Chelsea edged closer to a sixth Women’s Super League title with a 2-0 win in their penultimate game of the season against Arsenal, thanks to first-half goals from Guro Reiten and Magdalena Eriksson.
Five points clear at the top of the table with one game left to play, Chelsea could be crowned champions on Sunday evening, should Manchester United fail to beat City in the derby. Should United win — with a draw or loss to their cross-town rivals only enough to confirm second — the title race will be taken to the last day of the season yet again.
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Emma Hayes’ side came into the fixture on a five-match winning run in the league and pushed to the front foot early on in the game, even seeing a Sam Kerr goal chalked off due to a clear offside.
They didn’t have to wait long to find the back of the net again however, as Reiten threw her body at Eve Perisset’s hopeful ball into the penalty area to get the better of Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger on 23 minutes.
Coming into the game having never been beaten in the league by Chelsea under coach Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal pressed well on the counter with Frida Maanum drawing a reaction save from Ann-Katrin Berger in the opening half-hour.
However, Arsenal’s hopes of taking anything from the match — and bettering their chances of a top-three finish — were dealt a firm blow five minutes before the break when Chelsea’s departing captain Eriksson poked the ball home following a cheap free kick.
After being on the back foot for most of the first half, Arsenal came out stronger after the break and began to carve out good chances. Caitlin Foord crashed a shot against the top of the bar before Katie McCabe won a penalty. However, Arsenal’s temporary captain could only send her spot kick wide of the target.
Still looking for a goal to get them back into the game, Maanum again chanced her arm only to be thwarted by a determined Berger once more as the game began to wind down to the inevitable.
Arsenal, who finished the match three points ahead of City, albeit with a 10-goal advantage, may also have their fate confirmed later on Sunday as only the top three WSL finishers qualify for next season’s Champions League.
If City win or draw against United, Arsenal will have to get a result on the last day of the season, at home to Aston Villa.