Big changes are coming at Chelsea. Off the pitch, Roman Abramovich’s ownership ends after an agreement was reached to sell the club to a consortium led by American billionaire Todd Boehly. On the pitch, however, things continue as usual – especially for the women’s team.
On the final day of the Women’s Super League (WSL), Chelsea clinched the title with a 4-2 win over Manchester United, just a point clear of Arsenal, who won 2-0 at West Ham. It is the Blues’ third straight WSL crown and manager Emma Hayes’ fifth since her appointment in 2012.
Hayes admitted she felt “mentally drained” after her team came from behind twice to beat United. In the sold-out Kingsmeadow, goals from Erin Cuthbert, Guro riding and two “superb volleys” from Sam Kerr helped keep their closest rivals Arsenal at bay, according to Football365.com.
Winning the title by a point is “typical” of a Chelsea side that “can’t stop winning trophies,” Emma Sanders told BBC Sport. “From last-minute winners to comebacks to defensive masterclasses,” these are the “ingredients” that make up Chelsea’s title-winning season.
The best title so far
It’s been a grueling season for Hayes’ team, who have suffered from injury woes. By January, the roster had dwindled to about 13 or 14 players, but Hayes believes it was that eight-game streak that won the title. “I’ve never seen so many injuries as this year,” she told the Chelsea website. “We had bare bones in some places. It’s the proudest for that reason, because it meant everyone got on, nobody was a passenger. I’m relieved it’s over, hallelujah. This is by far the best.”
Cuthbert, who scored against United, agreed that the title win was their best yet. “Never write off this team,” she said. “We have a top mentality, a top manager – what a day for the football club.”
“Outrageous” Kerr shows her class
One of the key players in Chelsea’s title win was Australian striker Sam Kerr. Her first goal against United, which equalized 2-2, was a “left foot volleyball whipped into the top corner,” Suzanne Wrack told The Guardian. Her second, Chelsea’s fourth, was “even more special” as she “checked with her chest before turning and volleying over United goalkeeper Mary Earps”.
Kerr’s second goal was described by Hayes as “world class, outrageous, daring”. However, the striker knew it was coming. She revealed she had imagined the goal and told teammate Erin Cuthbert that “I’m going to get an incredible goal tomorrow”.
Before Kerr signed in 2019, Hayes had told the Australian she would win trophies if she joined Chelsea. “I can sit here confidently and say that we both made the right decision,” said the manager. “We are both made for Chelsea and love days like today.”
Since Hayes took over almost ten years ago, Chelsea have won ten major trophies. They can add more trophies on Sunday as they attempt to complete the double in the Women’s FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/sport/football/956677/emma-hayes-chelsea-trophy-winning-machine Emma Hayes’ Chelsea women’s team: a trophy-winning machine