Fresh off of a stinging 4–0 defeat against Manchester City, Everton travels back East to face the red side of the city. The Toffees take on Manchester United on Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford.
The trip to one of England’s most iconic stadiums comes after consecutive league defeats; Everton fell to Chelsea, 3–0, before the defeat to City. The Merseyside outfit is in the midst of a losing streak that comes after the Blues won back-to-back games against Aston Villa and Leicester City for the first time since the beginning of the season.
Of the Toffees’ five remaining league fixtures, three come against teams currently in the top half of the table — Arsenal (first), United (third) and Tottenham (fifth). The other two are games Everton (ninth) should be competitive in — Birmingham City (12th) and Brighton & Hove Albion (eighth).
Including current manager Chris Roberts, who is coaching on an interim tag, no bench boss has been to crack the perfect starting XI for what, on paper, is one of the more talented squads in the league.
Sandy MacIver is a lock in net, and Roberts has been using a center back tandem of Gabby George and Megan Finnigan, the latter of whom only recently began logging minutes for the Toffees. A season after leading all Everton outfield players in minutes, Finnigan was used sparingly during the first half of the season, earning spot appearances near the end of games.
Midfield and forward are where things get tricky. Captain Izzy Christiansen usually starts in the center of the pitch, and Roberts has leaned on a fluid rotation of Claire Emslie, Kenza Dali, Anna Anvegard and Hanna Bennison. Up top, Roberts has relied on either Toni Duggan or Simone Magill to provide the goals.
Two players instrumental to Everton’s fifth-place finish last season were striker Valérie Gauvin and midfielder Lucy Graham, but neither has featured much this season.
United is led by the ever-steady Mary Earps in net, Katie Zelem and Jackie Groenen in midfield and youngsters Ella Toone and Alessia Russo up top. The Red Devils own a 9-5-3 record for 32 points, six behind Chelsea in second place.
Sunday will mark the third time the Toffees and Red Devils go head to head this season. United won, 2–0, in the Continental Cup group stage, and the two sides tied, 1–1, in the league back on Nov. 14. During the 2020/21 campaign, Everton lost 2–0 at home and away, but the Toffees pulled out a 1–0 victory in the Continental Cup. Still, taking one win from the previous five outings is not the best track record.
Competition: FA Women’s Super League, Matchday 18
Date and start time: Wednesday, March 23st at 7:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. BST
Stadium: Old Trafford, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
How to Watch/Listen
TV: N/A - United States; BBC Two - United Kingdom; Sportsnet - Canada, Optus Sport, Viaplay
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