Chelsea pip Arsenal to WSL title after surviving early scare against Man Utd
Chelsea have been crowned Women’s Super League champions after coming from two goals down to beat Manchester United 4-2 on the final day of the season.
Arsenal’s hopes of overhauling Emma Hayes’ side at the summit received a huge boost when Martha Thomas and Ella Toone put United 2-0 up at Kingsmeadow.
Over in Chigwell, the Gunners were doing their part by overcoming West Ham 2-0. Yet hopes that they would celebrate a new contract for manager Jonas Eidevall with the club’s first title in three years started to disappear when Erin Cuthbert halved United’s lead, slicing a strike from the middle of the box into the bottom-left corner.
Just a minute into the second half, Sam Kerr equalised from outside the area to settle Chelsea’s nerves. For context, the Blues had only conceded two goals at home all season in their other 10 matches.
A more positive omen was their goal record against United, whom they had already scored nine past in all competitions.
That will be one of the key areas of improvement for Marc Skinner in his second season in charge next year, but it will not involve Champions League football as his side were pipped to third by Manchester City, who beat Reading 4-0.
Once Chelsea turned on the style, Guro Reiten put them ahead for the first time in the 51st minute, before setting up Kerr for another 15 minutes later.
The Australia international might have had a hat-trick, though she won the Golden Boot regardless, were it not for a block from Maria Thorisdottir and the hosts might also have had a penalty, though Ji So-Yun – making her final appearance for Chelsea – saw her appeals waved away.
Ji very nearly marked her departure with a goal too, but for the interception of United captain Katie Zelem.
Club legend Drew Spence was also given a standing ovation as she came on in injury time for her last bow after 13 and a half years in London.
Chelsea’s future has looked uncertain amidst the sanctions against Roman Abramovich and the ongoing sale of the club, with demands that investment in the women’s side will be ringfenced.
Nonetheless, Hayes successfully put that to one side with her 10th major trophy for the club as Chelsea became the first team in WSL history to win three successive titles.