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Daly Dosage

Leicester City 0-1 Aston Villa (Women’s Super League)

There’s a frost gripping the nation and games up and down the country are falling foul to the weather, tomorrow, let alone tonight.

But there’s clarity that Leicester v Aston Villa in the WSL will go ahead, and with very good reason too. Leicester are loaning Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium for the game, in return, Leicester will give Burton a huge plastic sheet that will cover the pitch, and also heat the grass underneath nice and warm, allowing Burton to stage their league match on Saturday against Charlton.

Genius, killing two birds with one stone, well done Leicester and well done to Burton for both clubs rubbing their heads together and getting games on. After all, that's what we want... Isn't it?

So after the winter break and last week’s return to action in the women’s FA Cup we are back in the WSL and the first match of round eleven of the second half of the league season, a few new faces in the Foxes team with Japanese duo Takarada and Momiki making debuts last weekend in the comfortable win against Derby which I was at and enjoyed, for Villa, they were thumped at home to Everton in the cup and will be looking to bounce back, in the league they won their last two matches and are a point and a place below Leicester in the table after what has been following last seasons exploits, a really poor first half of their campaign.

The Venue

I’m out the door and down the A50 for an ETA of 6pm, Burton is only down the road and can be reached in just over half an hour from my house, off at the A38 and following Sat Nav down the Derby Road I pass a McDonalds and the Beech Public House before seeing the lights of the Pirelli in the background. There’s a queue for the car park so I’m double backing as I pull up opposite an Esso Garage, parking the car on the grass verge next to a sign for Greggs the bakers, before walking to the stadium where I purchase a ticket for £8.

Once inside there’s another queue for food a  good twenty deep so I avoid that delight and head straight for my seat, I’m walking across the Carling Stand hopping over the cushioned Director seats and the media section behind the dugout to the second block, back row and out of trouble, where I park myself in a quiet spot.

It’s a cracking ground is the Pirelli, this the only seated stand whilst the other three are terraces roofed for standing, flags pinned up against the walls to give it a real ‘cult’ feel. It’s always been a warm welcoming place and is a good venue for feeling close to the action. You can hear almost every word on the pitch.

The Game

The first half is a competitive ding dong with both sides evenly matched, it takes Villa just seventeen minutes to break the deadlock when Rachel Daly takes two stabs at it to bury home from inside the box.

Leicester are game and offer scary moments but Villa are the better team, Adriana Leon is a menace down the right whilst goalscorer Daly never gives her Leicester opponents an inch, she chases everything down and puts in a proper centre forwards performance, I like her, you feel if Leicester had a Rachel Daly in their line up it might be them who were 1-0 up?

The Score

At half time the foxes make two substitutes and they improve and attack through Canadian winger Deanne Rose, she’s quick and skilful and should have had a goal or two, she blazes over when left unmarked at the back post before running one on one and forcing a save by van Domselaar as the rebound is cleared off the line, Leicester pushing, probing, but not having that ‘striking quality’ to level up proceedings. Rose is good but she has to do better with her finishing.

Those chances are the best Leicester can create and Villa in the end see out the game by defending resolutely and solid, but on the ball they are good too, they keep it well and can slow things down to their own pace which frustrates the crowd, it's a victory they deserve for being the better and wiser team having took the lead early on and held firm, but credit Leicester who had the better chances on the night, enough to perhaps win the match themselves.

The Stars

Rachel Daly put in that typical and expected forwards shift of hers and got a deserved match winning goal as her reward for hard work. Leon in the first half especially, caused a threat, but defensively, credit Anna Patten, Rachel Corsie and co, who stood firm to reduce only a couple of saves for their goalkeeper to make.

At the other end, Janina Leitzig made one good save one on one from Leon and she’s a shot stopper who always impresses me. Sam Tierney again putting a dependable shift in whilst debutant midfielder Saori Takarada who played well last weekend in the cup v Derby, shown intelligence in the middle of the park, a holding midfielder type who plays the ball simple and shows for the short pass. She gives Leicester better shape to a side that likes to push forward and attack in numbers, which can at times leave them short to the break themselves.

The Verdict

I rate Villa and their squad has enough depth to improve their position in the table, whether or not they have enough goals in them I don’t know? But they play good football, defend pretty well and in midfield they are strong and combative, they should be higher than they are in the division, maybe 2024 they can push back up the league after what has been a slow start to the season so far.

Leicester likewise are solid, competitive, well drilled, just lacking that cutting edge on the night, they’ll certainly be ok in the division, and perhaps this banana skin aside, they can start to improve on their own league position in time.

The Teams

Leicester City: Janina Leitzig, Sophie Howard (Josie Green 46), Julie Thibaud, Janice Cayman, Sam Tierney, Jutta Rantala (Deanne Rose 46), Saori Takarada, Courtney Nevin (Ava Baker 86), Yuka Momiki, Lena Petermann (Aileen Whelan 74), Shannon O'Brien (Missy Goodwin 64).

Aston Villa: Daphne van Domselaar, Sarah Mayling, Anna Patten, Rachel Corsie, Noelle Maritz (Mayumi Facehco 64), Kenza Dali (Jordan Nobbs 89), Lucy Staniforth, Laura Blinkilde, Adriana Leon, Rachel Daly, Alisha Lehmann (Kirsty Hanson 65).

7:00pm Kick Off. Friday 19th January 2024, Pirelli Stadium, Burton (att 500 est).

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2 Kommentare

Martin Taylor
Martin Taylor
22. Jan.

Do you think the quality of women's football improves as they play in bigger stadiums (e,g, would it be better at the King Power Stadium than Burton than, say, Borehamwood, and does the size of the ground play much difference ?

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Daniel Peacock
Daniel Peacock
25. Jan.
Antwort an

I think playing at/using better facilities can only help it improve. There's a massive difference in physique and technique in the WSL compared to levels 2 & 3. Like there used to be down the leagues in the men's game many years ago. That will decrease in time with better training and game improvement which is helped by using better facilities. I certainly think it's time clubs (like Arsenal & Everton for example) had their own first class women's stadiums!

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