Chelsea proved masters of the Super League run-in once again this season… so HOW can they be stopped? Arsenal are desperate to get their recruitment right, Man United face a battle to keep their top players – and Man City plan to follow the Blues’ model
- United, Arsenal and City all had a genuine chance of winning the title this season
- But Chelsea’s know-how at the business end of the campaign was the difference
- To stop them next season, England’s three other top WSL clubs have work to do
An outsider looking at Chelsea’s four titles in a row may assume the Women’s Super League is a one-horse race.
The irony is that it has been anything but. Four teams — Manchester United, City and Arsenal — had a genuine chance for much of the season but Chelsea are the masters of the run-in. So, just how can they be stopped?
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall described the club’s last two transfer windows as ‘not good enough’ and said they ‘have to get it right’ this summer.
Chelsea have already made a head start, with USA forward Catarina Macario and Canada left back Ashley Lawrence expected to sign this summer. Emma Hayes even said they were ‘almost done’ with their transfers for next season.
Meanwhile, United are facing a battle to keep hold of their best players, Alessia Russo and Ona Batlle, despite securing Champions League football for the first time. Across Manchester, City boss Gareth Taylor said they may only sign ‘one player’ in summer.
Chelsea proved themselves masters of the Super League run-in once again this season
Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall says the Gunners must ‘get it right’ in the transfer market
Man United face a battle to keep their best players, Alessia Russo (right) and Ona Batlle (left)
Man City manager Gareth Taylor said they are trying to follow Chelsea’s model but it is easier said than done when Emma Hayes is constantly evolving
Taylor said they are trying to follow Chelsea’s model but it is easier said than done when Hayes is constantly evolving.
‘Listen, the fear of losing drives me more than the will to win,’ the Chelsea boss said after Saturday’s victory at Reading sealed her sixth title in eight years.
‘I don’t know if it’s motivation. Sometimes it’s survival. In order to keep going, you have to survive. Denise Reddy (assistant manager) says it’s like snorkeling and swimming past the rocks.
‘Sometimes this job feels like you’re bobbing, your legs are kicking and you just keep going. I don’t know if that’s a right or wrong thing but it’s just what you do because you know everyone is chasing you and you don’t want to drown. I’m keeping my head above water while everyone is chasing.’
Hayes was coach under Vic Akers at Arsenal when the club won trophy after trophy. She was asked to stay when Akers was on the verge of retirement but that would have been too easy, Hayes wanted more competition.
Instead she moved to America for two years before coming back to take over at Chelsea. Akers won a record 11 league titles and Hayes is now five behind.
‘I think we’ve carried the spirit of that team to here. Why wouldn’t I? Vic coached me as a 10-year-old, he’s (always) been in my life, he sat with my dad at the Cup final last week.
Hayes (pictured) won her sixth Women’s Super League title in the 2022-23 campaign
‘I know he’s Arsenal but he’s always been a champion for me. I said to him, “I’m coming for your record”. He laughed and said “You ain’t gonna get it”. I said “I am, I’m coming for your record!”
‘I think it’s a different time now and he acknowledges that it is much harder to win.’
It may be harder but Hayes makes it look easy.