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‘Exhausted’ Emma Hayes in fairy-tale ending as Chelsea land fifth WSL title in a row

Emma Hayes and her team lift the trophy

An “exhausted” Emma Hayes said she did not have another single drop left to give to the job, after her 12 trophy-laden years in charge of Chelsea ended in dream fashion as they claimed a fifth successive Women’s Super League.

A 6-0 victory over Manchester United symbolised her team’s dominance of the English women’s game and after emotional celebrations at Old Trafford, a red-faced Hayes sipped a beer in her press conference and said: “I’m so tired. I am, I mean it, I’m just exhausted from 12 years, not just 90 minutes of football. I don’t know how anyone does it for that length of time, 12 years, but I’m always so grateful for the players and what they’ve done for me and the club.

“I’d say it’s taken its toll. I categorically cannot carry on. So, I am absolutely leaving at the right time. I don’t have another drop to give it, I can’t keep up with the demands from players on a daily basis.”

Hayes’ team’s emphatic margin of victory meant they clinched the title ahead of Manchester City on goal-difference, after a dramatic see-saw title race which Hayes had appeared prematurely to concede just 2½ weeks ago after a 4-3 loss at Liverpool. But the following weekend, Manchester City conceded two late goals to lose 2-1 against Arsenal, Chelsea hammered Bristol City 8-0 and then – in Hayes’ own words – once that door was left open, her team weren’t going to miss their opportunity.

“For me this is the best title [we have won], because we’re not stupid, we know we weren’t at our best but for us to win a title, wow, like I’m sorry I don’t think you guys realise how hard it is to win and win and win. We’ve played significantly more games if you look over the last five years,” Hayes said.

Emma Hayes punches the air
Hayes celebrates as Fran Kirby scores Chelsea's sixth goal - Getty Images/Naomi Baker

“I almost can’t believe we’ve won the title. I respect that City have lost [player of the season] Bunny Shaw. I’ve been in City’s position. If we’d have been in City’s position and they had they lost to Liverpool in the years gone by we definitely won that next game. So forgive me for thinking that City should have won the title. I think Man City have had a tremendous season, they really have. They pushed us all the way. But if you leave that door open for a team like Chelsea, the minute that door was left open was the minute everybody knew that we would walk through it.”

The United States-bound coach’s team started the day level on points with their title rivals but produced a performance that was more than worthy of champions to race into a 4-0 half-time lead and quickly dash any hopes that Manchester City had of lifting the trophy 80 miles down the M6 at Villa Park. Gareth Taylor’s side were 2-1 winners in the end but their scoreline scarcely even registered.

The architect of Chelsea’s emphatic 6-0 win was their record signing, Colombia striker Mayra Ramírez, fit-again after a hamstring problem, who embarrassed the Manchester United defence with her strength, quick feet and link-up play. The January signing scored twice and provided two assists, to the delight of a jubilant Hayes. Sweden winger Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Germany midfielder Sjoeke Nusken and her compatriot Melanie Leupolz all also got on the scoresheet for the champions, before England’s Fran Kirby came on as a substitute in her own farewell game to add a clinically taken sixth goal, much to the delight of all her team-mates.

Fran Kirby scores
Fran Kirby also bids farewell to Chelsea in style with the final goal in the 6-0 victory - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Kirby, like Hayes, has been part of all seven of Chelsea’s WSL titles, with the first of those coming in 2015. Since then the club have enjoyed a dominant era domestically which has seen them lift the title on all but two occasions in the nine years that have passed, and Hayes bows out of club football as the modern English women’s game’s greatest club manager.

The result was something of a humiliation for Manchester United, and came in stark contrast to the celebratory mood they enjoyed just six days earlier at Wembley after lifting their first major women’s trophy. The club announced a new extended contract for manager Marc Skinner on Friday, but by the middle of the second half at Old Trafford, the travelling Chelsea fans were taunting Skinner by chanting ‘Marc Skinner, we want you to stay’. His team were euphoric 4-0 winners at Wembley over Tottenham but on Saturday in front of 28,737 fans, their defensive shape looked disjointed and they simply could not cope with Ramírez’s sheer power.

Telegraph Sport understands Chelsea will receive a formal invite to Downing Street for an event on Monday. According to sources, representatives from Women’s Championship winners Crystal Palace will also be invited.

