WSL: Aston Villa prepare to host Man City in their season opener

Carla Ward of Aston Vill and Gareth Taylor of Manchester City look on

Fresh from the excitement of Euro 2022, Manchester City will begin their season away to Aston Villa at the famous Villa Park stadium. 

How have Manchester City fared?

City have had a strong preseason, having won matches against Durham and Brighton as-well as a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United. 

Gareth Taylor’s side travelled to Real Madrid’s training base ahead of their Champions League Round One fixture against Tomiris-Turan. City comfortably won the game and progressed through to Round Two. 

It was in Round Two, where former City player Caroline Weir scored the match winner knocking her old side out of the competition. 

The home side will be looking to better their start to the 22/23 campaign and hopefully set down an early marker for the rest of the teams. 

Embed from Getty Images

How have Aston Villa fared?

Aston Villa played six friendlies throughout preseason. In total they won two, lost three and drew with fellow WSL side Everton. 

Carla Ward will also be looking to better her ninth table finish last season after securing only 21 points from 22 games. 

Previous meetings

Stretching back to 2018, Manchester City have won all previous six matches against the Villains throughout the different competitions, scoring at least an average of three goals per game.

The Sky Blues most recent victory against Villa came last season, when a Georgia Stanway brace and a Vicky Losada goal on cold January afternoon sealed the three points.

Embed from Getty Images

Team news

Aston Villa will be without defender Meaghan Sargeant and Chantelle Boye-Hllorkah who are ruled out through injury. 

Ward confirmed Sarah Mayling hasn’t featured in training this past week, but her availability will be assessed ahead of Sunday. 

For the visitors, Taylor confirmed that Ruby Mace, who suffered a set-back in her rehabilitation, and new signing Yui Hasegawa are the only absentees ahead of their WSL opener. 

Alanna Kennedy could potentially feature at the weekend despite sustaining an injury whilst away on international duty. 

Lineup predictions

Aston Villa

Hampton; Pacheco, Corsie, Turner, Patten, Dali, Lehmann, Boye-Hlorkah, Harding, Gregory and Daly. 

Man City

Roebuck; Casparji, Houghton, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Alexiandri, Losada, Fowler, Hemp, Shaw & Kelly. 

Transfer window

Man City

The visitors lost quite a few of their key players at the end of last season. Including their all-time top goal-scorer Stanway. Lucy Bronze and Weir headed to Spain to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. A long serving member of the squad in Jill Scott also departed in the summer.

Towards the end of the transfer window, it was announced the life-long City fan Keira Walsh would leave the club and join Barcelona for a record transfer fee. 

Embed from Getty Images

Nevertheless, Taylor has recruited well bringing in six new faces including Spanish duo Leila Ouahabi and Laia Alexiandri. Others include the likes of Venezuelan striker Deyna Castellenos and Dutch defender Kerstin Casparji.

Young Australian winger Mary Fowler has also joined the Cityzens. Goalkeeper Sandy Maciver also re-joined the club after leaving Everton. 

Aston Villa

Ward also had her fair share of transfer activity this summer. Jodie Hutton, Shania Hayles, Natalie Haigh and Chloe Arthur all departed the club. Whilst Anita Asante and Marissa Ewers announced their retirement after incredible careers. 

However the club recruited well, including bringing in a trio of Simone Magill, Danielle Turner and Kenza Dali who all represented Everton last season. They also secured the loan signings of defender Anna Patten and winger Kirsty Hanson. 

Some other editions to the squad include goalkeeper Anna Leat and experienced Welsh international Natasha Harding. 

But probably one of the unexpected signings of the summer was of Euro 2022 champion Rachel Daly who will wear the No.8 shirt this season. 

Embed from Getty Images

Players to watch

New signing Daly will be looking to impress on her competitive debut for the club. Although commonly played as a left-back for her country, Daly will be playing as a centre-forward under Ward, which will provide a very strong attacking option for her side throughout the season. 

Chloe Kelly is one to watch for Manchester City, after been sidelined for the majority of last season through injury. She has since come back and provided a very fresh attacking option for Taylor. The winger also has four goals and two assists in her last two appearances against Aston Villa. 

Where to watch

The match will kick off at 12:30pm and will be streamed live on BBC One, and BBC Sport Website. 

MORE from Her Football Hub: