A depleted Manchester City side were still too strong for Aston Villa as the bleus ran out 7-0 winners at the Academy Stadium. A first half brace from Lauren Hemp was added to by goals from Jill Scott, Georgia, Ellen White and an own goal sent the blues in 6-0 up at the break. Chloe Kelly added a seventh in the second half as the bleus ramped up the pressure on the leaders in the pursuit of the WSL title.
Due to Covid-19, isolation, injury and international duty, City were missing Ellie Roebuck, Caroline Weir, Demi Stokes, Gemma Bonner and Keira Walsh, alongside Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis and new signing Abby Dahlkemper, but the team put on a ruthless display in front of goal to secure the three points before half-time.
City needed to win this match to keep up with the league leaders. With Chelsea hosting United and Arsenal travelling to Reading, City needed a result against the newly promoted side, which the blues beat 2-0 at Villa Park on the opening day of the season.
And City started where they left off at the end of 2020 by grabbing the first goal after just 2 minutes. Scott received the ball in midfield and found Kelly in acres of space behind the Villa defence, and her ball across goal was hammered home by Hemp.
Four minutes later, Steph Houghton gave away possession outside the City box and Villa could have levelled, only for Nadine Hanssen to drag her shot wide of the post, leaving the captain breathing a sigh of relief.
City doubled their lead on 16 minutes thanks to a headed goal from Scott. Lucy Bronze’s cross from the left found the midfielder unmarked in the area, and Scott glanced her header past the keeper and into the goal.
Villa already started to look deflated as City started to swarm all over them, and it was clear Scott’s goal wouldn’t be the last of the match. That proved to be true on 30 minutes when Bronze released Stanway, and with Villa appealing in vain for offside, the youngster raced forward and buried the third to make it three in two games against Villa.
Hemp has been a revelation since returning from the injury sustained in the Community Shield match against Chelsea at Wembley ad scored City’s fourth, 8 minutes from half time. Kelly whipped in a corner and hemp glanced the ball home to put City 4-0 up and out of sight.
That would normally be enough until half-time, but City had the bit between their teeth and continued to press. Two minutes later, Villa keeper Weis was picking the ball out of the goal again after another Hemp inspired goal. The midfielder accelerated past the defender, but was denied a hat-trick by Natalie Haigh, who inadvertently put the ball in the net for her.
Villa were preparing for a half-time tongue-lashing from manager Gemma Davies and it must have been on their minds when they switched off again on the stroke of the interval. Weis mis-controlled a back-pass and Hemp was in again, but finding the angle too difficult to complete her treble, Hemp unselfishly laid the ball the White, who tapped home for 6-0, before the referee took sympathy and ended the first half, maybe even contemplating introducing a mercy rule!
City took their foot collective foot off the gas in the second half, although Kelly did hit the post for the second time in the game.
When these two met on the opening day, it was unforced errors at the back that allowed City to score twice, and Villa clearly hadn’t learnt their lesson. A poor back-pass allowed Kelly to go through on goal, nutmeg the keeper and tap home the easiest goal she will ever score.
Until then, Villa had kept City at bay, but ultimately they had no reply for the blues firepower.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 7-0 Aston Villa Women