Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Birmingham City07 May, 2022
The FA Women’s Super League season ends with pride at stake towards the bottom of the table as Aston Villa take on Birmingham City in the Second City Derby at Villa Park.
Carla Ward’s Villa side come into this fixture off the back of a season to forget, with their recent form seeing only one win in their last five games, a shock 1-0 victory away at Tottenham Hotspur at the start of April.
Villa also find themselves unable to progress further up the table, with their nearest rivals in Reading four points clear heading into the final weekend of games, though they’ll be hopeful they can maintain ninth place ahead of underperformers Everton, who face a tough trip to the south coast to take on Brighton and Hove Albion.
Despite these negatives, the home side do hold the bragging rights in the women’s Second City Derby, defeating their neighbours 1-0 at St Andrews in November thanks to an Anita Asante effort.
Alongside the passion and excitement of a local derby, it will also be an emotional day for Villa as they say goodbye to veteran defender Asante, who is retiring after the game.
Asante (37) joined Villa in 2020, and has become a regular part of Ward’s line-ups.
Bringing with her a wealth of club and international experience such as over 70 Lionesses caps and playing under Emma Hayes at Chelsea, Asante will be looking to end her career on a high and could be fancied to replicate the scenes from the reverse fixture.
Whilst Villa will want to swiftly move on from this season, this message will be echoed around their relegated cross-city rivals Birmingham City.
The WSL founding member club have endured a tumultuous season both on and off the pitch, with the team failing to make an impression at the bottom whilst also coping with a managerial change as Scott Booth was replaced by Darren Carter.
Despite this however, the Blues have fought valiantly for every point they can in the closing games and have put in some promising performances, including a home draw with Everton, a surprising 3-1 win away at Brighton and also running title-contenders Chelsea close, only losing 1-0 to a Pernille Harder penalty.
These performances have been spurred on by the leadership of veteran captain Louise Quinn.
Former Arsenal defender and WSL winner Quinn (31) has been a consistent starter from beginning to end under both Booth and Carter since joining from Fiorentina last summer, and has brought with her experience and determination in a team that has needed it this season.
Despite neither side having anything to play for but pride, both of them will look to end their forgettable seasons on a high and take home the bragging rights in the city of Birmingham.