Team news and stats for the final round of the Women’s Super League, including title-chasers Chelsea against Manchester United, live on Sky Sports. Arsenal can also win the WSL on Sunday at West Ham if they better Chelsea’s result.
Hayes: I was born to win | Eidevall: Our focus is on us
Emma Hayes believes she was “born to win on behalf of Chelsea” with the Blues able to secure a fifth WSL title against Manchester United, live on Sky Sports Football.
Chelsea lead Arsenal, who travel to West Ham, by a point heading into the final round of fixtures on Sunday knowing a draw or even defeat would be enough to clinch a third consecutive title should the Gunners fail to win.
But Hayes has stressed the pressure is off in their quest to finish the job themselves by beating Man Utd for the club’s 11th major trophy during her reign.
“I’m from a council estate, pressure was putting money on the table to pay the bills as a child, this is not pressure,” said Hayes in her pre-match press conference.
“Look at the inflation, the rising costs for people to pay their bills. Football is far from pressure, this is a joy. I love my job. I enjoy the situation but more importantly I enjoy representing a club I absolutely adore.
“To be in a position where we can continue to win on behalf of Chelsea is something I think I was born for. There’s no pressure to the situation, there is just maybe a wiser, older coach that is enjoying it a little more perhaps than in the past.
“We take everything in small, daily chunks to build towards a game and I don’t think this game has any different impact on us to the week before or the week prior to that because we’ve had to win every game.
“It’s easy for us in our mindset to know we have to do that but you have to build towards it. You have to train properly, recover properly, prepare your mindset and all of that energy to be spent on game day. I think our squad do really well in managing that.”
Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall, who signed a new contract to keep him at Arsenal until the end of the 2023-24 season, is only focusing on what his side will do.
He said: “I feel the players are very focused on how we are playing and they have been that all the way since the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Our focus is on us to perform against West Ham and that’s the only thing we can control.
“We know there are some scenarios that could be of interest to us knowing the result then we’ll make sure the information gets to us on the bench.”
Eidevall also admitted he will be a Man Utd fan for the day. “I really hope Man Utd can win, I would be lying saying anything else,” he said. “I really hope Man Utd can finish off in the style their season deserves. I think they’ve been a really top team and proved difficult to many teams, I hope they can prove that one final time this season.
“It’s always the problem in football that if we win against West Ham and never found out the result in the Chelsea game, how would we value the season? Would it be a success or failure?
“Whatever happens in the Chelsea match it doesn’t change how we have played this year. The only thing that changes it is what we do against West Ham.
“West Ham will be a tough opponent. They will press us high, give us little time on the ball and we need to be mentally ready for that.”
WSL final day team news
- Chelsea will wave goodbye to Ji So-Yun and Drew Spence after this game, with both players already confirming they will leave the club. Marc Skinner has a full Manchester United squad to choose from, barring long-term absentees Aoife Mannion and Millie Turner.
- Arsenal have no concerns about Lia Walti’s fitness after the Gunners star was hurt in the midweek win over Tottenham. Jordan Nobbs is a long-term absentee with a knee injury. For West Ham, Maisy Barker will definitely miss the clash but Gilly Flaherty, Anna Leat and Lucy Parker are all doubts.
Chelsea’s Kerr: Tense final day both nervous and exciting
Even the best players in the world get nervous for big games, as Chelsea’s Sam Kerr admits she is feeling slightly tense about this weekend’s WSL final day title showdown.
“I think it’s a bit of both [nervous and exciting],” she exclusively told Sky Sports after collecting her Football Writers’ Association trophy. “I’ve been nervous all week before I care so much and want to win so much. We’re Chelsea – we wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’d much rather be in our position than anyone else’s with it being in our hands. And at the same time, this was the same title race last year with Man City, we’re used to this so this is not new and we’re going to enjoy it.”
Even though this weekend is very different to all the other matchdays, Kerr – who has 23 goals in 25 games this season – will still rely on her usual matchday routine to get here through.
“I’m very superstitious!’ the 28-year-old adds. “I normally don’t come to an awards night on the Thursday [before a game]!
“I just like to have the same meal the night before, spaghetti bolognese, and in the morning lots of coffee. And then just relax, chill. I’ve been wearing the same boots that are just well past their wear and people have been saying my boots are dirty! But we’re winning so there’s no way I’m throwing those boots out.
“I have a pair of socks that are my lucky socks but they broke but I’ve still been carrying them around in my bag – just weird stuff that footballers do.”
