Monday, June 17, 2024

Chelsea edge out Man City to claim fifth straight WSL title with thumping win at Old Trafford

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 May 2024

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Mayra Ramirez turned in a stellar performance to propel Chelsea to the WSL title in Emma Hayes’ final match in charge as the Blues thrashed Manchester United 6-0.

Earlier in May, Hayes – who is ending a 12-year stint in charge of the Blues to become the United States coach – had all but given up on claiming a fifth straight WSL crown.

Yet Chelsea’s 8-0 victory over Bristol City two weeks ago, combined with Manchester City’s defeat to Arsenal, opened the door, and after beating Tottenham in midweek, the Blues knew a win, while maintaining their positive goal difference, would be enough.

And they made sure there was no room for error with an incredible first-half display inspired by Ramirez, who scored twice and set up goals for Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Sjoeke Nusken at Old Trafford.

Melanie Leupolz got in on the act early in the second half as Chelsea’s celebrations began in earnest, with Fran Kirby netting late on to complete the rout on her farewell appearance.

Ultimately, City – likely deflated by the news coming from Old Trafford – held up their end of the bargain, but shorn of top goalscorer Khadija Shaw, Gareth Taylor’s team could only beat Aston Villa 2-1.

City were constantly chasing their title rivals, with Ramirez and Rytting Kaneryd putting Chelsea 2-0 up at United inside eight minutes.

Mary Fowler nudged City ahead at Villa Park, though when Taylor’s team went in at the interval, they will have seen additional goals from record signing Ramirez and Nusken had all but sewn up the title for Chelsea already.

Leupolz has scored her first WSL goal in over two years to add further gloss for Chelsea when they came back out from the restart in Manchester, and City were then hit by a further blow when Rachel Daly equalised for Villa.

Lauren Hemp, who had assisted Fowler’s opener, restored City’s lead, though it was never going to be enough, with Kirby’s farewell goal ensuring Chelsea finished with a goal difference of 53 compared to their rivals’ 46.

Chelsea are now unbeaten across their last nine WSL games that have come on the final day of the season, while the Blues are now nine WSL matches without loss against United, having won eight of those fixtures.

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