As for Hayes, she will take charge of the USA for the first time, before leading them into the Olympic Games in Paris later this summer, bidding to add yet another medal to her extensive haul. She said the Olympics will “re-energise” and “reinvigorate her”. She will fly to New York on Monday.


Drama on final day of WSL: How it unfolded...


05:49 PM BST

That’s all from us

Thanks for joining us and we hope you’ve enjoyed our WSL coverage this season. We’ll be back in September to do it all over again! Until then, goodbye.


05:39 PM BST

Hayes hails ‘sweetest’ title win

When asked if this has been her toughest WSL title

I can’t say it’s my most enjoyable but it’s definitely been the toughest without doubt and for that reason probably the sweetest. I’m just so relieved it’s over.”

On the match itself

What a wonderful performance from the team today. I picked a team of leaders from the beginning and I felt it was absolutely essentially we had the emotional maturity and regulation for a stadium as fitting as this. We’ve lost a lot of players today so to have some of them back today, it was just an amazing performance.

When asked about her Chelsea highlights:

Great memories, listening to the fans, the connection with the players, I just haven’t got any more to give I know that.

The hardest thing to do is five in a row because people take their eye off the ball. My legacy is winning while building a team for the future.”

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Emma Hayes celebrates a fifth straight WSL title and seventh overall with her team - Martin Rickett/PA

05:29 PM BST

Chelsea in seventh heaven

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Chelsea are crowned champions - REUTERS/Molly Darlington
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Emma Hayes celebrates with her team as Chelsea lift the trophy - Molly Darlington/REUTERS

05:24 PM BST

Jess Carter: ‘This is the best WSL title we’ve won’

This is the best trophy we’ve won

To come out on top and stay together and fight and fight and fight.. There was nothing left to lose and we didn’t want to have any regrets. Everyone played with freedom. The message [from Emma] was just to go and have fun.


05:21 PM BST

Niamh Charles: ‘We never lost hope’

The Chelsea defender tells Sky:

It’s a proper special day. I’;m so proud to play for VC and I’m proud of the team this year. We knew coming in we just had to focus on what we could control. This is what Chelsea’s about, it’s about showing up when it matters.

I don’t think we ever completely lost hope but we were grateful when it [the chance] came back.


05:16 PM BST

Chelsea lift the WSL trophy

Straight after her post-match interview, Millie Bright runs over to join the rest of her teammates and hoists the WSL trophy into the air with Emma Hayes, with Queen’s We Are the Champions reverberating around Old Trafford. This is what perfect endings look like.


05:13 PM BST

Millie Bright - Chelsea are ‘mentality monsters’

The Chelsea defender tells Sky Sports:

When half the country writes you off and we know we have the monster mentality. We were given a second chance - they don’t come often - but you have to take it.

We beat Bristol and Tottenham and we put on a five star performance today

Every player was incredible today but they’re our standards, we shouldn’t be underestimated to make this sort of comeback

Team sport is about having the staff’s back as much as they have ours. It’s been an emotional season for Emma but we got around her just like she gets around us.


05:09 PM BST

Mix of emotions as United parade FA Cup trophy

Manchester United are now parading the Women’s FA Cup trophy around Old Trafford, which must be one of the weirdest feelings you can experience in football after a day like today.


05:07 PM BST

The moment Chelsea were confirmed champions

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Chelsea players run onto the pitch as the final whistle blew - AFP via Getty Images/ARREN STAPLES
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Chelsea players celebrate - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

05:04 PM BST

Over at Villa Park..

Steph Houghton, signing off from football, is in tears as she waves to the City fans. This isn’t how she would have wanted to bow out but there’s no doubt she’s been one of English football’s most remarkable servants.

There are some tears from Steph Houghton as she takes the applause of both sets of fans. Not the fairytale ending she wanted in her final season at Manchester City. They came so close to winning their first WSL title since 2016 but not quite close enough


05:01 PM BST

Tom Garry’s final thoughts

Moments before the end, news came through that Man City’s game was over and the Chelsea players and staff began to cheer. Then as the full-time whistle sounded here, Chelsea’s substitutes streamed onto the pitch. Emma Hayes turned to hug her assistant, Denise Reddy. Then she was hugging captain Millie Bright. Sam Kerr has run down onto the pitch to join the celebrations. The away fans are singing ‘Champione, champione’. What a performance today.


