Sunday sees the concluding round of 2021-22 Women’s Super League matches take place, with the title battle among the matters still to be settled.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the season finale.
After 21 games the league’s top two are separated by a single point, with Emma Hayes’ defending champions Chelsea holding the narrow advantage over Arsenal. The Blues face Manchester United at Kingsmeadow while Jonas Eidevall’s Gunners – who took the race to the final day with a 3-0 victory over Tottenham on Wednesday, and have the better goal difference by four – play West Ham away. Chelsea are looking to secure a third successive WSL title and fifth overall as they pursue a double, with an FA Cup final against Manchester City to come the following weekend.
City seek to seal Europe
City, victors over Chelsea in the League Cup final in March, are aiming to complete a job themselves before switching focus to Wembley – sealing the third Champions League spot at the expense of derby rivals United. Gareth Taylor’s side have bounced back after a poor start to their injury-disrupted season and head into Sunday’s contest at Reading on an eight-game winning streak. Marc Skinner’s Red Devils are two points behind in fourth, with a goal difference inferior by nine, as they prepare for their trip to Chelsea.
Best of the rest
Tottenham have spent time in the top three this term but struggles towards the end of the season, failing to win any of their last seven games, have left Rehanne Skinner’s team way out of the picture in fifth. It still amounts to a creditable campaign for Spurs, who were promoted in 2019 and are guaranteed their highest finish since. They host Leicester as they look to cement their current position, lying two points ahead of sixth-placed West Ham. Meanwhile, Everton, fifth last season, round off a disappointing campaign by facing seventh-placed Brighton away. The Toffees can finish no higher than ninth and have Brian Sorensen taking over as boss this summer following the sackings of Willie Kirk and Jean-Luc Vasseur and Chris Roberts’ interim stint.
Blues bow out
The situation at the bottom was finalised on Wednesday as Birmingham were confirmed as relegated following a 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City. Changing managers from Scott Booth to Darren Carter has failed to save the 2011 and 2012 WSL runners-up as promoted Leicester, having lost each of their opening nine games of the season, moved off the foot of the table and to safety after replacing Jonathan Morgan with Lydia Bedford. Birmingham finish with a derby trip to ninth-placed Aston Villa, for whom former England defender Anita Asante is set to make a final appearance before retirement.
Kerr out front again
As well as Chelsea looking to retain the WSL trophy, their star forward Sam Kerr, recently named FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year, appears destined to once again take the Golden Boot award. The Australia international notched 21 times en route to the honour last term – this season she has 18 league goals, four more than her nearest rival, the division’s all-time top-scorer Vivianne Miedema, whose future with Arsenal remains uncertain.