View: Carla Ward should side with Alisha Lehmann in attack for Aston Villa Women v Brighton
Aston Villa attacker Alisha Lehmann has experienced somewhat of an up-and-down season, but Carla Ward must restore her to the starting lineup for their Women’s Super League fixture against Brighton.
The 24-year-old had been an ever-present in the Villa starting XI over the past 18 months but saw her spot in the team nabbed by teammate Laura Blindkilde Brown after a lean patch of form.
After only featuring from the bench in the club’s two WSL fixtures since the mid-season break, it is now time for Ward to place her faith in the Swiss international to deliver the goods in the final third of the pitch.
When at her best, Lehmann is a brilliant attacking option for Ward to possess. Her pace, skill and sharp shooting in front of goal led have resulted in her becoming a fan favourite in recent times.
Last season, the winger racked up over 1700 minutes of action and was subsequently named Aston Villa Women’s Supporters’ Player of the season. However, this term, she has netted just the solitary goal in the WSL and a further goal in Villa’s 11-0 rout over Fylde in the FA Cup last week.
However, with back-to-back games against second-to-bottom Brighton awaiting Villa in the coming nine days, this could well be the perfect opportunity to throw Lehmann into the action and see if she can rediscover her goalscoring form.
The Seagulls have conceded a whopping 32 goals from just nine games so far this term, and alongside the bang-in-form Rachel Daly and Kirsty Hanson, the attacker could well set the stage alight.
The selection of Blinkilde Brown on the right wing since the mid-season break seems to be a bit of a stop-gap solution from Ward and ever-so-slightly like trying to fit square pegs into round holes.
The 19-year-old is a magnificent prospect for Villa to possess; however, she is naturally a ball-playing central midfielder. Her strengths don’t lie in taking defenders one-on-one and running in behind defences, and you can’t help but feel this is limiting Villa’s ability to counterattack.
With Lehmann starting from the first whistle, Villa can play the game on the front foot, attack with pace and really assert their ascendancy in the final third.
In other Aston Villa news, Unai Emery must end Matty Cash’s exile in defence and bring him back into the side for Ashley Young.