WSL title race ‘all comes down to this’

Chelsea's Emma Hayes and Manchester City's Gareth TaylorGetty Images
  • 17 May 2024

The Women’s Super League title will be decided on Saturday and it is incredibly tight at the top of the table.

Chelsea lead Manchester City on goal difference, with an advantage of two goals, after a season which has already seen plenty of drama.

Chelsea have spent 153 days top of the WSL, compared to City’s 64.

The leaders face FA Cup winners Manchester United at Old Trafford, while City are away to seventh-placed Aston Villa. Both games kick off at 15:00 BST.

Will Chelsea seal the title in manager Emma Hayes’ final game or can City lift the trophy for the first time since 2016?

Former England Manchester City striker Ellen White told BBC Sport that Chelsea have “the harder challenge” against a United side who come into the game off the back of winning their first piece of major silverware with victory over Tottenham in the FA Cup final last weekend.

“It all comes down to this one game, the last game of the season,” White said. “Chelsea just need to get those three points and City maybe need to get three points and a few more goals”

Trying to close the goal difference gap will be tough for City and White says that is why she believes the title is in Chelsea’s hands.

“The pressure of City going out and not thinking about goal difference because if you have that in your head, it’s all-consuming,” she told BBC Sport. “It’s just about getting the three points and whoever can deal with that pressure will win it.”

Ex-England and Chelsea midfielder Katie Chapman had the same assessment and thinks the Hayes’ side will benefit from the reduced pressure.

“Chelsea go into the game knowing if they score one goal, it puts them three ahead and City have to score four,” she said.

“In terms of that mindset Chelsea can be a bit more relaxed and they just need to go and win the game.”

‘It would mean absolutely everything’

Hayes’ 12-year spell as Chelsea manager comes to an end this weekend before she then takes over as United States boss.

The London club were in contention for a quadruple, but were knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup in the semi-finals and lost the League Cup final.

White said there is “so much riding on it” for Hayes – but winning would be a big statement for City too.

“Winning the title is absolutely huge, it shows what you have done over a consecutive season and the consistency you have played at and everything you have had to play through,” she said.

“For City they haven’t won since 2016, but for Emma Hayes there is so much riding on it. She is wanting to win that title, they had four they could have won and it all comes down to this trophy for them.”

Hayes conceded that the title race was “over” after losing to Liverpool at the start of the month, but results have since gone Chelsea’s way and the the balance has swung in their favour.

City were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal, while Chelsea thrashed Bristol City and beat Tottenham to get back to the top.

Chapman said she thinks it will “go Chelsea’s way”.

“It was out of their hands, now it’s back in their hands and it seems that it is going to pan out that it’s going to go Chelsea’s way being two goals ahead. I’m sure both teams will give it the best they can and it’s going to come right down to the wire.”

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