Arsenal’s Williamson won’t be checking Chelsea score
Leah Williamson insists she does not want to be kept updated with the Chelsea score during Arsenal’s Women’s Super League clash at West Ham as the title race reaches a crescendo on Sunday.
With drama likely across the capital, fans at both games will be expectedly checking their phones and listening out for updates from the matches involving their title rivals.
But Williamson has no interest in what Emma Hayes’ side produce at Kingsmeadow, with the England captain focused solely on carrying out the job at hand.
Asked if she wants to be kept abreast of the Chelsea game, she replied: “No, it doesn’t change anything. We have to win, we have to win our game. Same as we have the last two.
“I don’t really like getting involved in it personally anyway, but if it changed and we have to get goals then that’s different, but we just need to win that game of football.
“We as a team haven’t spoken about it a lot. I know obviously everybody’s talking about the title race, but it’s not really something that we talk about.
“I turn my phone on at the end of the games to see what happens and obviously you’re hoping for a result but, call it superstition, I just wouldn’t get involved.
“If it mattered what we did it would be different, but we have to win our games and I hope the rest of the girls are on the same wavelength and I know they will be because there’s another three points, that’s what we need.”
Opta stats – Chelsea vs Manchester United
- Chelsea are unbeaten in all four FA Women’s Super League encounters with Manchester United (W3 D1), winning 6-1 earlier this campaign at Leigh Sports Village.
- Chelsea have won their final FA WSL match in the last six seasons (excl. 2019-20), scoring at least two goals in each victory, ending last season with a 5-0 win over Reading.
- Man Utd are winless in five away FA WSL matches in London (D3 L2) since a 4-2 victory over West Ham United back in October 2020 under Casey Stoney.
- Chelsea have conceded just two home goals in 10 games in the FA WSL this season – no side has ever conceded fewer than two at home in a single campaign, while the last side to concede two overall were Man City in 2016 (2 in 8 games, excludes the 2017 Spring Series).
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last seven FA Women’s Super League games (W5 D2), their best run in the competition since going 14 without defeat between January and December 2020 under Casey Stoney.
Opta stats – West Ham vs Arsenal
- West Ham United have lost all six of their FA Women’s Super League matches against Arsenal, scoring just seven goals while conceding 25 times. The Hammers have only lost more against Chelsea (7).
- Arsenal have kept seven away FA WSL clean sheets this season – only Chelsea in 2020-21 have ever kept more on the road in a single season (8).
- West Ham have won just one of their 20 FA Women’s Super League London derbies (D3 L16), a 1-0 home win over Spurs in November 2021. The Hammers have lost more London derbies in the competition than any other side (16).
- Beth Mead has scored in her last three away FA Women’s Super League appearances, with Vivianne Miedema the last player to score in four in a row on the road for Arsenal in April 2021. Mead hasn’t scored in four consecutive away appearances since netting in her first four for Sunderland in 2015.
- West Ham have failed to score in three of their last four FA Women’s Super League games, losing all three when failing to find the net. Prior to this run, they had only failed to score in three of their previous 16 games in the competition.
All Women’s Super League final day kick-offs begin at 12pm.
Aston Villa vs Birmingham
Aston Villa could be without a whole host of stars for this derby, with Remi Allen and Anna Patten confirmed to be missing this Sunday. Ruesha Littlejohn, Jill Scott and Chloe Arthur are all major doubts as well.
This will also be Anita Asante’s final match in professional football before retiring from the game in the summer.
Birmingham could welcome back Lucy Quinn into the starting line-up, with Lucy Whipp and Cecile Sandvej also pushing for a starting spot.
- There has never been a home win in the three previous FA WSL meetings between Aston Villa and Birmingham – the two wins in this fixture were both 1-0 away from home (Birmingham in November 2020, Villa in November 2021).
- Aston Villa have won just two of their 21 home FA Women’s Super League matches (9.5%) – in WSL history, only Yeovil Town have won a lower percentage of their games on home soil (4%, 1/24).
- Birmingham have won their final FA WSL match of the season when it’s fallen away from home in three of the last four seasons, winning 3-0 at Doncaster Belles in 2013, 7-1 at Sunderland in 2016 and 2-0 at Yeovil Town in 2018-19. The other was a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in 2015.
- Aston Villa have scored just 28 goals in 43 FA WSL matches, an average of 0.65 per game. In WSL history, only Yeovil Town (0.41, 19 goals in 46 games) have a lower goals-per-game ratio than Villa.
- Since the start of 2019-20, Birmingham City (40) have lost more games in the FA WSL than any other side (including the fixture awarded to Spurs in January 2021).
