Aston Villa’s start to the 2023/24 Women’s Super League season has been a rollercoaster, to say the least.

Despite their opening day loss to Manchester United at the beginning of October, there were ample positives to take. Yet, they followed that up with a poor performance against Liverpool and a disappointing defeat.

A week later, they showed up at the Emirates with a point to prove. They appeared to be on their way to their first win of the season after Mayumi Pacheco fired them in front in the first half - but two stoppage time goals from Katie McCabe and Alessia Russo meant the afternoon ended in heartbreak.

But still, there were positives within that performance that they could take into the game against Tottenham before the international break. However, their return to the Bescot Stadium ended in another dismal defeat, despite Carla Ward’s side taking the lead early on through Rachel Daly’s penalty kick.

READ MORE: Aston Villa announce fixture change to avoid Tottenham clash

READ MORE: Aston Villa can turn season around with the return of two key players

Then, returning to league action at the start of this month with a game against last season’s champions Chelsea was a mountain of a task - one that proved to be insurmountable as Emma Hayes’ side ran out comfortable 6-0 winners last Saturday. Matters were made worse on Sunday as Bristol City, also struggling at the bottom of the table, picked up their first win of the campaign against West Ham.

For Villa, the table now makes for grim reading. They were rightfully the talk of the WSL last term as they proved they had all the makings of a team capable of challenging the division’s established elite.

Now, they’re the talk of the league for probably the wrong reasons. So far, they’ve been unable to back up last season’s heroics with any tangible results and they’re staring at what could be a very long, difficult and uncomfortable campaign.

Which is why their next three league games - starting with a clash against Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Sunday - could be season defining. They could also be the difference between Villa pushing on after a haphazard start, or finding themselves in the midst of a very unwelcome relegation fight.

It goes without saying, Villa have had an extremely difficult start to the season. Three of their first five games have been against last season’s top four and that’s only been exacerbated by the untimely injury to Kenza Dali and the unfortunate red card and three game suspension given to Kirsty Hanson in their first game against United.

While Conti Cup games in this period, which started with a much-needed thumping of Sheffield United midweek, provide an opportunity to pick up results and rebuild some confidence, full focus will certainly remain on turning their league form around.

All your women's football action packed into Women's Football News

Women’s Football news is a brand new monthly mag all about the women’s game.

Whether it’s news from the WSL or the Championship leagues or an update on the grassroots game - you’ll find it all inside our brand new mag.

There’s 48 pages packed with news, interviews and expert opinion order your copy now.


Each month our new publication will take you through the leagues, take you behind the scenes and shine a light on ALL levels of the game.

Priced £3, this month's edition will give a flavour of what's to come from our monthly Women's Football News.

You can buy Women's Football News from participating retailers or can order it for home delivery from our online store here.

Ultimately, Villa’s next three league games before the final international break of the year are all winnable. They’re without a doubt ‘must not lose’, but Ward’s side should be targeting maximum points against Bristol City, West Ham and Everton and will hope a potential run of good results can serve as the catalyst they need to finally get this season up and running.

West Ham and Everton, along with Bristol City, are among the teams struggling at the bottom-end of the table - but all have managed to pick up points in the early stages of the campaign so it will be no easy task. Sunday’s opponents Bristol City will be full of confidence after their big win last time out in the WSL.

It’s certainly not panic stations yet as, in the context of the entire season, it’s still early days. But, the longer the wait for a win rumbles in, the more questions will be asked.

Villa's win over Sheffield United on Wednesday night was made even greater by the long-awaited return of Dali. The France midfielder came on as a substitute just after the hour mark and is in contention to start against Bristol City this weekend.

Now, on the back of a positive result in the cup and with some key players returning - Ward's side are very much ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

"On Monday morning we had a look at November," the Villa boss told the media on Friday morning. "We've set ourselves targets and we know what we want to go after.

"The only way we can look now is forward. Take the hurt, take the anger as well and look forward to the fixtures in November because they're all fixtures we want to try and pick up points from."