Will there be a new name on the Women’s Super League trophy this season, or will Chelsea get their hands on it for the fourth consecutive campaign? Less than two weeks from the last day of the season, everything remains to be played.
Manchester United lead the table by one point, but second-placed Chelsea have one game less at West Ham on Wednesday.
If the Blues win their three remaining games this season, Emma Hayes’ side will seal a third straight domestic double. beating United in the FA Cup final Last weekend.
Any mistakes by United or Chelsea could be punished by Arsenal, who are six points behind the leaders with one game less. They visit Everton on Wednesday.
Manchester City are mathematically still in the running but would require a miracle to lift the WSL trophy, but Gareth Taylor’s side can still have a say in where they go with the top four clashing this weekend.
City visit United on Sunday evening, after Chelsea hosted Arsenal at midday. If Chelsea beat West Ham and the Gunners and then United fail to win the Manchester derby, the Blues will be crowned champions.
Any other scenario sees the title go down to the last day.
“Who would bet against Chelsea to win the WSL now?” ex-England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis told BBC One after their FA Cup final victory. “They know how to get results. Emma Hayes has put together a relentless team.”
How’s it going
Manchester United (1st, 50 points)
Reformed only in 2018 as a second division club, United are in the hunt for their first WSL title having finished fourth in each of the last three seasons.
Marc Skinner’s side have won 16 of their 20 matches so far, including home and away against Arsenal, but suffered three defeats in all competitions against closest rivals Chelsea, including at Wembley on Sunday.
“I’m not going to stop and this team is not going to stop,” Skinner said after that final loss. “If anyone thinks we’re leaving, we’re not leaving.”
Their title push was built on a tight defense, which has kept more league clean sheets (13) than it has conceded goals (11) in the WSL this season.
Still to play: Manchester City (h, May 21), Liverpool (ex, May 27)
Chelsea (2nd, 49 points)
The Blues’ title chase has a feeling of inevitability about it. They are chasing a fourth straight WSL title and know the destination of the trophy this season is in their hands.
However, there remains one big obstacle in their path: Arsenal. The teams have met three times already this season, with Chelsea winning the FA Cup, the Gunners winning the League Cup final and points shared in the league.
Emma Hayes’ side hit form at the right time, having recovered from a 2-0 defeat at Man City on March 26. They have also made up for Man Utd’s goal difference, having scored 13 goals in their last two WSL matches – a 7-0 win at Everton and a 6-0 win at home to Leicester.
“You saw in that performance against Everton, we’ve been improving as the season goes on and it’s definitely time for us to show why we’ve won so many trophies,” striker Sam Kerr said.
Still to play: West Ham (a, May 17), Arsenal (a, May 21), Reading (a, May 27)
Arsenal (3rd, 44 points)
A first WSL title since 2019 remains a possibility for Arsenal, who ended a four-year wait for silverware earlier this season by beating Chelsea in the League Cup final.
However, their poor form against the other four top clubs – four points from five WSL games so far – and a run of three league games without a win to start 2023 leave Jonas Eidevall’s side as underdogs.
“Our mentality is to win,” Eidevall said. “That doesn’t change. We try to win everything.”
If Arsenal win their remaining three games, they have a chance – but they can only reach a maximum of 53 points, so United and Chelsea would have to slip in more than one game.
Still to play: Everton (a, May 17), Chelsea (a, May 21), Aston Villa (a, May 27)
Manchester City (4th, 44 points)
Gareth Taylor’s side are included because mathematically they can win the WSL title – but realistically they are out of contention. As well as winning their remaining two games, they would need United to lose both, with a goal difference of 17. A single win at Chelsea would also rule out City.
A dreadful start to the season, losing their first two WSL matches, has come back to haunt City, while defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool in their last four games have seen faint hopes dashed.
Still to play: Manchester United (a, May 21), Everton (d, May 27)