Aston Villa manager Carla Ward says it is the “worst time” to be playing Manchester United following Villa’s poor run of form in the Women’s Super League.
Villa have lost four of their past five league games and were beaten by Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the Continental League Cup.
“I don’t care what anyone says, Manchester United are a top-four team,” Ward told BBC Sport.
The game is at 12:00 GMT on Sunday.
Ward added: “They have an exceptional group of players, I thought they were excellent against Brighton and good in midweek. It is the worst time to play them because you can now see [United manager] Marc Skinner’s style.
“They are playing with freedom and we have to be prepared. It’s easy to say ‘go and get three points’ but we’re talking about a top-four side.
“The two clubs and squads are miles apart. We have to do our best, be realistic and make it difficult for them to get something from the game.”
United, who beat Brighton 2-0 last weekend, are fifth in the WSL table.
Villa are likely to be without captain Remi Allen, who picked up a knock against Tottenham last week. Ward said there were “question marks” over Allen as well as Sarah Mayling and Ramona Petzelberger.
Nothing to lose – Powell
In Sunday’s late kick-off (18:45), Brighton will hope to take advantage of Arsenal’s slight dip in form following their heavy defeat by Hoffenheim in the Women’s Champions League.
The Gunners have lost three of their past four games in all competitions but Brighton manager Hope Powell has stressed they must not underestimate the league leaders.
“You could argue that this is the best time to play them,” Powell said.
“But if I was in the Arsenal camp, I’d be saying ‘now we’ve got to start playing’. We’ve really got nothing to lose and more to gain against them. The expectation is for them to win the game and that’s something we need to manage.
“For us, it shows that they are beatable, they are vulnerable at times and they might not be playing with the confidence they were at the start of the season. It’s about taking our opportunities and just having a go.”
Elsewhere, it’s a huge game at the bottom of the WSL as Leicester City host Birmingham with both sides still searching for a first win this season, while third-placed Spurs host Everton.
WSL games succumb to coronavirus pandemic
Manchester City’s game against Reading has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases in the City squad.
Gareth Taylor’s side – who have won their past two WSL games – also had their midweek Continental League Cup game against Leicester postponed, with new dates for both fixtures yet to be confirmed.
Chelsea’s game with West Ham on Sunday has been called off because of a number of positive Covid-19 tests in the Blues squad.
The postponement means both sides will start their winter break earlier than planned and return to training in the new year.
The game had been scheduled to be shown live on BBC Two.