Aston Villa prepare for clash against “relentless” Chelsea

Aston Villa manager Carla Ward looks on.
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward looks on during the pre-season friendly against Everton at Bank's Stadium on 21 August 2021 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

Aston Villa are aiming to bounce back from the narrow defeat they recently suffered against Brighton and Hove Albion. The challenge that awaits them is, however, a tough one. The Midlands side will travel to Kingsmeadow for a clash with Chelsea.

On Friday, Aston Villa manager Carla Ward discussed the upcoming fixture with the media. Her team knows that it is going to be a difficult game, not only because of the previous defeats against the Blues.

“I watched them last night,” said Ward. “First off, they were relentless. So we know it is going to be tough.”

Belief amongst the Aston Villa group

However, despite the magnitude of the looming fixture, the Villa boss has full confidence in her squad.

“Like I said to the players, they are a good side. We’ve got an equally good group, we’ve got a group that are wholehearted, that are working hard, that are playing well.

“We just need to be clinical. So there’s got to be a belief amongst the girls. And they certainly have that this week.”

Another confidence boost surely is Villa’s fourth place in the WSL when it comes to points from away games.

“We have to just keep continuing to focus on points”, Ward insisted. “It’s all about the points whether it’s home or away.”

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Looking up for Aston Villa

With 16 points on the board and currently sitting in ninth place, Ward is convinced that her team is safe from relegation. However, this doesn’t lessen their ambitions of banking important points and finishing the season with as many positive results as possible.

“While we are safe, I think the reality is that (…) we’ve got an ambitious group of players and staff”, Ward said. “We want to get as many points as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s Chelsea we’ll be targeting points at.

“We have to target points in every game because that’s the mentality we have within our group.”

Team news

Just like their opponent, Villa might be missing some players on Sunday. Ward confirmed Meaghan Sergeant is back out on the grass and taking part in running, but is yet to return to full team training.

The manager added: “A couple of players haven’t been in training for most of the week. I think Jill [Scott] will be assessed this morning, I think Ramona Petzelberger will be assessed this morning, maybe one or two others. We’ll have to see.”

Expectations after chaos at Chelsea

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On Thursday, Villa’s upcoming opponent proved they would not be distracted by uncertainties on and off the pitch. Ward warned her side not to underestimate Chelsea in regard to this.

“If there’s one thing that will drive them is to look after what they can control,” she said. “You expect a similar reaction on the weekend and they will make sure that they park any emotion of what’s going on off the pitch.

“If we’re going to try and take something, it’s probably the fact that there are two games in three days rather than the emotional side of what’s going on.”

How to follow

The game between Aston Villa and Chelsea kicks off at 13:00 GMT. Fans can follow the match on The FA Player.

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