Salem Radio Network News Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sports

Soccer-Chelsea champions again, but chasing WSL pack hot on their heels

LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea showed their class to secure their third consecutive Women’s Super League title on Sunday, but it could have been a different story if Arsenal hadn’t suffered a winter wobble that effectively derailed their challenge.

Chelsea collected 56 points from 22 league games, one more than a Gunners side who struggled when the league resumed in January after the Christmas break, suffering a shock 2-0 defeat by Birmingham City and drawing three of their next four games.

That poor run opened the door for Chelsea, who had lost 3-2 to Arsenal on opening day of the season, and they didn’t need a second invitation, winning 11 of their last 13 games to top the standings.

Coach Emma Hayes has created one of the most formidable squads the English game has ever seen, bristling with attacking firepower in Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder and Guro Reiten and anchored by rock-sold defenders such as Magda Eriksson and Millie Bright.

Arsenal are working hard to catch up and with the addition of Swede Stina Blackstenius, one of the most sought-after strikers in the game, during the January transfer window, they look equipped to close the gap.

With crowds having returned following the COVID-19 pandemic and a new TV deal beaming games into the homes of fans, the WSL has enjoyed a hugely successful season, despite the English clubs not making much of a mark on the Champions League.

Arsenal will be keen to go one better next season, and with Manchester City and Manchester United both showing signs of significant progress and Liverpool promoted to the top flight, next season could be even better.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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