Brighton vs Everton
Team news: Brighton have no injury concerns going into the final WSL game of the season, meaning Fliss Gibbons will continue her step up from injury after appearing against Manchester City last time out.
For Everton, Danielle Turner could get a final day start after scoring against Tottenham last week. Kenza Dali and Claire Emslie are also pushing for Toffees starts this Sunday.
- Following their 1-0 victory over Everton earlier this season, Brighton are looking to complete an FA Women’s Super League double over the Toffees for the first time.
- Everton have lost their final league match of the season in their last five FA WSL seasons (excl. 2019-20), losing to Arsenal (2013 and 2014), Man City (2017-18), Liverpool (2018-19) and Man Utd (2020-21).
- Since winning 4-0 and 5-0 against Birmingham and Brighton respectively in March 2021, Everton have scored just six goals in 12 away FA WSL matches, failing to score on eight occasions in this run.
- Brighton’s Inessa Kaagman – who scored five goals in 31 FA WSL games for Everton between 2018 and 2020 – has scored 12 league goals for Brighton since the start of last season, at least five more than any other player.
- Everton scored twice in the final six minutes of their 2-2 draw with Spurs in their last league game – the Toffees have scored 41% of their FA WSL goals this season in the last 15 minutes of matches (7/17), the highest percentage of any side.
Reading vs Man City
Team news: Reading will be without Emma Harries who picked up a serious knee injury while on international duty in April. Meanwhile, Tash Harding is expected to feature having announced she will be leaving the Royals at the end of the season.
Manchester City have Steph Houghton and Esme Morgan sidelined until the summer but Vicky Losada and Jess Park, who missed out last time to Birmingham, could return to the fold in time for the season finale.
- Reading have only won one of their 11 FA Women’s Super League games against Manchester City (D2 L8), a 2-0 away win in April 2018.
- Manchester City have never lost an away FA WSL match against Reading in six previous visits (W5 D1) – in WSL history, only Arsenal away at Bristol City and Arsenal away at Liverpool (nine games each) have faced an opponent more often on the road without losing.
- Only Birmingham (13) have conceded more league goals from corners in the WSL this season than Reading (7), whilst only Man Utd (11) have netted more such times than Manchester City (9) in the top-flight in 2021-22.
- Manchester City’s Chloe Kelly has scored six FA WSL goals against Reading, more than she has against any other side. Only Fran Kirby (7) and Vivianne Miedema (12) have more goals versus Reading in WSL history.
- Deanne Rose has had a direct hand in seven of Reading’s 21 league goals this season (4 goals, 3 assists) – the most of any Royals player – whilst only Fara Williams in 2017-18 (12) managed more in their debut top-flight campaign for the Royals.
Tottenham vs Leicester
- Spurs have lost their last three FA Women’s Super League home matches, never losing four in a row in the competition on home soil.
- Leicester City have never kept an away FA WSL clean sheet in 10 attempts – they are the only side to play in the WSL and never keep a clean sheet on the road.
- Only Everton (7.8%) have a lower shot conversion rate than Leicester (8%) in the FA Women’s Super League this season, having netted just 14 goals from their 175 total attempts. Indeed, only Aston Villa (13) have scored fewer goals than the Foxes (14) this term.
- Rachel Williams is Spurs’ top scorer in the FA Women’s Super League this season (4 goals), however she is still looking for her first goal in the competition since the turn of the year, having gone 12 appearances without finding the net (in December v Aston Villa).
- Leicester striker Shannon O’Brien has conceded 39 fouls in the FA WSL this season – only Daniëlle van de Donk in 2016-17 (51) has ever made more in a single campaign in the competition.
Here’s how to follow the WSL on Sky Sports…
Sky Sports – All 35 games will be available across Sky Sports’ flagship channels, including Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.
Sky Sports digital – Follow all the latest from the WSL across skysports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports. You can watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel.
Sky Sports News – Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week Barclays FA WSL fans can enjoy Sky Sports News (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the league and its storylines throughout the season.
Inside the WSL – Hosted by award-winning broadcaster and journalist Jessica Creighton, Inside the WSL is a comprehensive round-up of all things Barclays FA Women’s Super League and women’s football. Airing weekly from Thursday, September 9 on Sky Sports Premier League, the half an hour show will review and preview matches, include in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews. Viewers can expect gripping behind-the-scenes access as well as a summary of all the action both on and off the pitch.
Sky Sports Social – Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, a new bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
To add all the Barclays FA WSL fixtures to your calendar click here.
Source : Sky Sports