Chelsea the title favourites as Leicester look to survive – WSL talking points

Manchester United will look to take advantage of any Chelsea slip as they bid to take the title from the Blues.

Phil Medlicott
Thursday 25 May 2023 10:00 BST
Chelsea will secure a fourth consecutive WSL title if they beat Reading on Saturday (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Chelsea will secure a fourth consecutive WSL title if they beat Reading on Saturday (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

The 2022-23 Women’s Super League season reaches its conclusion on Saturday with matters still to be decided at both ends of the table.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points heading into the finale.

Chelsea in pole position

Holding a two-point lead at the top, five-time champions Chelsea will secure the title for a fourth successive year – to complete a league and FA Cup double – if they beat Reading at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. While Emma Hayes’ side, currently on a six-match winning streak in which they have scored 24 goals and conceded one, are certainly well-fancied to do so, they are facing opponents battling for their WSL lives. Kelly Chambers’ rock-bottom Royals need a victory to have any chance of survival, with them two points adrift of 11th-placed Leicester. Reading pulled off a shock 1-0 win at home against Chelsea last season, before losing 5-0 and 3-2 in subsequent meetings at Kingsmeadow, and go into this contest on a five-match losing run, having conceded 16 times across their last four games.

United poised

Marc Skinner’s second-placed Manchester United, who kept the title race alive with a dramatic 2-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday, will be looking to take advantage of any Chelsea slip when they play Liverpool away. If the Blues were to draw, United would likely need to win their game by six goals to end up on top. Although it could be a trophyless season for the Red Devils – beaten by Chelsea in the FA Cup final – they have already achieved a record WSL points tally and their first Champions League qualification.

Arsenal Europe-bound

Arsenal are three points clear of Manchester City in the third and final Champions League berth and their goal difference superiority means European football is all but sealed for Jonas Eidevall’s League Cup winners, who host Aston Villa. City are set to miss out on the Champions League places for the first time since 2014, their inaugural WSL season. Gareth Taylor’s team, who need to overturn an 11-goal deficit to the Gunners, conclude their campaign by playing Everton at the Academy Stadium.

Leicester look to finish the job

Leicester boss Willie Kirk will look to complete his the rescue mission at the club when they play Brighton away. The Foxes were without a point at the foot of the table when Kirk succeeded Lydia Bedford in November – they have secured 13 since, winning four times. While they have a two-point advantage over Reading, their goal difference is inferior by three. Brighton and Tottenham, 10th and ninth respectively, had their safety confirmed last weekend when Spurs thumped Reading 4-1.

Golden Boot for Daly?

Fifth-placed Villa have had an impressive season, with the form of Rachel Daly key. And the 31-year-old is on course for the Golden Boot with 21 WSL goals netted so far this season, three more than her closest rival, Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw. It looks a good sign for England’s World Cup campaign, as does the exploits of United goalkeeper Mary Earps, who has registered 13 clean sheets in the league this season to claim the Golden Glove award.

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