka Korpela — who kept a clean sheet against in Everton’s previous cup game — deputizes for Sandy MacIver in net. Izzy Christiansen and Lucy Graham will clog the midfield, and Hayley Raso and Nicoline Sørensen will look to provide pop and pace going forward.

Key to United’s success this campaign has been the play of USWNT stalwart Tobin Heath, who was named WSL Player of the Month for November. Head Coach Casey Stoney — who was named November’s WSL Manager of the Month — has her team playing disciplined football and moving in a positive direction. With players such as Jackie Groenen (Netherlands), Kirsty Smith (Scotland) and Hayley Ladd (Wales), Stoney not only draws on a capable contingent of international players, but she has some of the brightest young talents from the England pool: Abbie McManus, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone, Millie Turner and Katie Zelem.

Last Meeting

The two sides last met in the final WSL match before the season was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic — a United 3–2 win at Walton Hall. Despite a narrow defeat last March, Lucy Graham and Dan Turner were the two goal scorers for Everton. It is noteworthy that in the 2019 rendition of the cup competition, the Toffees fell to United by a score of 3–0; Willie Kirk and his side will hope that the scoreline favors Everton, this time.

Match Details

Competition: FA Women’s Continental League Cup Matchday Two of Three

Date and start time: Wednesday, December 16th at 2 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. BST

Stadium: Walton Hall Park, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

Capacity: 2,200 (behind closed doors)

How to Watch/Listen

TV & Radio: N/A

Match Centre: evertontv

Live stream: evertontv (free for members, registration required), FA WSL (free, registration required)

Lineups: TBD