05:00 PM BST

CHELSEA ARE CHAMPIONS AGAIN!

They’ve done it! Chelsea players tear onto the pitch and Emma Hayes is smothered with hugs as the final whistle goes. A few weeks ago they looked down and out but clawed it back and have hit Man United for six today to ensure a fairytale ending for Emma Hayes, who has masterminded a fifth straight WSL title and seventh overall.


04:57 PM BST

The countdown is on..

We’re half way through five minutes of stoppage time here and Chelsea’s party is going to officially begin imminently.


04:56 PM BST

FT Aston Villa 1-2 Man City

It’s all over at Villa Park, which means Chelsea have officially done it. Rachel Daly and Alex Greenwood share a warm embrace as the final whistle goes.


04:54 PM BST

Five minutes of injury time at Old Trafford

Chelsea’s fifth straight WSL title is within touching distance.


04:52 PM BST

Theatre of dreams for Chelsea

It’s turning into a fairytale ending of this era for Chelsea, because on her farewell appearance, Fran Kirby has just tucked home the game’s sixth goal. There will be no more popular goalscorer amongst those travelling away fans. It’s exactly what they wanted ever since she came on as a substitute in this second half.


04:50 PM BST

KIRBY MAKES IT SIX!

What a fairytale for Fran Kirby who, in her finest game in charge, has her moment. Lawrence leaves it for Kirby, who is stationed in an onside position behind her, and the Lionesses striker has all the time in the world to open up her body and curls a low finish past Mary Earps.

Chelsea’s all-time greatest goals scorer, with 116, adds to her tally in her final game for Chelsea. It’s perfectly scripted. This team is unstoppable.


04:38 PM BST

Chelsea fans taunting United boss

The Chelsea fans are taunting Manchester United by singing ‘Marc Skinner, we want you to stay’. Ouch.


04:37 PM BST

CITY RETAKE THE LEAD

It’s Lauren Hemp with a 77th minute goal. She stretches out a leg to poke the ball into the goal, but it’s all too little, too late for City, who haven’t made the most of their chances today.


04:35 PM BST

Chelsea make a double change

Ashley Lawrence is on for Guro Reiten, while Erin Cuthbert makes way for Fran Kirby, who makes her final appearance in a Chelsea shirt.


04:31 PM BST

Chelsea fans in party mode

The Chelsea away fans erupt into another cheer as news of Rachel Daly’s equaliser for Aston Villa filters through to Old Trafford. Sam Kerr and Carly Telford’s grins get even wider.


04:29 PM BST

VILLA EQUALISE!

It’s going from bad to worse for City, who have just succumbed to a Rachel Daly equaliser. It’s a fantastic finish from the Villa striker, who slots the ball into the back of the net after racing down her flank.

After all the talk about goal difference, the WSL title looks set to be decided on points.


04:26 PM BST

Steph Houghton enters the fray

Steph Houghton coming on to a standing ovation from both sets of fans on what will be her final game as a player before retirement. There’s a nice touch from Rachel Daly, who embraces her former England captain, as she receives the armband from Alex Greenwood.


04:25 PM BST

Can United avoid a whitewash?

Hope rises amongst the Manchester United defence that they’ll be able to keep this scoreline down to single figures... As Mayra Ramirez is subbed off for a breather. What a ridiculously strong performance from her today.


04:24 PM BST

Ramirez’ afternoon is over

The Colombian striker was struggling with cramp and won’t be able to collect the match ball. Still, what a superb shift she’s put in for her side - her two goals, two assists and all-round hold-up play has been second to none and caused Man Utd all sorts of defensive issues. She makes way for Aggie Beever-Jones while Melanie Leupolz comes off for Sophie Ingle.


04:21 PM BST

Hayes closing in on a fifth straight WSL title

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Emma Hayes celebrates her team's colossal lead in her final Chelsea game - Robbie Jay Barratt /Getty Images Europe
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Emma Hayes celebrates on the touchline - ARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images

04:14 PM BST

Crack open the champers

Fetch the engraver, bring out the blue ribbons, and get the champagne ready for Chelsea. Emma Hayes’ team are lifting the WSL title today and they’re humiliating Manchester United in the process. The home side’s defending for that fifth goal was utterly embarrassing.


