Everton Women will look for a return to winning ways against Aston Villa this weekend, with Blues boss Brian Sorensen expecting an exciting game at Bescot Stadium.
The fixture will be the first of two meetings between the sides, as the Toffees and the Villans will clash again in the FA Women’s League Cup on Wednesday.
Both sides will come into the fixture on the back of home defeats, with the Blues looking to banish the memories of a 3-1 reverse at home to Chelsea last Sunday with a victory in Birmingham, but Sorensen is well aware of the tough task ahead.
“We played them in pre-season, and they started really well. They have recruited well, including some players from us. They are a good team and the points they have already gained have been well deserved.
“It will be a tough challenge for us; they want to play football but so do we. I think it will be an exciting game to watch and we will have to look at how we will utilise our strengths.
“I think it may well come down to who will be sharper at either end of the field.”
Everton will be virtually at full strength this weekend, and the boss may well look to freshen things up as he chases his team’s third win of the season.
Agnes Beever-Jones, who was ineligible to play against her parent club last weekend, may well earn an instant recall, while Giovana Queiroz Costa, Izzy Christiansen, and the returning Clare Wheeler will all be champing at the bit for a place in the first XI.
Edging a seven-goal thriller against Manchester City on the opening day of the season, followed by a 2-0 win over Leicester, Villa suffered their first defeat of the season against West Ham last weekend. Sitting one place ahead of Everton having played a game less, Carla Ward’s team will be keen to prove that defeat to the Hammers was just a blip when they host the Blues.
Rachel Daly has been in fine scoring form so far with three goals already, while former Toffee Kenza Dali has two. The performances of the French international, along with another ex-Evertonian, Alisha Lehman, have made the Midlands outfit one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the WSL.
Aurora Galli’s first senior goal gave Everton a first win in four and revenge on Villa, who’d bested the Toffees the previous month. The Villans looked to be in control for most of the contest, but it was Everton who took home all three points.
The hosts attacking prowess will be a concern for Sorensen on Saturday, and the boss will need his defenders to be just as sharp as his forwards in this encounter if the three points are to again return to Merseyside.