Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action | Women’s Super League

Chelsea and Kerr ‘get things done’

“I’m not known for my worldie goals but the thing that I’m known for is getting it done when it matters”, the showboating but incredibly humble Sam Kerr said after her two goals in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory over Manchester United helped clinch the WSL title. “The most important thing for me is scoring goals and making sure the team is at the top of the table when the season ends,” she added. As she spoke her manager Emma Hayes, with the biggest of smiles, nodded. Because this is the crux of Chelsea’s success. Hayes has recruited supreme talents, Kerr being one of them, but she also focuses on team players, players with the right attitude, players, like Kerr, who see themselves winning even when things are not going their way. From the opening day 3-2 defeat to Arsenal, the Chelsea players never doubted they would lift silverware come May. SW

Match report: Chelsea 4-2 Manchester United

Blackstenius takes centre stage

Arsenal may have won 2-0 against West Ham on the final day but it was not enough to topple Chelsea. The Gunners will be heartbroken but their performance remained an illuminating one, mainly thanks to Stina Blackstenius. The Sweden international was brought on in the 61st minute and scored with her first touch. In the duration of this season she has dug her side out of a few holes, which the manager, Jonas Eidevall, acknowledged. “One of Stina’s strengths is the finish on the penetration pass, she doesn’t need many chances to score from those situations,” he said. “It’s something Stina does very well and we needed her to do it today.” With Vivianne Miedema rumoured to be leaving Arsenal this summer, it may be a point of progression for Blackstenius to make that role her own. Whatever the case, she will be a key cog in an Arsenal attack that could shape up entirely differently next season. MN

Match report: West Ham 0-2 Arsenal

City secure Champions League place

Gareth Taylor is the perfect example of when the going gets tough, firing the manager isn’t always the answer. Calls for Taylor’s sacking got loud from fans and neutrals after their worst start to a WSL season, including a shock loss to West Ham, but he steered the team back on course. The manager’s tactical play, and the return of big names such as Lucy Bronze and Chloe Kelly from injury, meant City closed out their campaign to seal third place and Champions League football again next season. The end of the campaign saw the club win nine consecutive league games and score 29 goals in the process. That meant a complete transformation of what most predicted would be their final position, and they also broke the hearts of local rivals Manchester United, who finished fourth. SR

Spurs’ future is bright

Tottenham finished off their campaign with a 1-0 win over Leicester to secure their highest-ever WSL finish in their three seasons in the league. Spurs ended up fifth, improving on their eighth and seventh in the past two campaigns. Their success has largely been down to the manager, Rehanne Skinner, who has done a fantastic job in her first full season at Spurs. Skinner not only had Tottenham in the fight for the Champions League for the majority of the season but they also inflicted a surprise defeat on Manchester City. Fans will be expecting more of the same, or to even improve, as Skinner has signed a new contract, running until 2024. The only way is up for Tottenham with Skinner having the time to build something special. SR

Whelan bows out on a high

The struggles of Brighton and Everton over the course of the season have been clear to see. Consistency has been hard to come by and you can imagine both are rather welcoming the summer break to reset. As is common in games with little to play for, their match on Sunday went much as expected, ending in a 1-1 draw. However, there was still time for football to show its romantic side. Pre-match, Brighton’s Aileen Whelan announced that she was ending her five-year association with the club. With her side trailing, she entered the pitch to fire home a second-half equaliser. A firm fans’ favourite, it was the perfect way to say goodbye and close this chapter of her career. SD

Sarri ruins Villa’s party

“I’m immensely proud of them”, said a satisfied Darren Carter as his already relegated Birmingham side showed their mettle to edge past Aston Villa 1-0. “To come off the back of this week and everything that happened on Wednesday with the relegation to then pick themselves up and go again was an incredible effort.” He had every right to be pleased after the most challenging of weeks that saw Birmingham’s WSL tenure come to an end. A final-day trip across the city to their biggest rivals gave his side a strong incentive to end their campaign on a high. A spirited performance saw them thwart Villa’s threat while Veatriki Sarri popped up in the 10th minute to truly spoil the party for their hosts and the 8,000 watching fans. SD