04:14 PM BST

IT’S FIVE FOR CHELSEA!

Chelsea have started the second half like they finished the first. Rytting Kaneryd tiptoes her way into the penalty area with a cute dribble - she gets the better of Millie Turner but can;t quite get a clean chip over Earps - the ball trickles towards the back post but United fail to clear their lines. Guro Reiten intervenes, flicks it back across the goal and Melanie Leupolz lunges, sticks a boot out and the ball floats into the net! This has been an absolute masterclass from Emma Hayes’ side.


04:06 PM BST

Manchester City form a huddle..

.. before kicking off the second half. Gareth Taylor’s side need to score six and hope the score at Old Trafford stays the same, which on the balance of probability, is highly unlikely. As I type, Chloe Kelly rifles a shot from outside the area over the bar.


03:54 PM BST

HT - Man Utd 0-4 Chelsea / Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City

What an emphatic first half display from Chelsea, who are nailed-on favourites now to lift a fifth straight title. Mayra Ramirez has been absolutely sensational. Man City have only managed to put one past Villa so far.

Emma Hayes claps hands with each of her XI players on the field, one by one, as they walk off for half-time


03:53 PM BST

Ramirez packs a real punch

If Mayra Ramirez against Millie Turner was a boxing fight here the referee would have stepped in and stopped the fight already. The Manchester United centre-back just cannot cope with the Colombia striker at all.


03:50 PM BST

Can you believe this?

Chelsea are coasting towards a potential fifth title on the bounce. Their third goal here was another product of Mayra Ramirez’s power and strength - she makes a great run along the right, cutting inside and slotting the ball across to Sjoeke Nusken to tap home. But where were the Manchester United defence? Marc Skinner’s team’s back four are all over the place.

This is getting embarrassing for Manchester United. Chelsea’s fourth goal sees Mayra Ramirez just walked through the home side’s defence yet again. They can’t cope with her. The Chelsea staff, substitutes and board members in the stands cannot stop smiling. They’re surely going to be champions. Emma Hayes’ team are forcing Manchester City to clock up a really improbable scoreline


03:49 PM BST

RAMIREZ MAKES IT FOUR!

Blimey, it’s four! And it’s Ramirez again! She tiptoes her way through on the edge of the penalty area and angles in a beautiful shot past Earps! Wow.


03:48 PM BST

CHELSEA MAKE IT THREE!

Chelsea are in cruise control. Surely the title is theirs. Ramirez is involved in the build up - she goes on a barnstorming run down the wing and gets the better of Millie Turner who can’t match the Colombian’s physicality. She arrows in a direct low cross and Sjoeke Nusken is in the centre, completely unmarked. She strokes it into the net and Chelsea are 3-0 up. It’s such simple yet effective stuff from Emma Hayes’ side.


03:41 PM BST

City hit the woodwork

It is probably a natural response to knowing Chelsea are winning 2-0 but City are trying to force things in the final third, looking for a pass that isn’t there. Nevertheless, Hemp should have made it 2-0 a few minutes ago and impressive substitute Laura Blindkilde Brown, an England Under-21 international, has just hit the crossbar after a lovely set up from Fowler. City need to take these chances. They need to make Chelsea feel a little nervous at least.


03:37 PM BST

Chelsea fans in full voice

The relentless noise and support from Chelsea’s away fans today has been impressive. Their latest chant is one for ‘super Fran Kirby’, who is - like Hayes - saying goodbye to the club today. Former FWA Player of the Year Kirby joined them from Reading in 2015.


03:36 PM BST

Elsewhere in the WSL

It’s goals galore on the final day of the WSL season.

Arsenal lead Brighton 2-0 courtesy of an Alessia Russo double, Everton lead Bristol City 2-0 and Sophie Haug has put Liverpool 1-0 up against Leicester.

If you thought Chelsea got off to a fast start, it took just three minutes for Beth England to put Tottenham 1-0 up against West Ham.


03:28 PM BST

As it stands

Chelsea will be WSL champions on goal difference. City need to score at least four goals - with Chelsea not adding to their lead - to win the title.


