WSL: Manchester City held by disciplined Aston Villa

Chloe Kelly of Manchester City and Max Pacheco of Aston Villa battle for the ball
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Chloe Kelly of Manchester City is challenged by Maz Pacheco of Aston Villa during the FA Women's Super League match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at The Academy Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

With their first home game of 2023 coming amidst a raft of cup fixtures, Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City side were unable to secure a win over Aston Villa.

The two sides had previously met on the first game of the season during what would prove a seven-goal thriller. Ultimately, it was Villa who took the three points on that occasion, narrowly edging a 4-3 victory.

Since then, Villa have signed a plethora of new talent, adding strength and depth to their team, which showed during this latest meeting.

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Starting XIs

Manchester City

Roebuck; Morgan (Casparij ’45), Kennedy, Greenwood (c), Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Castellanos (Angeldahl ’62), Coombs, Kelly (Raso ’73), Hemp, Shaw

Aston Villa

Leat; Mayling, Patten, Turner (c) (Corsie ’45), Pacheco, Staniforth, Nobbs (Littlejohn ’90), Dali, Blindkilde (Lehmann ’45), Daly, Hanson

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Man City vs Villa — What Happened

The opening 15 minutes of the tie provided countless chances and end-to-end play. Both Ellie Roebuck and Anna Leat were required to make key saves as their teams searched for the opener.

However, as the game moved into the 20th minute, small errors began creeping into the City play as Villa grew more into the game. The opener came against the run of play as Deyna Castellanos scored her second goal for the Sky Blues in the 28th minute.

However, the visitors hit back with a quick reply, as just three minutes later Kirsty Hanson found the back of Roebuck’s net at the second attempt.

Half-time saw the teams go in level after a tough first 45 minutes.

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The second half brought more issues for the hosts. Loose passes combined with a lack of press saw Taylor’s side forced to defend for much of the opening 15 minutes.

The second half continued with the City forced to defend against Villa attacks for much of it, although they had some chances to take the point. Substitutions by the hosts injected some sorely needed pace into the second half.

Ultimately the game finished 1-1 with the points shared. However Villa’s dominance would doubtless have left the visitors going home feeling they deserved more.

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