Chelsea have rounded off their unstoppable Women's Super League season with another trophy to add to the cabinet. Finishing with 18 wins, three draws and just one loss, the Blues enjoy being crowned champions of England for the second consecutive year.
Despite being chased by Manchester City for the majority of the campaign, Chelsea held their nerve and breezed to another WSL title. GiveMeSport Women takes a look at five of the most poignant moments from their incredible league run.
Sam Kerr wins Golden Boot
Although her move to England came with a huge buzz, Sam Kerr was met with a lot of doubters following her switch to the WSL. While it did take the Aussie some time to adjust to the intensity of English football, the wait was certainly worth it.
Kerr has produced masterclass after masterclass this season. Every time she has been on the ball, she has posed huge danger to the opposition. Thanks to a creative Chelsea set-up and Kerr's natural goal scoring ability, the 27-year-old wrapped up her league campaign with an astonishing 21 goals scored in 22 games played.
The Matilda pipped Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema to the accolade this season, notching her sixth Golden Boot award in five years. Kerr has now dominated the NWSL, W League and now the Women's Super League with her fluid football and sharp shooting. As well as her 21 goals, she contributed eight assists – showing she can operate both as a provider and a clinical finisher.
Loss to Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea suffered just one defeat in the entire 2020/21 season. This came at the hands of an unlikely source – Brighton & Hove Albion. In a real plot twist, the Seagulls stunned the Blues with an emphatic comeback back in February to really cause an upset to the champions.
The West Londoners took the lead after just five minutes, which would have normally set the tone for a trademark, high-scoring victory. However, Chelsea struggled to build on Kerr's opener and equally seemed to have underestimated Brighton's ability to come from behind. Indeed, just three minutes later, Aileen Whelan netted the equaliser, demanding respect from the title hopefuls.
On paper, the Blues outperformed Brighton and should have made easy work of regaining their lead. They dominated with 76% of the possession and seven shots on target, but couldn't make it pay. Then, in their desperation to find another goal, the Seagulls caught them out with a late strike from Megan Connolly.
After suffering the shock defeat on home soil, Chelsea went on to win eight of their nine remaining WSL fixtures – scoring 30 goals and conceding just two. The loss was the one warning shot Emma Hayes needed to tighten the screws in her squad and avoid repeating the mistakes made. Her immediate improvement shows that she is looking for glory and will not settle for less.
2-2 vs Manchester City
In what was arguably the game of the season, Chelsea and Man City locked horns with a huge advantage in the title race at stake. A win for the Mancunian side would have really put the cat amongst the pigeons, but the Blues knew this.
A thrilling 2-2 draw was enough to see Chelsea keep their place at the top of the WSL table and snub out City's hopes of snatching the glory. It was a tough match, but Hayes and her side made sure they weren't about to let the Citizens come away with a win.
Every time the Blues got themselves ahead, City had a response. In the final moments of the match – as fans watched on through their fingers – Lauren Hemp looked sure to give her side the lead, but Ann-Katrin Berger pulled off a stunning fingertip save to deny the youngster a match-winning goal.
From this match, Chelsea knew they had one hand on the trophy. All that was left to do was wrap up their final fixtures against Spurs and Reading before the celebrations began.
Four for Fran
Fran Kirby has had one of the best seasons of her career. After returning from a long-term illness, it's like the England international has never been away.
Thanks to her new partner in crime Kerr, she has been in firing form in front of goal for Chelsea. The 27-year-old accumulated a total of 16 goals and 11 assists in 18 WSL fixtures this campaign, finishing as the league's third top goalscorer for the season. Kirby wowed the masses with her consistent performances, but the one that stood out the most was her display against her former side Reading in January.
The versatile forward almost single-handedly thrashed the Royals, scoring four of Chelsea's five goals that day. Kirby netted her hat-trick in the first half before adding one for good measure in the 53rd minute to really rub salt in Reading's wounds. It was at this point that WSL fans really sat up and took notice of the dynamo in blue, who would go on to be a huge factor in Chelsea's title-winning season.
9-0 vs Bristol City
Chelsea's season as reigning WSL champions started off with a draw against Manchester United. Casey Stoney's Red Devils held them to a 1-1 stalemate, which sparked a lot of murmurs over whether the Blues had already hit a blip in their quest to defend their title.
However, they soon asserted their dominance the following week with an unbelievable 9-0 win over Bristol City.
Nine goals to the good, nine different goal-scorers. Chelsea really made a statement when nine individual players found the back of the net in the demolition at Kingsmeadow. Kirby got the scoring underway, followed by three goals within five minutes from Maren Mjelde, Melanie Leupolz and Erin Cuthbert, with Millie Bright bagging the fifth just before half-time.
After the break, Bethany England, Niamh Charles and Pernille Harder bagged a goal each, before Kerr wrapped up the afternoon with the ninth.
From the start of the season, the Blues have looked in full control of the WSL and their efforts paid off with another trophy for their collection.News Now - Sport News