Chelsea win WSL title in USWNT-bound Emma Hayes’ final game in charge

Chelsea have won a fifth successive Women’s Super League (WSL) title after thrashing Manchester United in Emma Hayes’ final game in charge.

The victory secures a record-extending seventh WSL title for the club and ensures USWNT-bound Hayes’ final season at the helm ends in silverware, as she departs following 12 years as manager.

Chelsea finished ahead of second-place Manchester City by virtue of a seven-goal difference after Gareth Taylor’s side also won on the final day, beating Aston Villa.

The two sides had gone into the final day of the season level on points at the top but Chelsea exploded out of the blocks with four first-half goals to leave City with next to no chance of leapfrogging them.

Mayra Ramirez scored twice while Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Sjoeke Nusken, Melanie Leupolz and Fran Kirby — in her final game for the club — also found the net in a comprehensive 6-0 win over the FA Cup winners at Old Trafford.

In their game, City won 2-1 at Villa Park thanks to goals from Mary Fowler and Lauren Hemp.

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Ramirez scored twice at Old Trafford (Darren Staples/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea led from the front during the first half of the WSL season but were reeled in by City after February’s 1-0 loss to Taylor’s side at Kingsmeadow. City embarked on a 14-game winning run to extend their lead at the league summit.

Chelsea’s 4-3 loss to Liverpool at the beginning of May left them six points behind City but with a game in hand and had Hayes admitting “I don’t think the title will be heading to us this year”. This followed their Continental Cup final loss to Arsenal and Champions League semi-final exit to Barcelona.

However, City were then beaten by Arsenal four days later thanks to a pair of late Stina Blackstenius goals, and after Chelsea overhauled the goal difference deficit with their 8-0 win over Bristol City, Hayes declared the title race was “not f****** over” on the Kingsmeadow pitch.

Chelsea won their game in hand against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday to leave the title race in their hands heading into the final day of the season.

Their title triumph has come despite missing injured captain Millie Bright for five months and the season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury suffered to two-time WSL Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr in January. This was followed by another ACL injury to fellow striker Mia Fishel.

Ramirez was brought in for a record fee in January to fill the goalscoring void left by Kerr, but injury problems restricted her to seven WSL appearances.

Injuries forced younger players to step up, with Lauren James enjoying the best goalscoring season of her career. The 22-year-old is the team’s top scorer with 13.

Aggie Beever-Jones has also enjoyed a breakthrough campaign following last season’s loan spell at Everton, providing 11 league goals.

For Hayes, she leaves Chelsea after securing a 14th major trophy, and will now prepare to lead the U.S. at this summer’s Olympic Games.

(Darren Staples/AFP via Getty Images)

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