Chelsea pip Arsenal to WSL title on dramatic final day – live reaction! | Women’s Super League

 

CHELSEA ARE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND FOR THE FIFTH TIME!

Full times: Chelsea 4-2 Man Utd, West Ham 0-2 Arsenal

The golden age of Chelsea FCW continues. They have won the WSL for the third season in a row and the fifth time in seven years.

They were pushed so hard all season by an exceptional Arsenal side, and had to go to the well one last time when they were 2-1 down to Manchester United at half-time. Sam Kerr came up with two staggering volleys, one with each foot, either side of an excellent goal from Guro Reiten.

Chelsea were jittery in the first half, but Emma Hayes was as proactive as ever – she brought on Ji, who reduced Chelsea’s heart-rate in midfield, and Beth England at half-time. Their dominant second-half performance brooked not a solitary argument.

Commiserations to Arsenal, who will be haunted by that defeat to Birmingham in January, but congratulations to Chelsea. In the end, they were deserved winners: today, and across the whole season.

Champions!
Champions! Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

 

The Chelsea squad and backroom staff are all in a huddle, singing ‘Championes’. Fran Kirby is there too, which is lovely to see. Most of us will never know the euphoria they are feeling right now. These are really lovely scenes, and now the players are going on a lap of honour.

Watch Sam Kerr’s goals

“Hard to see how Arsenal will be as creative if and when, as seems likely Miedema goes off to Barcelona,” says Charles Antaki. “The midfield is solid enough, but unless Mana Iwabuchi comes back in strongly or Jordan Nobbs avoids injury and gets a proper run, there’s not much devilment there. And up front Blackstenius hasn’t caught fire yet… Maybe Barça would like to donate a player in gratitude for what they’ll be getting.”

Full time: Reading 0-4 Manchester City

Alex Greenwood scored a fourth for City in injury time. They couldn’t be in better form as they look ahead to the FA Cup final against Chelsea next weekend.

CHELSEA ARE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND FOR THE FIFTH TIME!

Full times: Chelsea 4-2 Man Utd, West Ham 0-2 Arsenal

The golden age of Chelsea FCW continues. They have won the WSL for the third season in a row and the fifth time in seven years.

They were pushed so hard all season by an exceptional Arsenal side, and had to go to the well one last time when they were 2-1 down to Manchester United at half-time. Sam Kerr came up with two staggering volleys, one with each foot, either side of an excellent goal from Guro Reiten.

Chelsea were jittery in the first half, but Emma Hayes was as proactive as ever – she brought on Ji, who reduced Chelsea’s heart-rate in midfield, and Beth England at half-time. Their dominant second-half performance brooked not a solitary argument.

Commiserations to Arsenal, who will be haunted by that defeat to Birmingham in January, but congratulations to Chelsea. In the end, they were deserved winners: today, and across the whole season.

Champions!
Champions! Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

93 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United The departing Chelsea legend Drew Spence replaces Sam Kerr, which allows the home fans to give a rousing ovation to both players.

90 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United I was wrong. There will be a mere seven minutes of added time. But there is no sense that United are going to spoil the party – they are knackered, Chelsea are floating on air.

GOAL! Reading 0-3 Manchester City (White 85) Ellen White puts a little cherry on City’s Champions League cake. They have won 13 of their last 15 league games, an outstanding recovery from their desperate start to the season.

88 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Bruun wafts over from 20 yards. Apparently there will be eight minutes of added time, presumably in part because of the injury to Leah Galton.

86 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Replays suggest that Ji went down a bit easily, so that was a good – and brave – decision from the referee.

Ji So-Yun goes down in the box. No penalty.
Ji So-Yun goes down in the box. No penalty. Photograph: Naomi Baker/The FA/Getty Images

84 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Ji goes over in the area after a tired challenge from Ladd. I thought it was a penalty at first glance; more importantly, the referee did not.

83 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Kerr hits a ferocious rising drive that clonks the head of Thorisdottir and goes behind. That might well have been going in the top corner.

83 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United It’s been a noble effort from United, but they look tired now. A third goal would give them renewed energy; for now, though, Chelsea are keeping them at arm’s length without too much difficulty.

