Manchester United Women did not disappoint in their opener against the Aston Villa Ladies, netting 12 goals in total over 90 minutes to secure their first win in the Women’s Championship. If this performance is any indication, The United Women will surely be competing for a year-one promotion to the Women’s Super League. The aggressive play was a pure pleasure to watch as they consistently dominated the wide areas of the pitch and created chance after chance, leaving Aston Villa retreating in their own half for most of the match. There was a stretch of the match where United registered goals with such ferocity that Aston Villa could barely count to sixty before United were back in their end, readying another tally.
As for the goals (deep inhale), Lauren James opened the scoring in the 10th minute via deflection and doubled from outside the box in the 23rd. Jess Sigsworth tallied the first of her five goals in the 25th, followed by Katie Zelem from the spot in the 28th. Sigsworth would spend the next half hour netting three more goals, but then she had to wait a moment while Kirsty Hanson joined the fray for a brace in the 54th and 59th minutes, respectively. Sigsworth then completed her remarkable goal-scoring day with an assist from Hanson to take United into double digits. Two subs, Mollie Green and Ella Toone, contributed leaving the final score at 12-0. Exhale.
I’m really not sure where to begin from a critical perspective. There were a few moments where United were a little careless at the back early in the match, but it was such a dominant performance that it’s difficult and probably quite disingenuous to call this anything but a triumph for Casey Stoney’s ladies. Rumor has it that keeper Siobhan Chamberlain could be seen asleep in a reclining chair for most of the match, occasionally leaning over to move the ball to a defender when troubled. In all seriousness, I can’t remember a real effort on goal from Aston Villa’s perspective.
My largest takeaway from this match and the few that were televised in preseason, was that when they want to be, this team can be relentless. The style reminded me why this is called the beautiful game. Quick efficient passing, superb physicality in the midfield, and fierce finishing. It’s still incredibly early in the season to make any grand statement about this campaign, but it’s increasingly difficult to keep expectations in check after a performance like that. One thing is for sure, these Red Devils are here to stay.