03:26 PM BST

News of City’s goal filters through at OT

I’ve just lip-read the words ‘City have scored’ from Chelsea’s women’s team’s managing director Adrian Jacob, speaking to some of his colleagues such as general manager Paul Green, up in the stands.


03:23 PM BST

CITY SCORE!

It’s Mary Fowler on the scoresheet and City are up and running after 21 minutes..

What a good game Lauren Hemp is having, which bodes well for England’s European Championship qualifiers this summer. City are dominating and are getting closer to the first goal, Alanna Kennedy rattling the crossbar with a header before Mary Fowler controls a cross from Hemp with one touch and smashes it home with her second. Great goal.


03:20 PM BST

City’s title hopes slipping away..

City have started to settle and have been the better side but there is not a lot of noise coming from their large travelling support. They are all too aware that their city rivals and neighbours have not done them any favours so far against Chelsea. As things stand, City would have to win 5-0 and hope Chelsea do not score again at Old Trafford.


03:14 PM BST

City have a mountain to climb

News of the score at Old Trafford has filtered through to Villa Park, where the home fans have just broken out into a chant of “it’s 2-0 to Chelsea, 2-0 to Chelsea...” The body language of the City players is looking deflated.


03:13 PM BST

Stuff of dreams for Chelsea

This is the stuff of dreams for Emma Hayes, whose team go 2-0 up inside eight minutes. Johanna Rytting Kaneryd races onto Mayra Ramirez’s through ball and she beats Mary Earps beautifully. Hayes does a little dance of delight. Sam Kerr, up in the stands with injury, has both arms in the air in celebration.


03:12 PM BST

CHELSEA DOUBLE THEIR LEAD!

Incredible scenes at Old Trafford, where Chelsea have doubled their lead through Johanna Rytting Kaneryd! It all starts from Millie Bright sticking her head on a Mary Earps goal kick and Ramirez picks up the ball, drifts into space before threading it through to Rytting Kaneryd. Earps comes charging out of her goal but the Swede slots it home as cool as a cucumber.


03:09 PM BST

Rachel Daly chance for Villa

Villa have created the first chance of the game and they sliced through Man City with a rapid counter attack. Made it look far too easy and that is a warning sign for Gareth Taylor’s side who cannot chase the game too early and leave themselves that open. Rachel Daly headed just over the bar at the end of that move


03:04 PM BST

CHELSEA SCORE!

There’s not even two minutes on the clock and in a game that could seal their title, Chelsea are ahead! It’s Colombian star Mayra Ramirez who heads in from close range after a peach of a cross from Guro Reiten. That goal difference gap just got bigger...

What a start for Chelsea! Inside two minutes, their record signing Mayra Ramirez rises superbly at the far post to powerfully head home from Guro Reiten’s hanging cross, and Chelsea’s fans go absolutely crazy. Emma Hayes clenches her first. They couldn’t have really wished for a better start.


03:02 PM BST

Chelsea fans show their support for Hayes

The sold-out away section of travelling fans above the corner flag to my right all rise in unison to salute Emma Hayes, as she turns to them and claps, with both of her hands above her head, moments before kick-off here. The atmosphere is cracking.


03:01 PM BST

We’re underway..

Chelsea have spent 154 days at the top of the WSL, while Manchester City have only been at the top for 64 days.

Who will be crowned champions in a couple of hours? After 230 days of the season, we’re about to find out.


02:55 PM BST

Wiegman also at Old Trafford

England head coach Sarina Wiegman has just taken up her seat at Old Trafford, a couple of yards to the left of Sir Dave Brailsford. The Lionesses face France in back-to-back European Championship qualifiers in a couple of weeks’ time.


02:54 PM BST

The WSL finale is nearly here..

..all six matches kicking off in five minutes.


02:50 PM BST

Party atmosphere at Old Trafford

The DJ here at Old Trafford has been blasting out banger after banger and the crowd are having a bit of a party. The home side are now giving out some of the end-of-season awards, pitchside. Player of the Year and Goal of the Season has just been handed to Ella Toone, prompting a huge roar from the stands. It’s happening here instead of at a fancy function after the club’s main awards night was cancelled, somewhat controversially despite the women’s team’s success at Wembley last season.