Chelsea have just had too much in this second half for Manchester United. That’s why they’re champions.
Chelsea have just had too much in this second half for Manchester United. That’s why they’re champions. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

82 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Another change for United. Signe Bruun is on for Jackie Groenen.

80 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Fleming is booked for stopping United from taking a free-kick.

79 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Ji’s well-struck shot is blocked by Zelem in the six-yard box.

77 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United And another change for Chelsea. Jessie Fleming replaces Pernille Harder, who had a quiet game but made that crucial third goal.

76 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Another United change: Martha Thomas, who started this goalfest, is replaced by Vilde Boe Risa.

74 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United A jaunty long-range curler from Zelem is comfortably held to her right by Berger.

71 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Ji, playing her final league game for Chelsea, shoots not far wide. She has added composure and authority to a Chelsea midfield that struggled in the first half, and her lovely pass led to the game-breaking third goal.

70 min: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United Honestly, those two Kerr goals are scandalous. She should be arrested and put in the clink overnight to think about what she’s done.

GOAL! West Ham 0-2 Arsenal (Catley 66)

Arsenal have done their bit, but it’s not going to be enough. The title has surely been decided by two astonishing volleys from Sam Kerr, one with each foot.

Stephanie Catley scores the second for Arsenal. It looks they will fall just short in the title race.
Stephanie Catley scores the second for Arsenal. It looks they will fall just short in the title race. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Chelsea are on the brink of the title, thanks in no small part to two stunning goals from Sam Kerr. The United keeper Mary Earps’s driven crossfield pass was intercepted by Reiten, who headed it forward to Kerr, 25 yards out with her back to goal. Kerr chested it up in the air, swivelled and swished a dipping volley into the net!

What a goal! She knew that Earps was still slightly out of position, having moved across to play that pass, and deliberately belted the volley into the other side of the goal. Earps scrambled across her line but was nowhere near it. That’s genius from Sam Kerr.

GOAL! Chelsea 4-2 Man Utd (Kerr 66)

Sam Kerr has scored another outrageous goal!

Oh, that’s magnificent from Sam Kerr. That should be that.
Oh, that’s magnificent from Sam Kerr. That should be that. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

65 min Galton is replaced by Kirsty Hanson. She’s lying down by the touchline with her right leg outstretched, clearly in a lot of pain. I think it’s an achilles injury.

64 min: Chelsea 3-2 Manchester United There’s a break in play while Leah Galton receives treatment. She fell awkwardly after a clumsy challenge from Millie Bright, and the pain is such that Galton is in tears.

GOAL! West Ham 0-1 Arsenal (Blackstenius 61)

Arsenal have finally taken the lead at West Ham! The substitute Stina Blackstenius has scored with her first touch, or rather series of touches, and that means Arsenal are one Manchester United goal away from the title.

61 min: Chelsea 3-2 Manchester United After a torrid start to the second half, United are starting to have more of the ball. Chelsea need another goal before they can feel remotely comfortable.

59 min: Chelsea 3-2 Manchester United Another change for Chelsea: Aniek Nouwen replaces Niamh Charles.

58 min Here’s that excellent team goal, finished by Guro Reiten, which put Chelsea ahead for the first time today.

57 min: West Ham 0-0 Arsenal As it stands, there’s nothing Arsenal can do. But all they need is a two-goal swing – one for them, one for Man Utd – and they will be champions.

54 min: Chelsea 3-2 Manchester United Groenen hits the post! It was a mishit cross from the right that beat the backpedalling Berger and hit the face of the far post.

54 min: Chelsea 3-2 Manchester United I’d love to know what Emma Hayes said at half-time. The substitutions have certainly helped, but there has been a notable increase in Chelsea’s intensity.

Guro Reiten, who has been fantastic all season, has put Chelsea ahead for the first time today. The move started when the substitute Ji guided a beautiful pass down the left to release Harder. She moved into the area and eased the ball back to the underlapping Reiten, who forced a first-time shot across Earps.

GOAL! Chelsea 3-2 Man Utd (Reiten 51)

Chelsea have turned it round in style!

Guro Reiten finishes off a wonderful team move for Chelsea. Is that the title?
Guro Reiten finishes off a wonderful team move for Chelsea. Is that the title? Photograph: Naomi Baker/The FA/Getty Images

50 min Pick this out.

