Aston Villa Women are snapping at the heels of Arsenal, Chelsea & the Manchester clubs
Aston Villa Women are snapping at the heels of Arsenal, Chelsea & the Manchester clubs by Michelle
A few weeks ago, Liverpool women’s coach Matt Beard admitted that there are two distinct groups of teams in the WSL: the top 4 teams (the two Manchester sides, Chelsea, and Arsenal) who are top teams with too much quality, and the rest. “We know there is a gap between the top four right now to the rest of the teams. From our perspective, we’ve said this all along, we want to be as competitive as we can in this division,” said Beard via Liverpoolfc.com.
With this claim, one can argue all a team like Arsenal has to worry about is Chelsea and the two Manchester sides, and actually, that is so. The WSL top four is tight: Man United are first with 38 points; they have the same points as Man City, but City are second due to goal difference; Chelsea are third with 37 points; and Arsenal are 4th with 35 points, but Chelsea and Arsenal have played a game less. There is no separating the WSL top 4, and next season, one can argue it will just be the same, but will it be?
Well, I have an argument that Aston Villa could be bad news for Arsenal and the other WSL heavyweights. The Villains have it in them to break into the WSL’s top four. Why is that, you ask? Consider that Aston Villa lost five of their first nine games of the season and were once battling relegation, but are now nine points from the top of the league. Ever since Arsenal beat them 4-1 back on December 11th, they have been a hard nut to crack; they have been unbeaten in the WSL ever since. And, although Arsenal knocked them out at the Conti Cup quarter-finals stage – when our Gunners beat the Villains 3-0. on 26th January this year, Aston Villa are still very much in the running for the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, having qualified for the semi-finals after beating Manchester City 2-1. The villains face Chelsea on 2nd April in the WSL and again, after the international break, on 16th April 2023 – if they can beat Chelsea, and I believe they can with a fair wind behind them, then they could reach the final and even win the FA Cup!
This unbeaten run has arisen from them finally clicking and their summer signings. Kenza Dali, Rachel Daly (who scores left, right, and centre; she has 13 goals in 16 games, which sees her second on the top scorer’s log), Kirts Hanson (on loan from Manchester United), and quality January signings Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth eventually being worthy of the money Villa paid to get them on board.
Villa are growing stronger game after game, and with their on-point recruitment, they could be a force next season. Arsenal may not only need to worry about Chelsea and the Manchester sides but may also have to be careful about Villa.
Arsenal face Villa in the last WSL game of the season, on 27th May, which could be a telling game to finish the season off.. the villains are definitely a team to watch!
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