02:49 PM BST

Title-chasing Man City in the zone at Villa Park

It might not be a capacity crowd like you get at some of the London clubs, notably Arsenal who will play at least ten games at the Emirates next season, but the WSL feels and sounds different when it is played in a big stadium like Villa Park.

The fans enjoy it and you can tell the players have an extra spring in their stop during the warm up drills too. Man City’s players look very serious and focused - as you would expect from the team that is trying to win the title on the final day of the season - and ready to take care of business. A lot more lighthearted and plenty of smiles in the Aston Villa camp, clapping and waving to their fans.

Kick off shortly. Let the fun begin.


02:48 PM BST

WSL title permutations

Chelsea will be crowned Women’s Super League champions on Saturday at Old Trafford if they match or better Manchester City’s result at Villa Park. If both trophy-chasing teams win, Chelsea will secure their fifth consecutive WSL title unless City’s winning margin is at least three goals greater than Chelsea’s. So if Chelsea were to win 1-0, only a 4-0 win or greater would be enough for City to lift the trophy.

The one (very unlikely) exception is if City win by a margin of only two goals greater than Chelsea’s while also matching the London side’s overall number of goals scored this season. For example, if Chelsea were to win 1-0, an improbable 7-4 victory (or greater) for City.

In that scenario, both teams would be level on goal difference, goals scored and matches won so the title would go down to the head-to-head record between the two sides, which is in City’s favour as they have taken four points from their league games against Chelsea this term.


02:43 PM BST

United eye a fourth place finish

If Manchester United beat Chelsea and Liverpool drop points against Leicester, Marc Skinner’s side could finish fourth in the table. It won’t mean anything per se as the fourth-placed team in the WSL doesn’t have a shot at European qualification, but fresh from the high of their historic FA Cup victory last week, they’ll still be playing for pride and will be hunting a win.


02:39 PM BST

Emma Hayes is a rarity - a Chelsea manager leaving on their own terms

Ahead of her final game in charge of Chelsea, our chief football correspondent Jason Burt looks back at Hayes’ remarkable, trophy-laden years in the Women’s Super League. Check it out here.


02:35 PM BST

Chelsea team news

Leaders Chelsea have made three changes from Wednesday’s win at Tottenham: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Jess Carter and the club’s record signing Mayra Ramírez all come in for Wednesday’s goalscorer Maika Hamano, Canada full-back Ashley Lawrence and young forward Aggie Beever-Jones.

Colombia star Ramirez’s return from injury is a huge boost for Emma Hayes’ side. As for Manchester United - who we understand are also going to be watched by Sir Dave Brailsford here at Old Trafford this afternoon - there’s just one change to their XI that won the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley, as winger Leah Galton is replaced by Melvine Malard of France.


02:34 PM BST

Hayes “privileged” to be at the Theatre of Dreams

The team is in a position to compete for the title and that’s all I ever wanted for day one.

The season that City have had has been unbelievable but the reality is they opened the door for us.

It’s my last day at work. Most people go for pub drinks at this point but I’m going to enjoy the game and I know I’ve done everything I can to prepare the players. We’re looking forward to it.

To be in Sir Alex Ferguson’s backyard today, I’m very privileged.


02:28 PM BST

WSL champions will also seal European qualification

As well as the WSL trophy, there’s another prize on offer for the eventual WSL champions today: Automatic qualification to the group stages of next season’s Women’s Champions League.

That isn’t guaranteed normally under the allocation rules, because England is currently lagging behind France, Germany and Spain in Uefa’s coefficient rankings, and therefore the four automatic group-stage slots go to the champions in those three countries first, plus the Champions League winners.

But after Lyon clinched the French league title last night, and with Barcelona having already won the Spanish title, and with those two sides meeting in next weekend’s European final, it means the group-stage spot that would go to the European champions will now be passed down to the WSL champions instead, with the WSL being next in line.

That’s a big boost for Chelsea or Manchester City’s European hopes next term. Whichever of them finishes second will need to go through the second qualifying round in autumn, which is the stage where Manchester United were knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain last season. Not easy.


02:23 PM BST

One last dance for Houghton

There is understandably a lot of focus on Emma Hayes’ final game in charge of Chelsea today before her big move to the United States, but it will also be an emotional day for Manchester City great Steph Houghton, who is hanging up her boots.