49 min: Chelsea 2-2 Man Utd, West Ham 0-0 Arsenal The title has already changed hands four times today.

What a spectacular goal! Erin Cuthbert’s shot was blocked, with the ball looping towards the edge of the area. Kerr ran around the ball, watched it onto her left foot and launched a stunning volley past Mary Earps!

GOAL! Chelsea 2-2 Man Utd (Kerr 46)

Sam Kerr equalises after 47 seconds of the second half!

A spectacular goal from Sam Kerr as Chelsea level again!
A spectacular goal from Sam Kerr as Chelsea level again! Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

46 min: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United Peep peep! United begin the second half. No surprise to see that Emma Hayes has made a double half-time change: Sophie Ingle and Jonna Andersson off, Beth England and Ji So-Yun on.

“Nerves – that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?” weeps Arsenal fan Charles Antaki. “Also skill, endeavour, nous, determination, stamina and, for preference, a Miedema hat-trick.”

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Half time: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

Peep peep! Chelsea’s title hopes are made of gossamer. They struggled throughout the first half and deservedly trail to an impressive Manchester United. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they will surely play a lot better in the second half.

Half time: West Ham 0-0 Arsenal

It isn’t going to plan for Arsenal either, though as things stand they are top of the WSL.

HT 0-0. Hard to say whether Arsenal are a bit anxious or whether I’m so anxious that I’m judging every overhit pass or sloppy touch like someone busy spat in my face. Probably a bit of both.

— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) May 8, 2022

 

GOAL! Reading 0-2 Man City (Shaw 44) I’m reluctant to jump to any conclusions involving Manchester City after what happened to the men’s team in the week, but Bunny Shaw’s goal has surely secured third place and another crack at the Champions League.

Khadija Shaw scores the second for Manchester City just before half time.
Khadija Shaw scores the second for Manchester City just before half time. Photograph: David Davies/PA

43 min: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United This is a decent spell for Chelsea, who have had a few corners in the last few minutes. The most recent, taken by Reiten, leads to a peedie scramble before United belt the ball clear.

Reading 0-1 Man City Here’s that Lauren Hemp goal, taken beautifully as usual. She is going to be a superstar, if she isn’t already.

40 min: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United Earps makes a comfortable save from Kerr, who was pushed wide by Thorisdottir (I think). She mistimed the shot anyway, and it would have gone wide. Chelsea are missing the composure and mischievous creativity of Fran Kirby.

Mary Earps makes a save at the feet of Sam Kerr
Mary Earps makes a save at the feet of Sam Kerr. It’s not happening at the minute for the home side. Photograph: Naomi Baker/The FA/Getty Images

West Ham 0-0 Arsenal Still goalless, though it sounds like Arsenal have had plenty of chances.

39 min: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United Chelsea have plenty of options on the bench, including Ji, Jessie Fleming and Beth England. Don’t be surprised if we see at least one of them at the start of the second half, certainly if the score stays like this.

GOAL! Reading 0-1 Man City (Hemp 33)

The magnificent Lauren Hemp has put City ahead at Reading, and that should be enough to secure a Champions League place next season. They only need a draw today.

If you’re not familiar with Lauren Hemp, familiarise yourself at your earliest convenience. In my admirably humble opinion, she’s the most exhilarating footballer in the league.

Lauren Hemp puts Manchester City ahead at Reading.
Lauren Hemp puts Manchester City ahead at Reading. Photograph: David Davies/PA

35 min: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United Harder gives the referee a mouthful after being penalised for a foul on Zelem. Apart from a short spell before Cuthbert’s equaliser, Chelsea haven’t got going at all.

29 min: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

United have played so well in the first half-hour. They still need a favour from Reading if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the Champions League – their game with Manchester City is still 0-0 – but it’s been a thoroughly impressive performance.

West Ham 0-0 Arsenal

Mead close again. Far and away Arsenal’s most threatening player so far.

— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) May 8, 2022

 

Man I’m just trying to write my match report and I’m hearing it’s 2-1 to United and Jordan Nobbs is celebrating on the bench next to me and I’m *stressed*. Andre, if you’re reading this, it’s your fault.

— Maryam Naz (@MNaz98) May 8, 2022

 

27 min Repeat after me: as, it, stands.

 

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