None could expect this last round of Women’s Super League football to be easy. This is no longer the competition where the Blues had little issue beating top-half teams, only challenged/threatened by fellow title contenders.
On the other hand Chelsea’s first half was the stuff of nightmares. Little to no fight in midfield led to Manchester United smashing our defence, whose only answer were awkward clearances. On yet another dreadful dead ball situation, United got the lead via Martha Thomas free to run inside our box and score with a header.
Chelsea did wake up and tried to immediately answer, but they were still shaky. Thankfully Erin Cuthbert, one of the few in the Blues side showing true grit on this first half, was able to find space and time to smash the ball against the back of United’s net to make it all equal again at 1-1.
A turnaround was on the menu, at least for seven minutes from Cuthbert’s goal. With help of a massive deflection, Ella Toone got United back in the lead.
Another adrenaline shot and Chelsea were back on attack, with United doing everything they could to protect the lead. The plan was to feed Sam Kerr and let her do her thing upfront. However goalkeeper Mary Earps was often ahead of this game plan, being able to defend her goal until the end of the first 45 minutes of play.
Changes to our eleven were in dire need and they were made by manager Emma Hayes, taking out Jonna Andersson and Sophie Ingle for Beth England and Ji So-yun. And one minute into the second half, Sam Kerr made it all equal for us with a great left-footed volley from the edge of the box.
Given Arsenal’s great form in the league we were well aware that it was only a matter of time before they scored a goal of their own against West Ham. To clinch the title we needed a third goal pronto.
And it came through. One superb Ji So-yun pass blew United’s defence open, with Harder running at them with ease. She set up Guro Reiten with a great chance to score, and the Norwegian wing-back would make no mistakes with her attempt at goal. 3-2 to the Blues, and Chelsea back at the top of the WSL table.
Holding onto the slim lead and hoping for the best would have been the general course of action for most teams. But most teams don’t have the privilege of lining up Sam Kerr upfront. With world-class skill, she scored a goal of the season to contender to extend our lead twofold against United.
A two-goal lead was clearly not enough for the Blues who kept pushing for more goals. Ji and Kerr tried their hardest to add another one to the scoreboard, and the former even had a clear penalty unabashedly dismissed by the referee. Thankfully the 4-2 lead was enough for us to secure yet another title, with the cherry on top in club legend Drew Spence playing her last minutes as a Chelsea player during stoppage time.
Carefree, at the top of the league for a third consecutive year!
El momento donde oficialmente nos coronamos pic.twitter.com/0vvsgf6wyS— Chelsea Women's LATAM (@ChelseaWEsp) May 8, 2022
- Almost the same lineup that beat Tottenham 2-1 at home except for goalkeeper, with Ann-Katrin Berger in place of Zecira Musovic, and attack where Niamh Charles takes on from Beth England’s spot.
- Subs are Ji So-yun for Jonna Andersson, Beth England for Sophie Ingle, Aniek Nouwen for Niamh Charles, Jessie Fleming for Pernille Harder, and Drew Spence for Sam Kerr.
- This first-half display has been below par from kick-off. No wonder United managed to profit twice from whatever state we were in.
- And the second half was the exact reaction we needed to overcome past woes and clinch this title for a third consecutive season.
- WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE!
- Next up: The FA Cup final against Manchester City, at Wembley.