With the 2021/2022 Barclays WSL season done, Chelsea Women is crowned champion for the third time consecutively. However, many might argue that the 2019/2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic and lockdown. However, they could have done it naturally if the season had been completed, as they were unbeaten with seven games to go.
This season’s run was quite the opposite of last season’s win when they went on to win the league with a little less hassle. They had to work their way up, and thanks to consistently pushing and resilience from the Blues, they usurped the lead from Arsenal towards the end of the season. Like many horse racing stories when you stake on Preakness Stakes odds.
The season didn’t start on a very good note for the Blues as they lost to London rivals Arsenal in the opening match, and another draw to them saw Chelsea into a bit of a rut. However, they kept their heads up and waded the storm until they could catch up with Arsenal after slipping to a few draws.
Chelsea’s run to win their third title in three seasons might not have been pretty, but it sure was a spectacle. Join us as we look into the team’s road to their fourth Barclays WSL title.
Losses, Draws, and Arsenal
This season, Chelsea lost only two games and drew two games. The first came against Arsenal in the season’s opening match, which saw the Gunners take an early lead in the title charge. Before the first half of the season was done, Chelsea lost in a shocking style to one of the mid-table teams.
The team was the favorite to win, but the Reading defense was strong enough to hold off the Chelsea strike force. The game’s only goal came in the 4th minute from the youngster Deanne Rose, and that was enough to see off the champions. That loss made the title race even harder. As a result, Chelsea needed a miracle to come back.
Emma Hayes, the Genius
Chelsea could only hope for a change if they wanted to topple Arsenal from the top position based on the losses and points they’ve dropped. However, thanks to Emma Hayes’s genius, the team remained compact, and the battle was far from over. We saw a rejuvenated Chelsea team that would take the season back.
With a few tactical and personnel changes, Chelsea went on multiple winning streaks, and in the end, they were back in the title race. After a while, they could see a chance for them to win the league. The team kept their shape and continued working and waiting for Arsenal to slip up, showing Emma Hayes’s tactical genius.
Legendary Strike Force
Many fans would agree that the team’s strike force has also been incredible, aside from the Coach’s genius. We’ve seen them offer so much going forward. They have Samantha Kerr in their ranks, the current golden boot winner. She alone scored 26 goals this season. As a result, her all-time goals career is incredible.
Following Sam is Bethany England. Even though she had some off-form performances this season, She has contributed greatly to the team. England has 12 goals this season, followed by Pernille Harder with 11 goals. Aside from the strikers, Guro Reiten has also contributed to the goalscoring department. She’s the team’s 4th highest goalscorer with 10 goals.
Altogether this season, the team scored 62 goals, making them the second-highest, most scoring team. One of the top contributors was the 10 goals scored against Manchester United.
Incredible Defense and the Berger Wall
Aside from the attacking force, the defense also did their jobs perfectly. They were compact and stood tall throughout the season. It wasn’t easy, given that most of the teams had improved in how they played. Therefore, it was easy for the team to keep going throughout the season.
After 22 games, the team only conceded 11 goals, with four of them coming from Arsenal and three from Manchester United. As a result, they only conceded four goals in 18 matches, which is undoubtedly a major feat for the team. The only team with a better stat in that department is Arsenal, who only conceded 10 goals in 22 games.
Another major contributor to Chelsea’s victory was Arsenal, who, after getting a headstart, went ahead to draw four games and lose one. One of the draws came against Chelsea in a controversial London Derby. However, we can say that Arsenal’s woes contributed to them losing the league.
All Down to the Last Game
Chelsea was in the driving seat with Arsenal falling behind and dropping points. The back-to-back wins against Tottenham sent Chelsea to the top of the pile, and Arsenal was back peddling and hoping for a slip-up. It seemed like it would come, but a 71st-minute penalty by Harder gave the Blues the lifeline, and the title race was open to the last game.
Chelsea faced a battered Manchester United seeking revenge and hoping for a place in the UEFA Women Champions League. But that was not meant to be, even after United went into the break with a 2-1 lead. The game ended in 4-2, making Chelsea back-to-back-to-back champions in the 2021/2022 Barclays WSL tournament.
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