Women’s Super League previews 2021-22 No 2: Aston Villa | Women’s Super League

The plan

The recruitment of supervisor Carla Ward from their metropolis rivals Birmingham was an astute transfer by Aston Villa. Ward labored miracles with the Blues after becoming a member of the membership two weeks earlier than final season started and with simply eight senior gamers. She saved them up, regardless of two factors deductions, whereas the membership got here beneath hearth for not adequately backing the facet. They completed only one level behind their better-off native rivals.

In what was maybe a coded swipe at her former employers Ward praised the “unbelievable set-up” at Villa on becoming a member of, and promised the followers thrilling soccer. “Ultimately, we want to get on the front foot and be creative and expansive. We want to excite the fans.”

Despite higher backing from the boardroom Villa had their justifiable share of bother final season. The workforce’s head coach Gemma Davies, who had presided over the membership’s promotion to the WSL, was unceremoniously demoted in January with Marcus Bignot appointed interim supervisor. Both managers and the sporting director Eni Aluko left the membership on the finish of the season — with Aluko taking over the identical place with the brand new Los Angeles facet Angel City.

Maz Pacheco
The former West Ham defender Maz Pacheco is one in every of a number of gamers to be added to Aston Villa’s WSL squad over the summer time. Photograph: Cameron Smith/Getty Images

The workforce additionally misplaced the splendidly technical Japan midfielder Mana Iwabuchi to Arsenal having secured her companies quickly in January. Ward has introduced the midfielder Sarah Mayling and the highly-rated England goalkeeper Hannah Hampton along with her, and has added extra WSL expertise to her workforce. The West Ham duo Maz Pacheco and ahead Alisha Lehmann (who spent final season on mortgage at Everton), Everton’s Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Bristol City’s Meaghan Sargeant and the Championship winner and former WSL stalwart Remi Allen have all joined.

The seasoned winger Gemma Davison, who left Tottenham on the finish of final season, has additionally been on trial in pre-season and Ward mentioned she is eager to maintain the tough participant. “She’s a fantastic player to have around,” Ward mentioned. “Naturally, she needs to get herself fit, but she’s been exceptional. I can’t confirm or deny [if we’ll sign her] because I don’t know right now but, would we like to keep her around? Absolutely.”

Ward is pushing her workforce exhausting earlier than Villa’s season opener with WSL newcomers Leicester City. Friendlies with Manchester United, Everton and title-holders Chelsea all led to defeat however they’ve helped give the supervisor an understanding of her facet’s capabilities towards a number of the league’s finest groups.

With Bristol City relegated, Birmingham seemingly beginning to get their act collectively beneath the previous Glasgow City supervisor Scott Booth, and newcomers Leicester City going all-out forward of their debut WSL season, there are not any apparent backside feeders for Villa to sit down above. Going into the brand new season it’s tougher than ever to see whether or not groups will problem on the prime, be among the many better of the remaining, or if they are going to battle it out on the backside.

Villa, although, are prone to be in final class. In Ward, they’ve a supervisor that vaulted over each hurdle thrown her means in gruelling circumstances final season. With the total backing of a forward-thinking board and with out continually having her again towards the wall, Ward has an opportunity of doing one thing particular.

Carla Ward has crossed the second city to take the reins at Aston Villa.
Carla Ward has crossed the second metropolis to take the reins at Aston Villa. Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images

The supervisor

Carla Ward was appointed Villa’s supervisor in May and he or she is precisely what the workforce wants. She is loyal and stands by her gamers, exhibited as she fought for her Birmingham gamers throughout town final season. She also can flip groups round, which Villa want badly – they solely received three matches final season.

Key gamers

Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah Ward has promised that the previous Everton participant will current a brand new risk in entrance of aim. The versatile, fast-paced ahead got here via the Everton youth ranks however she is able to problem herself at a brand new membership.

Ramona Petzelberger The German midfielder is the right participant for Villa when they should adapt to a sport: she is nice on the entrance foot and proved she will end strikes too with three WSL targets final season. Her type tailed off in direction of the tip of the marketing campaign however her potential makes her key.

Anita Asante A frontrunner on and off the pitch, the defender is precisely who you need on the sphere for essential matches. She is a strong and dependable centre-back who can also be able to getting on the rating sheet.