mma Hayes hailed her “proudest” title triumph after Chelsea pipped Arsenal to the Women’s Super League crown by a point on a dramatic final day of the season.
Trailing 2-1 against Manchester United at half-time, Chelsea produced a brilliant second-half comeback to win 4-2 and seal a historic third straight title.
Arsenal won 2-0 at West Ham but had to settle for the runners-up spot. The lead at the top of the table changed hands five times over the course of a gripping 90 minutes, but two stunning goals from Sam Kerr helped secure a dramatic turnaround for Chelsea which dashed Arsenal’s dreams of a first title since 2019.
Hayes praised her side for their strength of character in dealing with injuries and illness to key players this season, as well as the ownership saga. “We are title winners because we won enough games for us to be at this place, but we did it from a difficult place,” said the Chelsea manager.
“In January, we were down to 13, 14 players through eight games. That was where the title was won. We have gone up against a better league and team in Arsenal, who to be fair have had minimal injuries this year. I have never known injuries like we have had this year. We had bare bones at some points.
“For that reason it is the proudest one, because it meant everybody stepped up, no one was a passenger.”
Chelsea are the first club to win the WSL three years in a row. They will look to complete the Double when they play Manchester City in the FA Cup Final on Sunday.
After missing out on the title, Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall said: “It feels very empty right now. One part of me is really proud of what we achieved, to take 55 points and really challenge for the title.
“I mean, we were pretty close to being unbeaten for the whole season (they lost just one League game). And another part just feels empty that we did not get to lift the trophy for all that hard work.”
Eidevall says Arsenal will “do everything” they can to keep star striker Vivianne Miedema, who is out of contract this summer and has been linked with a move to European champions Barcelona.
Miedema said: “I really want to win titles. This year I have not won anything. If I feel like the club is moving in that direction then maybe I will stay another year or two years.
“I am speaking with the club and Jonas. I will have a couple of weeks on holiday and will then make a decision.”