Manchester City topped the Women’s Super League after winning their penultimate game of the season to put pressure on the absent Chelsea, whose own fixture was postponed until Wednesday to allow them to play their semi-final second leg in the Champions League.
Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-1 to overcome the overall deficit of the first match, but will return to the WSL in the middle of the week with a point behind the new leader City.
City’s 4-0 win over Birmingham was their 13th win in their last 14 WSL games. The player of the contender for the season Chloe Kelly started the track with two goals in the first 23 minutes. Caroline Weir continued to miss a penalty in the second half before later goals from Esme Morgan and Sam Mavis, another WSL player for the season’s nominee, made it a beautiful victory.
Unfortunately, the game was overshadowed by what looked like an injury in Kelly’s second half, which was stretched with a knee brace.
Now Chelsea are losing to City by a point and will have the opportunity to return to the top before the final round of competitions next week, when they play their match against Tottenham on Wednesday.
Despite peaks to reach the Champions League final for the first time, Emma Hayes’ country will need to focus quickly again to ensure that the race does not turn into banana skin.
Lower in the standings, Arsenal ensure that now only the impossibly large goal difference next weekend will prevent them from securing third place in the Champions League at the expense of Manchester United.
The gunners were severely tested by Everton. Katie McCabe gave them the lead in the first half, but when Megan Finigan equalized, becoming the first player to score against Arsenal in the WSL in February, the game seemed to be on a tie. But when McCabe was sent off into the penalty area deep in the stoppage time, Kim Little converted from a place to win.
The victory was decisive for Arsenal, as Manchester United also won, achieving a narrow 1-0 victory, decided by a late own goal against the bottom club Bristol City.
The omission of the newly lucrative and revamped Champions League will come as a big disappointment to the united country, which led the WSL for much of the season and still remained in the top three until recently.
Injuries, especially for forward Tobin Heath, did not help and this is the second campaign in which United seems to be exhausted after a strong start. Five defeats in their last 11 WSL games compared to taking almost the maximum points of the first 10 tell a story.
The defeat by United leaves Bristol City to win their final game of the season next weekend away at Brighton to have any chance of holding on, and I hope Aston Villa also lose to Arsenal.
Villa failed to fully secure WSL status for next season, with a 0-0 draw against West Ham just enough to take away two points from Bristol. The result effectively ensures that the hammers will avoid falling, thanks to a significantly better goal difference than Robbins. Birmingham, despite losing to City, are also safe almost now safe for the same reason.
In the other game of the week, Reading skipped Brighton as the two clubs clashed for the final spot in the top half of the table. Lighthouse Williams opened the scoring for Reading in what was the penultimate game of her glorious career before retiring this summer. Daniel Carter doubled that lead, but Lee Geum-min made a quick double to make it 2-2 at halftime.
Natasha Harding sealed a 3-2 victory for Reading at the beginning of the second half.
Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham
Chelsea, Fri. Tottenham
Everton 1-2 Arsenal
Bristol City 0-1 Manchester United
Reading 3-2 Brighton
Manchester City 4-0 Birmingham
Chelsea will face Tottenham on Wednesday night, with the last day of the 2020/21 WSL season to be played next weekend on Sunday, May 9, with a simultaneous start at 14:30.
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