The Blues won the Women’s Super League title for the third straight season, as two spectacular Sam Kerr strikes sealed a thrilling second-half comeback and a 4-2 victory against Manchester United at Kingsmeadow.
The objective ahead of kick-off on a balmy Sunday lunchtime in KT1 was quite simple for Emma Hayes’ side – match or better Arsenal’s result and we’d be champions for the fifth time, plus a Spring Series won in 2017. What followed across the next 90 minutes, however, was anything but straightforward.
In a nervy first half we trailed twice, going behind early on to a header from Martha Thomas and then again to Ella Toone’s deflected volley after Erin Cuthbert had smashed us level after a long throw dropped invitingly at her feet inside the box.
Hayes had a big team talk ahead of her at the break, but clearly her words – and two substitutions – had the desired effect as we came racing out of the blocks and drew level within a minute of the restart.
Kerr was the scorer with a goal of the season contender, as she leathered home an unstoppable left-footed volley from the edge of the box that flew past Mary Earps and into the back of the net. Kingsmeadow erupted.
The noise was even louder five minutes later when a brilliant move was instigated by the departing Ji So-Yun on her final Kingsmeadow appearance, taken on by Pernille Harder and then brilliantly finished by Guro Reiten, who scored her fifth goal in the final seven WSL games of the campaign.
Guro Reiten puts Blues in the lead! | Chelsea 2-2 Man Utd | WSL
Guro Reiten makes it 3-2 to Chelsea!
Across the other side of London, Arsenal scored two quick-fire goals at West Ham to leave us knowing that anything less than a win on our own patch would dethrone us, but any late nerves went out the window courtesy of another Kerr stunner.
Although Earps’ sloppy clearance was straight onto the head of Reiten, there was still so much for Kerr to do as she took an awkward ball on her chest with 25 yards between her and the goal. What followed was nothing short of world-class, as she sent a perfectly weighted lob over the backpedalling goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Sam Kerr makes it four! | Chelsea 4-2 Man Utd | WSL
Sam Kerr scores her second and Chelsea's fourth to put one hand on the WSL title!
It was her 20th of the season to secure the WSL Golden Boot for a second straight year, and it was arguably even better than the one she’d scored at the start of the half. The celebrations that followed showed that we knew the job was almost done, although there was still 25 minutes left on the clock.
By this stage, though, we were in complete control and the result was rarely in doubt. The performance in the second half had truly been that of champions, and the final whistle confirmed as much.
Champions of England yet again.