Aston Villa Women are back in Women’s Super League action on Wednesday night as they face Brighton at the Banks’s stadium.
It’s lining up to be a huge game in the fight for survival as, despite being eight points ahead in the table, Brighton were beaten by Villa in the reverse fixture last year.
After a difficult start to life in the top-flight, Villa needed to find some form if they were to stay in the league next season.
They had to wait until November, but eventually their first win of the campaign came in a hard-fought 2-0 win over tomorrow night’s opponents.
Anita Asante opened the scoring on 59 minutes and despite a nervy second-half as Villa looked to hold on to their lead, Ramona Petzelberger found the back of the net deep into stoppage time to ensure all three points returned to the Midlands.
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for Marcus Bignot’s side after defeats to both Arsenal and Manchester United.
Villa returned after the international break ready to host Arsenal in a fourth attempt to fulfill that fixture, but after a positive first half that ended 0-0, the home side eventually succumbed to the Gunners’ pressure and fell to a 4-0 defeat.
On March 7th, the Villans traveled north to face Manchester United, but fell to a second consecutive loss, this time goals from Kirsty Hanson, Jess Sigsworth, and Katie Zelem inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Villa.
For Brighton, things have looked far brighter with some positive results in 2021 that has propelled them to seventh in the table and away from the fight to avoid relegation.
It looked bleak for Hope Powell’s side after a 7-1 defeat to Manchester City in January, closely followed by a 3-0 loss to Bristol City a week later.
But an upturn in form saw them overcome league leaders Chelsea 2-1 at Kingsmeadow and end the Blues’ 33-game unbeaten run.
Last time out, Brighton hosted Tottenham Hotspur and a brace from Inessa Kaagman in the second half secured the win for the Seagulls.
"We really have to take pride in our defending... but I really enjoyed the response the players gave in the second half.”— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) March 9, 2021
Lessons learnt ahead of next week.
A crucial period for Villa
As we enter the latter stages of the season, every game is crucial for Bignot’s side, who find themselves in a relegation battle.
With Bristol City’s fortunes changing under interim manager, Matt Beard, it’s incredibly tough to call at the bottom of the table.
West Ham are currently 12th, but are only five points off Tottenham in eighth, leaving five teams fighting for their safety.
Villa are currently just two points ahead of West Ham, making Wednesday night’s game against Brighton a must-win with a tough run against Chelsea and Everton coming up in the next few weeks.
The game will be broadcast live on the FA player with kick off scheduled for 7:30pm GMT.