Aston Villa Women’s dreadful start to the 2023-24 season continued on Saturday as Carla Ward’s side slumped to a 6-0 defeat to perennial champions Chelsea at the Poundland Bescott Stadium.
The hosts started brightly as they attempted to compress the play with a high press but the visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when the Blues’ captain Millie Bright half-volleyed a corner into the net after Villa failed to clear their lines.
Barely 90 seconds later, Villa should have equalized when Rachel Daly was played through on goal by Anna Patten but the England international shot wide in a rare misfire.
Chelsea doubled their lead in the 27th minute as a lovely flowing move was finished off at the second attempt by Fran Kirby after her initial effort was blocked on the line.
Jessie Fleming and Kirby had further chances before the break but Villa were opened up for a third time 10 minutes into the second half when Rtytting Kaneryd was put through and finished coolly past Daphne Van Domselaar in the home goal to kill the game.
Emma Hayes’ side were cutting through their opponents at will at this point and Ashley Lawrence came off the bench and had oceans of space to add further gloss to the scoreline.
Aggie Beever-Jones added a fifth four minutes later before set up Niamh Charles to round off the rout with 17 minutes left.
Ward’s side have now lost all five of their games this season and this latest result leaves them propping up the rest of the division at the foot of the WSL. It’s a shocking fall from grace after a positive end to last campaign.
Villa are missing Kenzia Dali’s partnership with Daly in attack and they will need to rediscover the form that saw them finish fifth in 2022-23 if they want to avoid an unexpected relegation battle.
Ward’s side have a WSL cup tie against Sheffield United on Wednesday before they hope to get back on track in the league against the team directly above them, promoted Bristol City, next Sunday.