We’re set to face Manchester United for the first time ever on Thursday night when we meet in the semi-finals of the Continental League Cup.
THE STORY SO FAR
We sealed our place in the final four in dramatic fashion, thanks to two late strikes from our Dutch duo, Danielle van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema, against Birmingham.
The Blues looked set to reach the semi-finals when they entered the closing stages of our clash at Meadow Park with a 1-0 lead - but with just over five minutes remaining, van de Donk made a darting run into the box and equalised with a fine diving header.
Miedema then raced latched on to an inch-perfect pass by Katie McCabe, rounded Hannah Hampton and fired into an empty net to complete the comeback.
This ensured that we maintained our perfect run in the competition, having defeated West Ham (3-1), Lewes (9-0), Charlton (5-0) and Millwall (3-1) in the group stage.
We’ve scored 22 goals over the course of competition so far, averaging 4.4 per game. Only Chelsea have managed to score more.
Emma Mitchell, Dominique Bloodworth and Miedema were rested in our last outing against Crawley Wasps - and it’s expected that they’ll return to the squad on Thursday.
Jordan Nobbs, Dan Carter, Lisa Evans, Lia Walti, Tabea Kemme, Viki Schanderbeck and Jess Samuelsson will all miss out through injury.
Having only been formed in May 2018, this will be the first time we’ve ever faced Manchester United.
The Red Devils opted to start their journey in the FA Women’s Championship, but with the way they’ve played over the season so far, their stay in the second-tier looks like it will be short-lived.
Despite currently sitting in fourth in the table, United have lost just one league fixture all season, winning nine and drawing once.
If they manage to win their two games in hand over leaders Tottenham, they’ll have a one-point advantage at the top of the table.
Similarly, they’ve also made an impressive start to their first-ever Continental League Cup campaign, winning four of their opening five fixtures.
Their only defeat came at the hands of experienced WSL side Reading, but this didn’t stop them from topping their group. Casey Stoney’s side then went on to record a 2-0 win over West Ham in the quarter-finals.
THE MANAGER’S NOTES
“They’ve done very well,” said Joe Montemurro. “They’ve made a real entry into the league in a big way. They’ve beaten a few WSL clubs now, so that’s great for them.
“We’re looking forward to a really exciting game at home and we want to try and defend our title. Hopefully we can put on a good show.”
ONE TO WATCH
Miedema will be raring to go on Thursday night after being rested in our most recent SSE Women's FA Cup clash.
The Netherlands international has scored 23 goals in 17 starts across all competitions this season, in addition to assisting seven times in the WSL.
The Red Devils have shown that they can go toe-to-toe with a number of top flight sides, but in Miedema, they’ll be facing one of the most clinical forwards in world football.
Only last week the 22-year-old set a record for the most WSL goals in a single season (16) - and she still has seven games remaining to better her tally.
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