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Aston Villa's Shock Start to the WSL Season

Aston Villa finished fifth in the Women's Super League table last season, yet they currently sit 11th, with goal difference the only thing separating them from last-place Bristol City.

The Villans have had a horror start to their 23/24 league campaign having failed to earn a single point from their first five league matches.

Villa kicked off their 23/24 season at home to Manchester United. Rachel Daly opened up the score sheet in the 76th minute after her teammate Hanson received a red card. Manchester United however fought back against ten-player Aston Villa to score two goals and snatch the three points.

The Villans' first away match saw them travel to Liverpool. The match was fairly even, with both sides sharing even possession and shots on target. However, Liverpool were the side to reach the back of the net on two occasions, with Villa failing to take their chances.

Their third match, away to Arsenal, began more promisingly with Aston Villa 1-0 up at half-time. Arsenal however were the more dominant side, having a total of 28 shots compared to Villa's 5. The gunners were finally able to level the game in the 92nd minute, with the winner following two minutes later. A third defeat in a row for Aston Villa.

Villa's second home game of the season, this time versing Tottenham, was another fairly equal game. Each team had half of the possession and a similar number of total shots. Daly scored a penalty in the 5th minute to put Aston Villa ahead, but Spurs responded with two goals before half time. Villa failed to capitalise on their chances once again in the second half, with Tottenham scoring two more. Parker brought one back for Villa in the 96th minute but it came too late, another defeat.

Aston Villa's fifth league game was definitely one they would wish to forget. Reigning WSL champions Chelsea had 27 shots and 14 shots on target against Villa, with The Villans having 7 shots and just 2 on target. The scoreline concluded as a 6-0 victory for Chelsea, making it five defeats in a row for Aston Villa.

With the WSL season only consisting of twenty-two games, losing the first five is alarming. Aston Villa must immediately fight back to improve their form and avoid the relegation zone.

An easier opponent faced Villa after their 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea, as they travelled to Championship side Sheffield United in the Continental Cup's group stage.

They finally obtained their first win of the season as they beat Sheffield United 5-0 away. Although this victory was in the Continental Cup rather than the WSL, it massively boosted Villa's confidence going into their next league game.

Aston Villa finally earned their first points of the season in their sixth game, with a win against newly-promoted Bristol City.

A dominant performance gave them the well-deserved three points to finally get them off the mark in this season's WSL campaign.

What are the reasons for Aston Villa's struggles?

Aston Villa have been missing two of their key players, Kenza Dali and Kirsty Hanson, during the start of their 23/24 season.

Dali received a knock whilst playing for France at the 2023 Women's World Cup over the summer, meaning she missed the first few weeks of Villa's campaign.

Hanson played in Villa's first WSL match of the season, where they lost 2-1 to Manchester United, but she was sent off in the 74th minute for a dangerous challenge on Hayley Ladd, resulting in a three-match ban.

Both Dali and Hanson's stats from last season prove how vital they are to Villa's attack. Kenza Dali ranked 3rd in the WSL for chances created and Kirsty Hanson ranked 2nd in the WSL for assists.

The absence of two of Villa's key attacking players has had a significant impact on their performances.

With both Dali and Hanson now back in Aston Villa's squad, they should show improvement over the coming matches with the hope of steering clear of the relegation zone and returning to the middle of the WSL table.

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