The legendary centre-back, who also has 121 England caps, will bring the curtain down on a decade-long career at City and a remarkable 22-year career in football.

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Steph Houghton will be eyeing a WSL title in her final game for City - Visionhaus/Getty Images/Visionhaus/Getty Images

02:15 PM BST

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02:11 PM BST

Sir Alex is at Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson has arrived at Old Trafford to watch this game.


02:06 PM BST

Atmosphere building at Villa Park

I’ve arrived at a sun baked Villa Park and it’s fair to say there are a lot of Manchester City fans here. In fact, there was much amusement when a woman in a wheelchair was wheeled through the fan zone and started chanting “you’re supposed to be at home” to a small group of slightly bemused home supporters.

There is an emotional farewell from Villa manager Carla award in the programme who said it was an incredibly hard decision to step down as manager after this game but said a “break was needed” and she needs to spend some time “being a mum.”


02:02 PM BST

WSL champions to be invited to No 10

We understand that whichever team wins the WSL title today will be invited for an audience at Number 10 Downing Street on Monday. Arrangements are being put in place for that congratulatory event regardless of whether it is Chelsea or Manchester City who lift the trophy today.


02:01 PM BST

How to watch WSL final day

All six of today’s fixtures kick off at 3pm, with the two most important fixtures given the highest TV billing. Aston Villa v Manchester City will be shown live on BBC Two, while fans can tune into Manchester United v Chelsea is on Sky Sports Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League. The other four fixtures will be available to watch on the FA Player.

Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion (FA Player)

Aston Villa v Manchester City (BBC Two)

Bristol City v Everton (FA Player)

Leicester City v Liverpool (FA Player)

Manchester United v Chelsea (Sky Sports)

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham (FA Player)


01:59 PM BST

Chelsea board out in force for Hayes’ farewell

Chelsea directors Behdad Egbhali and Jose Feliciano, co-founders of Clearlake Capital, will be amongst those watching here at Old Trafford today, according to Telegraph Sport sources, to represent the board. They’ll be here along with Chelsea’s sporting director Paul Winstanley, on what is clearly a huge day for the football club as they not only hope to clinch a fifth straight league title but also say an emotional goodbye to Emma Hayes after 12 years.


01:51 PM BST

Good afternoon!

..and welcome to our live blog of the final day of the Women’s Super League season. After months of twists and turns, it all comes down to this.

Can Chelsea seal a remarkable fifth straight title to give Emma Hayes the perfect send off in her final game in charge of the London club? Or can Manchester City lift their first league title since 2016?

The Blues have a two-goal advantage over City at the top of the table but face a stern test against newly crowned FA Cup winners Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Gareth Taylor’s side arguably have an easier fixture away at seventh-placed Aston Villa but face a daunting task of closing that goal difference gap if they are to steal Chelsea’s crown.

There’ll be added emotion as Hayes’ 12-year spell as Chelsea manager comes to an end this afternoon. Her departure will mark the end of an era not only at the Blues but also in English women’s football before she takes over the United States women’s team.

“Winning the title is absolutely huge, it shows what you have done over a consecutive season and the consistency you have played at and everything you have had to play through,” said Hayes.

“For City they haven’t won since 2016, but for Emma Hayes there is so much riding on it. She is wanting to win that title, they had four they could have won and it all comes down to this trophy for them.”

At the start of the month a dejected Hayes admitted the title race was “over” for her side when Chelsea dramatically lost to Liverpool, which left them six points adrift of City with two games in hand.

But their 5-0 thrashing of Bristol - coupled with City’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal and a scratchy win over Tottenham in the week - has propelled the Blues back to the summit.

City, meanwhile, will be desperate to right the wrongs of their defeat to the Gunners a fortnight ago and manager Gareth Taylor insisted his side were ready to put that disappointment behind them.

“The players have dusted themselves down really quickly,” he said. “There was a feeling of frustration, and probably anger, and that is perfectly fine and perfectly normal. Life gives you another chance on occasions and we know exactly what we have to do. The players are ready, the players are hungry. I can see the light in their eyes and they are ready for this game.”

We’ll be across all six fixtures on the final day of the season with regular updates from our women’s football reporter, Tom Garry, who will be in position at Old Trafford, while Luke Edwards, our northern football writer, has trekked it down to the midlands for Aston Villa v Manchester City.

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