With the international break now over, Karen Hills will look to carry on the impressive form shown by her side so far in the 2019/20 season. They currently sit fourth in the league’s table after securing six points in their first three games of the campaign. Losing to Chelsea in the first weekend in front of a packed out Stamford Bridge, they were only bettered by a Beth England wonder goal that many would have struggled to save.
Bouncing back from opening day defeat, Spurs secured a 1-0 home win against a ten-strong Liverpool with a 45th minute penalty, and were the victors at the end of September against West Ham United against London Stadium, notching in two with over 24,000 paying supporters in attendance. However, they suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of fellow WSL side Reading in the Continental Cup, although this does not seem to have altered their momentum.
Both teams were promoted from the FA Women’s Championship at the end of the 2018/19 season, with Manchester United topping the division with an incredible 55 points, although it was as if they were a professional side masquerading themselves inside of a semi-professional league.
So far, their start has seen them only pick up three points, starting with them falling in the Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium in front of an incredible crowd, Caroline Weir’s thunderstrike beating keeper Mary Earps.
What followed was a 1-0 defeat to last season’s title winners Arsenal, Daniëlle van de Donk slotting into the back incredibly late on to give the gunners all three in a close-fought match. Their only win so far is a 2-1 betterment of Liverpool in their last game but reports of the match were sadly overshadowed by reports of issues with supporter behaviour. United did not feature in the first round of the Continental Cup, but after Sunday’s game they will once again contest a derby, this time when they host City in the cup at home.
This week, Tottenham received the news that summer signing from Reading, Gemma Davison, had suffered a significant injury in training to her ankle ligaments. The club have not put a timeframe on how long the forward will be out of action for, but it seems as if she will be unavailable for a significant amount of time.
Casey Stoney will be looking to reintroduce dutch international Jackie Groenen back to the squad after she missed both the Arsenal and Liverpool matches for United due to injury, picking up a knock in the Manchester Derby on her first game for the club. Defender Abbie McManus was forced to withdraw from the Lionesses' latest camp, and the Reds are waiting on her fitness to see if she can rejoin the side. Goalkeepers Emily Ramsey and Fran Bentley are both missing with long-term injuries.
Tottenham Hotspur - Spencer, Percival, Godfrey, Filbey, Worm, Furness, Peplow, Green, Ayane, Dean, Graham.
Manchester United - Earps, Smith, McManus, Turner, Oqvist, Toone, Zelem, Groenen, Sigsworth, James, Galton
Ones to watch
Tottenham Hotspur - Rianna Dean
The forward netted one in her last game for Spurs, having started two so far in the League. Dean was influential in the club's promotion push from the FA Women's Championship last year, with her netting 14 goals in 19 games in what was only her first season at the club.
20 years old, she has represented England at U17, U19, and U20 level, and will be looking to try and make as much of an impact as possible in this year's campaign to increase her gametime with the national side, not being selected for the Under 19 Euros this summer.
Manchester United - Lauren James
James has only recently turned eighteen, but the creative talent has already started to make her impact on Casey Stoney's WSL side. She scored in her last game - a 2-0 win over rivals Liverpool, using a wonderful piece of skill to beat her defender and then slotting home with ease.
James has quickly risen to become a fans' favourite in Manchester, scoring 17 in 27 matches last year in her first full season of professional football with the newly formed side, having played eight for Arsenal in the 2017-18 season.
The managers' views
Ahead of Spurs' first WSL meeting with United, Head Coach Karen Hills said:
“We’ve come a long way since we competed against them in the Championship. We’ve almost got a completely new team, they’ve also recruited extremely well and they’ve had some tough games at the start of their campaign but they’ve done excellently.
“We know it’s going to be an extremely tough game and we’re ready for the challenge, we’ve prepared the girls as best as we can, and they’re excited to play in front of our home crowd against another top team.
“Another three points would do nicely for us. It’s not always going to go our way, we know there’s going to be highs and lows throughout the season but the challenge for us is to get as many points on the board as possible.”
Casey Stoney believes that her United side are ready for the Spurs test:
“We need to make sure we get the detail right in terms of our game plan. We go there full of confidence off the back of a win [against Liverpool] but we know it’s a good side we’re playing against.
“It doesn’t get much easier does it? We go away to Tottenham, then City come here,” Stoney added.
“It’s another great test for us in the cup and it’s a game we want to win. We want to do well, we want to have a cup run. We’ll acquit ourselves for that.
“Obviously we face Tottenham first and we do literally prepare one game at a time.“