Hayes toasts dominant WSL title winners Chelsea

Hayes toasts dominant WSL title winners Chelsea

© AFP 2022
May 27, 2023 at 5:31 PM
Chelsea were crowned WSL champions for the fourth consecutive season on Saturday
Chelsea were crowned WSL champions for the fourth consecutive season on Saturday. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
Source: AFP

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said the drinks were on her after a 3-0 win at Reading on Saturday secured a fourth consecutive Women's Super League title.

Sam Kerr scored twice, while Guro Reiten was also on target, to secure the victory the Blues needed to hold off Manchester United's fight to win the English top flight for the first time.

Victory completed a league and FA Cup double for Chelsea after they beat United 1-0 at Wembley earlier this month.

And they came close to a treble after missing out narrowly to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.

"Drinks are on me. I'll be ordering the shots!" Hayes said. "I hope they have a fantastic time - they've earned it."

Chelsea's reign of domestic dominance has been seriously challenged this season as United, Arsenal and Manchester City pushed them in a four-way title race until the final weeks of the season.

The champions, though, showed their quality when it mattered most with a seven-game winning run to finish the league season.

"Sometimes I refer to it as a lemon that we've squeezed everything out of and we just keep trying to get a little bit more," Hayes added on her side's ability to keep winning.

"We find those margins but that is because of the staff in the background. That's the work everybody is doing to keep us at the front of the pile."

Fittingly, it was Chelsea's two star performers this season in Kerr and Reiten who took centre stage to seal the title.

"We've played so many games, you have to go again every third or fourth day," said Reiten.

"But we keep doing it again and again, digging deep, finding that special moment to win games and, yeah, we're good!"

The two combined for the opening goal after just 18 minutes when Kerr headed in Reiten's cross.

The Norwegian midfielder then slotted through the legs of goalkeeper Grace Moloney to make it 2-0 before half-time.

Kerr was crowned the football writers' women's player of the year this week and struck her 29th goal of the campaign in all competitions two minutes from time by tapping home at the second attempt.

Defeat confirmed Reading's relegation from the top flight.

United won 1-0 at Liverpool thanks to Lucia Garcia's goal but finished two points adrift of Chelsea.

The Red Devils women's side was only formed five years ago and they will play in the Champions League next season for the first time.

"I think we've maxed out on our potential in terms of running with Chelsea to the wire. It's nice that it's close but we know we've got some way to go," said United and England goalkeeper Mary Earps.

"I'm hungry for success. I want to go and win the Champions League now!"

Arsenal claimed the third and final place in next season's Champions League ahead of City on goal difference despite losing 2-0 at home to Aston Villa.

© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022