Chelsea on top but Emma Hayes may miss out on a fairytale finish in Women’s Super League title race

Emma Hayes applauds fans after the win at Tottenham (Picture: Alexander Canillas/SPP)

Chelsea set up a thrilling final day of the season after beating Tottenham 1-0 in their penultimate fixture. The win sent them level on points with Manchester City and with a slight advantage going into the final day of a better goal difference by two.

Chelsea would have hoped they could have boosted that advantage a little bit more against Spurs on Wednesday but they struggled to string together many good attacks even if their opponents themselves created little.

The goal came from 20 year old Japan forward Maika Hamano, scoring for the club for just the second time. It is a reflection of how manager Emma Hayes has had to increasingly rely on youth as the season has gone on.Aggie Beever-Jones, also 20, started up front, a day after receiving her first senior England call up.

The Blues will know beating Manchester United tomorrow at Old Trafford may not be enough to win the title. Manchester City will face seventh-placed Aston Villa at the same time with Chelsea all too familiar with how many goals it is possible to score against Villa. They put six past them in November on the day Hayes revealed she would be leaving the club.

City will be without star striker Bunny Shaw because of the foot injury that ruled her out of the title run-in. It did not seem to impact them in a 4-0 win over Bristol City but they missed her in their 2-1 loss to Arsenal.

City will know rivals United could do them a favour if they were not to lose to Chelsea. United beat the title holders for the first time in the FA Cup semi-final, a competition they went on to win. It leaves everything finely poised when the final act begins at 3pm tomorrow.


Grace Clinton has been a breakthrough star for Spurs (Picture: Shutterstock)

Spurs poised to push on

Tottenham may have lost the FA Cup final to United but it was evidence of a remarkable season of progress under manager Robert Vilahamn. Just a year ago, the North London club were fighting off relegation and the turnaround has been impressive.

The 4-0 loss at Wembley last Sunday will have been disappointing as Vilahamn’s team wilted under the pressure and the May sunshine, but it will also have provided invaluable experience.

Indeed since being promoted to the WSL in 2019, Spurs have not always looked like they had a clear plan to succeed. Now with an exciting style of play and a strong recruitment pipeline, they seem better placed to properly establish themselves as a top-half team and even push on from there.

All eyes this summer will be on whether they can lure England midfielder Grace Clinton to join them permanently.

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Clinton was unavailable in the cup final as she is on loan to Spurs from United, but Tottenham are keen to keep hold of her after an impressive season. United, however, have proven resistant to the temptation of transfer fees, having turned down significant sums for both Alessia Russo and Mary Earps in the past. It would be a strong statement of intent if Spurs were able to prise her away.

Arsenal’s Miedema mystery

Arsenal will bid farewell to record WSL goalscorer Vivianne Miedema tomorrow. The Netherlands forward announced this week she will be leaving at the end of the season with the club not believed to have offered her a new contract.

The decision to let her go has raised eyebrows. Miedema, 27, joined in 2017 and is considered one of the best players in the world. She suffered an ACL injury in 2022 and has had a slow recovery. But there is a feeling, given her age, there is a strong chance she gets back to her best.

Vivianne Miedema will be allowed to walk away from Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

Miedema has always looked a bit at odds with current manager Jonas Eidevall’s system. She was moved back from her traditional striker role to a No.10 with Eidevall looking to play with someone who offered more physicality off the ball. The lack of contract offer feels like an acknowledgment from the club the duo are not the right fit.

It is a clear sign of Arsenal’s faith in Eidevall as a manager, something that has been tested at points this season. They are set to finish third in the league with Champions League qualification secured as well as having won the Continental Cup. However, disappointing losses to teams like West Ham and Liverpool meant their title challenge never really got going.

Eidevall will be going into his fourth season as manager next year and it is beginning to reach the point where if they do not 
win a league title soon, his leadership will become untenable.


MORE : Tottenham must lose their small-club mentality and look to learn from Arsenal


MORE : Marc Skinner urges Mary Earps to stay after Man Utd win FA Cup final

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