Reading seek relegation safety with Aston Villa clash

Rachel Rowe of Reading celebrates after scoring.
Rachel Rowe of Reading celebrates after scoring against West Ham United at Madejski Stadium in March 2023. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Reading hosts Aston Villa this weekend as they look to move out of the relegation spot in front of a record-breaking crowd at Select Car Leasing Stadium.

The Royals are currently placed 12th in the WSL standings, with a total of 11 points, and have a tricky schedule ahead of them—including playing defending champions Chelsea at home on the final day of the season.

Kelly Chamber’s side need a win on Sunday to climb out of the drop zone as they have crucially played a game more than Brighton who sit above them on 13 points. The Seagulls are also in action this weekend against West Ham at 2 p.m. BST.

A win for the home side could see them move up to as high as ninth place depending on the outcomes of the teams around them. Tottenham who occupy ninth heading into the weekend are away to league leaders Manchester United. A loss for Tottenham could be huge in Reading’s fight for survival.

Opposition

Aston Villa have had an impressive season so far. They are currently sitting in fifth position after collecting 30 points from 19 games.

The Villans recruited well in the summer, bringing in experienced England internationals like Jordan Nobbs and Rachel Daly. In fact, Daly is second only to Man City’s Bunny Shaw in total goals scored.

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Manager Carla Ward also lead her side to a first FA Cup semifinal back in late April, but Villa were knocked out following a 1-0 defeat to current holders Chelsea.

Last time out

Reading made the trip up North to the Academy Stadium where they took a surprise early lead against Manchester City through Danish international Sanne Troelsgaard. However, the home side showed character and ran out 4-1 winners in the end.

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Aston Villa were also on the losing side but in the shape of Manchester United. A double from Rachel Daly gave the home team a 2-1 advantage going into the half-time interval. But a late substitution from United manager Marc Skinner proved to be the match-winner, as Millie Turner rose highest in the 93rd minute of stoppage time to power a header across the line.

Predicted lineups

Reading: Moloney, Eikeland, Mayi Kith, Caldwell, Mukandi, Harries, Vanhaevermaet, Rowe, Wellings, Primmer and Wellings

Aston Villa: Hampton, Mayling, Patten, Turner, Pacheco, Dali, Staniforth, Hanson, Lehmann, Nobbs and Daly

Where to watch

Reading and Aston Villa square off at 2 p.m. BST on Sunday, 7 May. The match will stream for free on The FA Player in the UK and internationally.

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