Unstoppable Chelsea march to fourth straight Women’s Super League title in style

Reading 0-3 Chelsea: Sam Kerr scored twice with Guro Reiten also on target as the Blues secured the win they needed to seal the title

Reuben Rosso-Powell
Saturday 27 May 2023 18:15 BST
<p>Chelsea won the WSL for a fourth straight year </p>

Chelsea won the WSL for a fourth straight year

Chelsea celebrated their fourth successive Women’s Super League title by getting the win they needed after beating Reading 3-0 at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Having seen off Manchester United in the FA Cup final earlier this month, Chelsea wrapped up the double in style as they breezed past relegated Reading courtesy of Guro Reiten and a Sam Kerr double.

The Blues’ recent dominance shone through as their hosts failed to deal with the attacking talent of Emma Hayes’ side, who finished the 2022-23 season victorious and on a seven-game winning run in the league.

Chelsea knocked on the door early and were unlucky not to take the lead through Kerr’s missed opportunity before a fantastic save by goalkeeper Grace Moloney, who tipped Erin Cuthbert’s effort onto the crossbar.

But the breakthrough came in the 18th minute through Kerr, who did not have to be asked twice when she picked up a neat pocket of space inside the box before heading Reiten’s cross past Moloney to make it 1-0.

Reiten turned scorer after 42 minutes when she pounced on a loose ball in the Reading back line to go one-on-one with Moloney before holding her nerve to produce a composed finish and put Chelsea 2-0 up.

The shackles were off for Chelsea, who played the start of the second half with the comfort of a two-goal lead as they enjoyed long periods of possession which further piled the misery on Reading’s forgettable season.

And the champions began to ramp up the pressure through Kerr, Reiten and Lauren James, who drove at the Reading defence in a persistent hunt to grab another but were left disappointed through their opponents’ stubborn low block to keep the score at 2-0.

Guro Reiten put the cherry on top of Chelsea’s win

But Kerr’s efforts paid off in the 88th minute. The Australia captain was slipped through on goal and, after her first effort came back off the post, she was first to react to claim a simple tap-in and round off a well-deserved Chelsea victory.

For their part, Manchester United put the pressure on as substitute Lucia Garcia was again the hero, with the winning goal in a 1-0 triumph over Liverpool.

Garcia came off the bench to score a late winner against Manchester City last weekend to ensure the title race went to the last day of the season. She stepped up again as her 72nd-minute strike secured a 1-0 win for United at Prenton Park, but Chelsea preserved the two-point gap between the sides.

Up until Garcia struck three minutes after being introduced it had been a frustrating afternoon for United, who nevertheless have achieved their highest finish in the WSL in being runners-up to Chelsea.

Arsenal held on for third and Champions League football next season despite a 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa, where Rachel Daly equalled the record for most goals in a WSL season.

Daly struck in first-half stoppage time for her 22nd league goal of the campaign – securing the Golden Boot and emulating Vivianne Miedema’s haul for Arsenal in 2018-19.

Alisha Lehmann then made sure of Villa’s first WSL win over Arsenal in the 49th minute, but the Gunners secured third place due to a superior goal difference over Manchester City, who finished fourth after holding on to beat Everton 3-2 in Izzy Christiansen’s final match before retirement.

Khadija Shaw struck either side of Lauren Hemp’s fine effort to put City three goals to the good before Lucy Hope and substitute Leonie Maier scored consolations for the Toffees.

Bethany England scored twice for Tottenham at West Ham, who claimed a 2-2 draw following Emma Snerle’s curling strike and Kit Graham’s own goal.

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