Women's Super League: How Rachel Daly inspired Aston Villa to shock Man City win

Aston Villa's Rachel Daly

Rachel Daly arrived back in the Women’s Super League with a bang, scoring twice during Aston Villa’s thrilling 4-3 victory against Manchester City.

After a loan spell at West Ham in 2020, Daly will now be a permanent feature in the WSL after moving to Aston Villa from Houston Dash.

The 30-year-old, a left-back during England’s victorious run at Euro 2022, will play as a forward this season.

She proved exactly why as she inspired Aston Villa to their first ever victory against Manchester City in the WSL. The side had previously conceded 17 and failed to score in their previous four meetings.

According to FotMob, Daly was the player of the match with a rating of 9.34. GiveMeSport Women goes deeper into the numbers to explain just why she was so brilliant.

England star Rachel Daly
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 15: Rachel Daly of England in action during the UEFA Women’s Euro England 2022 group A match between Northern Ireland and England at St Mary’s Stadium on July 15, 2022 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Rachel’s Daly’s impressive performance against Aston Villa

At the spearhead of Aston Villa’s attack, Daly scored two goals and set up another for Alisha Lehmann.

Her first goal was the pick of the bunch, showing off her ability as a striker. The ball fell to her in the penalty box, and swivelling to face the goal, she curled it into the back of the net.

Daly’s second was more of a poacher’s goal, with the star pouncing on the ball after it was spilled by goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.

She was a constant source of attacking threat for Aston Villa, making five passes into the final third. Most importantly, her passes were accurate. Daly had a 85 percent pass accuracy during the match, and all three of her long balls met their target.

Given Villa only enjoyed 37 percent of possession, making 217 passes less than City, it was vital Daly took her chances when she got them.

She may only have got two of her five shots on target, but both of these resulted in goals. Nonetheless, Daly will be hoping to test the goalkeeper even more in future matches.

Support from Alisha Lehmann and Kenza Dali

There were many other brilliant performances from Aston Villa’s players, including Alisha Lehmann and Kenza Dali. The pair earned match ratings of 8.2 and 8.1 respectively.

Lehmann provided the assist for Daly’s first goal, and was a constant thorn in Manchester City’s side.

Dali, who was also making her debut for Villa after signing from Everton, created three chances for her teammates from midfield, and scored the equaliser which made it 3-3.

She also made five passes into the final third, and boasted a 79 percent passing accuracy. It was again this precision that allowed Villa to make the most of their limited possession.

Aston Villa look to be a real attacking threat this season, and if they can shore up their defence, manager Carla Ward could be onto something special.

Women’s Super League opening weekend

It was an emphatic start to the Women’s Super League, with 22 goals scored across the opening weekend and record attendances up and down the country.

Arsenal and Manchester United both triumphed 4-0 against Brighton and Reading respectively, while Ashleigh Neville scored a sumptuous long-range strike to help Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-1 win against Leicester City.

In the least dramatic match of the weekend, West Ham edged past Everton 1-0.

Beth Mead, Maya Le Tissier and Daly have been among the standout stars from the opening weekend of matches.

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Mary Earps

We’ll start off with England’s heroic goalkeeper in the final…

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