Emma Hayes’s Chelsea: a trophy-winning machine
It’s the third Women’s Super League title in a row for the Blues
There’s big changes happening at Chelsea. Off the pitch, Roman Abramovich’s ownership is coming to an end after a deal was agreed to sell the club to a consortium led by American billionaire Todd Boehly. On the pitch, however, it’s business as usual – especially for the women’s team.
On the final day of the Women’s Super League (WSL) season, a 4-2 victory over Manchester United saw Chelsea seal the title by just one point from Arsenal, who were 2-0 winners at West Ham. It’s the third WSL crown in succession for the Blues, while for manager Emma Hayes it’s her fifth since being appointed in 2012.
Hayes admitted that she was left feeling “mentally drained” after her team twice came from behind to beat United. At a sold out Kingsmeadow, goals from Erin Cuthbert, Guro Reiten and two “superb volleys” from Sam Kerr helped keep their closest rivals Arsenal at bay, said Football365.com.
Clinching the title by a point was “typical” of a Chelsea side who just “cannot stop winning trophies”, said Emma Sanders on BBC Sport. “From last-minute winners, to comebacks and defensive masterclasses”, these are the “ingredients” which have made Chelsea’s title-winning season.
The best title yet
It’s been a gruelling campaign for Hayes’s team, which has suffered with injury problems. In January the squad was down to around 13 or 14 players, but Hayes believes it was that eight-game stretch where the title was won. “I’ve never known injuries like we’ve had this year,” she told the Chelsea website. “We had bare bones at some points. For that reason it’s the proudest one because it meant everybody stepped up, no-one was a passenger. I’m relieved it’s over, hallelujah. This is by far and away the best one.”
Cuthbert, who scored against United, agreed that this title win was the best one yet. “Never write off this team,” she said. “We’ve got 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 victory has been Australian striker Sam Kerr. Her first goal against United, which levelled the score at 2-2, was a “left-footed volley lashed into the top corner”, said Suzanne Wrack in The Guardian. Her second, Chelsea’s fourth, was “even more special”, as she “controlled with her chest before she turned and looped a volley over the United goalkeeper Mary Earps”.
Kerr’s second goal was described as “world-class, outrageous, audacious” by Hayes. However, the forward knew that it was coming. Revealing that she had visualised the strike, she had told teammate Erin Cuthbert that “I’m going to score an unbelievable goal tomorrow”.
Before Kerr signed in 2019, Hayes had told the Aussie that if she came to Chelsea she would win trophies. “I can sit here confidently and say we both made the right decision,” the manager said. “We’re both made for Chelsea and we both love days like today.”
Since Hayes took over nearly ten years ago Chelsea have won ten major trophies. They can add more silverware on Sunday when they look to complete the double in the Women’s FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.