“There weren’t too many spells in the game where we didn’t have control of it. It’s another step in the right direction.” Carla Ward was speaking after her Aston Villa side drew 1-1 away to Manchester City last weekend. Her pride related not only to the result, but the performance. Villa enjoyed plenty of possession and largely nullified their hosts. They tried to play out from the back, and often succeeded. It was a composed display, one that signaled the club’s ongoing evolution.
The Women’s Super League comprises 12 teams, split roughly into three sections. At the top, Arsenal, Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs — City and United — challenge for the title and Champions League qualification. At the other end, there are those trying to stay clear of relegation, a group including Brighton and Hove Albion, Leicester City, Reading and Liverpool. Then there are those looking up: Everton, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur. Aston Villa, under Ward’s management, have established themselves in that middle band.
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