- The biggest season in WSL history involved huge stars and thrilling games
- Chelsea overcame Manchester City in a thrilling final-day fight
- We spotlight their conquest with quotes, stats and trivia
The marquee signings arrived en masse. FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ winners Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, Alex Morgan and Christen Press (Abby Dahlkemper landed later too), as well as the great Pernille Harder and NWSL Challenge Cup MVP Rachel Daly, among innumerable others, headed to England for arguably the most anticipated league season in women’s football history.
It didn’t disappoint. Ultimately, Chelsea edged Manchester City in the title race, and Sam Kerr outstruck Vivianne Miedema in the Golden Boot race, on the final day. FIFA.com delivers reaction, trivia and stats on the Blues’ triumph.
“I know how much harder this is. In fact, it’s my favourite title because of the threats this year – the investment from City, Arsenal, Man United, Everton. For us to sustain our level just shows the quality of the group of players I’ve got.”
33 games unbeaten (26 wins, seven draws) was the WSL record run Chelsea set during 2020/21. It was ended by a shock 2-1 loss at home to Brighton. Manchester City had held the previous longest undefeated sequence at 31 matches.
The 5-0 win on Sunday saw Chelsea set a new record goal difference for a WSL season: +59. The previous benchmark was set by Arsenal: +57 in 2018/19.
Ann-Katrin Berger, Izzy Christiansen, Chloe Kelly, Katie McCabe, Mewis and Miedema had outstanding seasons, while Kerr was probably even better. It is, however, hard to overlook Kirby.
The 27-year-old contributed 16 goals and 11 assists, and proved the girl for the big occasion. Kirby was, indeed, superb in the victories over Manchester City (3-1), Arsenal (3-0) and Everton (3-0), and took her late winner against Manchester United (2-1) with aplomb. The partnership she formed with Kerr was also extrasensory.
To think that the England international has gone from contemplating retirement a year ago – the consequence of suffering from pericarditis, a heart disease – to producing the best campaign of her career is mind-blowing.
Did you know?
- Chelsea became the first to retain the WSL crown since Liverpool in 2014.
- Berger kept eight clean sheets in Chelsea’s last nine games to pip Manchester City’s Ellie Roebuck to the Golden Glove.
Kerr averaged a goal every 73 minutes in the 2020/21 WSL. The 27-year-old’s 21-goal haul astonishingly won her a sixth league top scorer award in the last four years (three NWSL, two W-League and one WSL).
The quadruple quest
Emma Hayes was Arsenal’s assistant manager when they became the first English club to complete a quadruple in 2007. A side featuring Alex Scott, Katie Chapman, Rachel Yankey, Karen Carney, Lianne Sanderson and Julie Fleeting overcame a Marta-spearheaded Umea in the final of the UEFA Women’s Cup (now the UEFA Women’s Champions League).
Hayes has now got Chelsea halfway towards becoming the second. They face Barcelona next Sunday in the Champions League final and take on Everton in the FA Cup fifth round four days later.