Manchester United v Brighton: Women’s Super League – live

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Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps; Riviere, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Naalsund, Zelem; Parris, Toone, Garcia; Geyse. Subs: Guerrero, Malard, Galton, Ladd, Evans, Williams, Aherne, Tullis-Joyce.

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Brighton (4-4-2): Baggaley; Kullberg, Bergsvand, Thorisdottir, Pattinson; Robinson, Olme, Losada, Sarri; Lee, Terland. Subs: Carabali, Pinto, Symonds, Mengwen, Loeck, Sartup, Dent.

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There’ve been happier games. After a terrific effort last season, finishing runners-up in the WSL and FA Cup, the Manchester United have struggled this, out of the Champions League in the qualifiers and the Conti Cup in peculiar circumstances, while making a poor start to their league campaign. As such, manager Marc Skinner is under pressure.

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Brighton, meanwhile, are also enduring a poor season, and on Friday, the board acted. In early afternoon, Melissa Phillips performed her usual pre-match press-conference duties, by early evening she’d been sacked, and by Saturday lunchtime Mikey Harris had been installed in her stead, the club’s fifth manager in 16 months.

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All of which means a fascinating afternoon for us, luxuriating in misery and potential misery. United should win – yes they’ve been worse but no they’ve not been dreadful, and no team could wear the loss, in two years, of Lauren James, Ona Batlle and Alessia Russo. But Brighton have a good, young squad and, when the teams met earlier in November, led twice before an injury-time equaliser snaffled United a draw. They’ll fancy themselves to get something here, and United, with one win and three defeats in their last four league games, might just give it to them.

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Kick-off: 12pm GMT

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Key events

5 min Robinson runs at Le Tissier who, drawn out wide, deals with the situation easily enough.

4 min On Earps, I wonder how much longer she’ll be at United. She’d probably have left in the summer had that been made possible and watching the team go backwards won’t have encouraged her to stay. But with Ineos now involved, hopefully the money will be there to augment the squad with players of similar calibre.

3 min United are dominating territory, pushing Brighton back, before a long clearance allows Blundell to roll back for Earps.

1 min I should say, I’ve not been able to get coverage on my main computer, so I’m a much smaller laptop screen – but fear not, you’ll get your fix.

1 min The teams take the knee and off we go!

Here come our teams!

The problem United have, I think, is that they’re relying on players with talent, who’ve not quite made it elsewhere, to explode – Geyse and Parris in particular. Both are doing fairly well, but they’re replacing stars whose losses are still being felt.

Suzy Wrack has the lowdown on Brighton’s difficulties.

And how good is it to see Vivianne Miedema back? I’m not sure there’s a more perceptive passer in the game, and with Beth Mead now settled, Arsenal are bang in the title hunt sitting three points off leaders Chelsea and behind second-placed Man City on goal difference.

Also going on:

Joy department: a brilliant version of a wondrous tune.

Harris makes two changes to his first Brighton XI: Lee and Terland come in – they’ll play up front – with Pinto dropping out of midfield and the injured Bremer missing from the right wing. By the looks of things, there’s also been a formation change, from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, but we shall see.

United are unchanged following last weekend’s win over Villa, which means there’s still no place in the XI for one of last season’s heroes, Leah Galton.

I’m experiencing some technical difficulties, but we’ll hopefully be good for coverage once we’re a little closer to kick-off.

Teams!

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps; Riviere, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Naalsund, Zelem; Parris, Toone, Garcia; Geyse. Subs: Guerrero, Malard, Galton, Ladd, Evans, Williams, Aherne, Tullis-Joyce.

Brighton (4-4-2): Baggaley; Kullberg, Bergsvand, Thorisdottir, Pattinson; Robinson, Olme, Losada, Sarri; Lee, Terland. Subs: Carabali, Pinto, Symonds, Mengwen, Loeck, Sartup, Dent.

Updated at 11.32 GMT

Preamble

There’ve been happier games. After a terrific effort last season, finishing runners-up in the WSL and FA Cup, the Manchester United have struggled this, out of the Champions League in the qualifiers and the Conti Cup in peculiar circumstances, while making a poor start to their league campaign. As such, manager Marc Skinner is under pressure.

Brighton, meanwhile, are also enduring a poor season, and on Friday, the board acted. In early afternoon, Melissa Phillips performed her usual pre-match press-conference duties, by early evening she’d been sacked, and by Saturday lunchtime Mikey Harris had been installed in her stead, the club’s fifth manager in 16 months.

All of which means a fascinating afternoon for us, luxuriating in misery and potential misery. United should win – yes they’ve been worse but no they’ve not been dreadful, and no team could wear the loss, in two years, of Lauren James, Ona Batlle and Alessia Russo. But Brighton have a good, young squad and, when the teams met earlier in November, led twice before an injury-time equaliser snaffled United a draw. They’ll fancy themselves to get something here, and United, with one win and three defeats in their last four league games, might just give it to them.

Kick-off: 12pm GMT

The Guardian