Aston Villa Women were comfortably beaten 4-0 by Chelsea on Wednesday night as the Blues returned to the top of the Women’s Super League table.
Chelsea have now gone two years without defeat in the top-flight, setting a new WSL record of 32 games unbeaten.
Two goals in each half led to a difficult evening for the Villans who were unable to cope with the visitor’s attacking threat.
It was deja-vu for Villa as Chelsea took the lead inside three minutes, much like Reading on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors got off to a quick start and a poor headed clearance from the Villa backline saw Sam Kerr pick the ball up just inside the box and volley it into the top corner.
With it being Marcus Bignot’s first game in charge, the boss remained vocal on the touchline alongside Gemma Davies, constantly talking to his players and giving instructions.
The aim was to keep things tight and Bignot’s side did that to great success until the 35 minute mark when Chelsea bagged their second of the night.
Kerr went from goal scorer to provider as her looped cross found Beth England, who towered above the Villa defence to head it beyond Lisa Weiss.
The visitors continued to dominate possession as the second half got underway, but Villa remained resolute and made it difficult for Chelsea to break them down.
It took until the 68th minute, but the Blues found their third through Pernille Harder who drilled the ball into the bottom corner from just outside the box.
Villa were unable to regain their composure and just moments later Chelsea captain, Magdalena Eriksson, added a fourth at the back post as she was quickest to the ball from a corner.
The hosts then had a rare chance to get forward as Mana Iwabuchi did well to work the ball into the box and attempt to send it beyond Carly Telford at the near post, but the Chelsea keeper was alive to it and was able to deny the forward a consolation goal.
It wasn’t quite the start Bignot would’ve wanted to his time at Villa, but Chelsea were always going to be a difficult test with the form they’re in.
This was the third game in a row, though, that the Villans have gone behind within three minutes, with Manchester City and Reading also striking early to make Villa’s task even more difficult.
“It’s something we have to look at and address, it was a disappointing goal to concede,” Bignot said, speaking on his team’s slow start.
“We have to manage that momentum, I think it just came from nowhere, we weren’t under pressure and there wasn’t a threat from the cross, but the ball was headed back into a dangerous area which it shouldn’t have been.
“But I have no doubt the players will learn from it.”
Villa did well to contain Chelsea, despite the score line and it was largely defensive errors that proved to be costly on the night.
“We’re disappointed by the goals,” the boss continued. “The goals we actually conceded, I wouldn’t say are typical Chelsea goals.
“At any level you’d be disappointed with the straightforwardness of them, three of the four goals were from second phases so it’s something we need to work on, and I know that these girls will turn that around.”
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Marcus Bignot as Interim Manager with immediate effect.— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) January 25, 2021
The current Aston Villa Women’s coaching team, led by Gemma Davies, remain in their existing positions.
Bignot is only just beginning his time at Villa but he will have his sights firmly set on turning things around and ensuring his side’s safety in the top-flight.
“The results we’re going to need going forward aren’t necessarily going to come from teams like Chelsea but a performance like today will certainly put us in the right direction when we do come to games that we need to get points.
“We’ve got three more games before the international break and I’m confident we can put some points on the board out of those.”
Villa remain eleventh in the table, five points clear of Bristol City but attention will now turn to Sunday’s fixture as they welcome Arsenal to the Banks’s stadium.