Aston Villa players celebrate their FAWSL survival after earning a point in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Meadow Park, Boreham Wood, England - Stephen Flynn/Sports Press Photo

Aston Villa secure FAWSL safety following goalless draw with Arsenal

Aston Villa have secured their Barclays FA Women’s Super League safety with a goalless draw at Arsenal this afternoon.

Arsenal had already mathematically secured third place in the table, ensuring that they will compete in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League. Meanwhile, Aston Villa went into the game with the prospect of facing relegation should they lose against the North Londoners and if Bristol City were able to record a victory away at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Ahead of his final Barclays FA Women’s Super League match in charge, Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro made four changes from the side that beat Everton 2-1 last weekend with Lydia Williams, Leonie Maier, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Jill Roord all returning to the starting XI in place of Manuela Zinsberger, Noelle Maritz, Danielle van de Donk and Caitlin Foord.

Marcus Bignot knew that his side had to try to get something from the game whilst hoping Brighton & Hove Albion would avoid defeat to bottom side Bristol City. The Aston Villa interim boss made two changes from last weekend’s goalless draw with West Ham United as Amy West and Marisa Ewers returned to the starting XI to bolster the team’s attacking options.

In a very quiet opening quarter, the hosts had to wait 18 minutes for their first chance on goal when top goalscorer Vivianne Miedema failed to convert her chance. The ball fell to the Dutch international six yards out after some good possession play from Arsenal, but Villa goalkeeper Lisa Weiss stood strong to deny the attacker.

Both sides offered very little within the first period. Arsenal were on top but they struggled to find the back of the net. Miedema had another brilliant chance to give her side the lead but she headed inches wide of Weiss’ left-hand post following a brilliant cross in from Maier on the right.

Arsenal again dominated possession throughout the second half and had three more good opportunities to take the lead in that period. Miedema had two chances within minutes of each other but she was denied by a combination of a smart block by Nat Haigh and an impressive save from Weiss before Leah Williamson fired over from the edge of the area on the volley.

Villa struggled to test Williams in the Arsenal goal, their best chance fell to Stine Larsen five minutes from time but The Gunners substitute Steph Catley made a last-ditch block to send the Dane’s left-footed shot out for a corner.

In the end, Bignot’s side did enough to secure their safety, although they would have still survived with a defeat as Bristol City lost their final fixture 3-1. The season is now over for Villa while opponents Arsenal will take part in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup fifth round next weekend when they face FA Women’s Championship side Crystal Palace at Meadow Park.

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