Team news and stats ahead of West Ham Women vs Aston Villa Women on Saturday; kick-off 11.30am.
West Ham have two long-term absentees. Katerina Svitkova is recovering from a long-term ankle injury, while Maisy Barker sustained a foot injury during the early stages of pre-season.
Hawa Cissoko is suspended after being sent off in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton.
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward started seven of her 10 summer signings against Leicester, and there could be a similar XI this weekend. However, Gemma Davison and Emily Gielnik could be added to the matchday squad.
There are a few familiar faces for West Ham too, with Alisha Lehmann and Maz Pacheco joining Aston Villa from the Hammers in the summer.
How to follow
West Ham Women vs Aston Villa Women is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11am; kick-off 11.30am. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Harder: The globetrotting coach bringing his mentality to West Ham
To use a cliche, it has been one incredible football journey for West Ham Women manager Olli Harder. He has worked in his native New Zealand, the USA, China and Norway before returning to the UK – where he has also coached previously – to take over the managerial reigns in East London.
“I’m a Kiwi so I just got with the flow,” Harder explained in an exclusive chat ahead of Saturday’s game against Aston Villa Women, live on Sky Sports.
“They’re just things that happened, I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to finish one chapter and open another chapter. Some of these things are a little bit planned out but also things can happen quite quickly, you know how football is, it’s certainly not a sport you want to plan in too much because things change very quickly.
“I think because I’ve got such an open mindset about these things, it’s just allowed me to say ‘OK this chapter is closed or I’ve decided to close this chapter’ and then I’d like to go somewhere else and not really having any fear to do that.
“There’s no consideration like ‘oh well I don’t speak this language or what’s the culture like’, but just ‘this sounds cool so let’s go and do it’. My worst-case scenario is to go back to New Zealand, but that’s not terrible, it could be lot worse.”
Read more HERE from Harder’s exclusive chat with Sky Sports…
Ward aiming for Villa improvements after Birmingham move
When Carla Ward left Birmingham City at the end of last season to take up the position of Aston Villa manager, she always knew that the reaction would not be a wholly positive one.
“I still get some stick, but that’s fine,” Ward exclusively told Lynsey Hooper in an interview for Sky Sports. “I’m quite thick-skinned. I think when I lose my first game this season, I’m sure they’ll all come out and I’ll enjoy reading them and then I’ll put it to bed.”
It is no surprise that Birmingham fans were disappointed to see Ward go. Aside from the inter-city rivalry, Ward was widely praised for keeping Birmingham in the Women’s Super League despite tricky circumstances. At Aston Villa, she already has three points on the board, coming from a goal down to beat newly-promoted Leicester City 2-1 on the opening weekend.
“I didn’t dress it up after the game – we weren’t good enough,” says Ward. “We’ve played better football in pre-season and we weren’t particularly happy with the performance.
“We know we needed to be better. We just had to look after the ball better. We didn’t utilise the space we had. It’s something we addressed at half-time – it was better in the second half. But we certainly need some improvement going into West Ham.”
Read more HERE from Ward’s exclusive chat with Sky Sports’ Hooper…
Last time out…
- Both WSL meetings between West Ham and Aston Villa finished 0-0 last season, the only top-flight fixture in 2020-21 that didn’t see a single goal scored (from 47 shots across the two games).
- Aston Villa failed to win any of their four top-flight matches in London last season (D2 L2), only managing to score in one of those matches (1 goal total), though they did earn two 0-0 draws in their final two such trips at Arsenal and West Ham.
- Last season, West Ham were one of two WSL sides who failed to win a single home league game (D4 L7), alongside Birmingham City. Indeed, only Doncaster in 2016-17, Yeovil in 2018-19 and Bristol City in 2020-21 (8 each) lost more matches on home soil in a single top-flight campaign than the Hammers last season.
- Only Spurs (7) and Birmingham (9) scored fewer away goals in the WSL last season than Aston Villa (10), though they did post the lowest Expected Goals (xG) tally on the road of all 12 teams (5.9), whilst they also had fewer shots on target in away games than any other team (20).
- West Ham have failed to score in any of their last six Women’s Super League matches, the competition’s longest such run since October 2020, when Birmingham City also went six games without a goal.
- Aston Villa defeated newly-promoted Leicester City on MD1 to end their 10-game winless run (D5 L5). Having drawn their last five league games of 2020-21, they are now unbeaten in six games in the competition (W1 D5).
- Each of West Ham’s last three wins in the Women’s Super League have come away from home – the Hammers have a home record of four draws and seven defeats from their last 11 games.
- After winning two of their first three away games in the competition (L1), Aston Villa are currently winless in eight Women’s Super League games on the road (D3 L5), scoring three times while conceding 19 times across this run.
- West Ham’s Hawa Cissoko was the only player sent off on MD1 in the Women’s Super League. Her red card was the third shown to West Ham players in the competition since the start of last season, with no other side being shown more than one red card in this time.
- There was only 1 minute and 41 seconds between goals from Sarah Mayling and Remi Allen for Aston Villa on MD1 – the goals saw them overturn a one-goal deficit to beat Leicester City 2-1.