Chelsea crowned WSL champions after hammering Manchester United to give Emma Hayes perfect farewell

Emma Hayes’ side cruised to the WSL title on the final day (REUTERS)
Emma Hayes’ side cruised to the WSL title on the final day (REUTERS)

Emma Hayes was given the perfect send-off as Chelsea hammered Manchester United 6-0 to be emphatically crowned Women’s Super League champions.

A masterclass from Mayra Ramirez on the final day tore the hosts apart, two goals and two assists to the striker’s name before half-time, and it ensured Manchester City could do nothing against Aston Villa to spoil the Chelsea party, with the Blues winning the title on goal difference.

A fifth league title in a row for Chelsea is the seventh of Hayes’ tenure, coming just weeks after she had conceded defeat in the title race following her side’s defeat to Liverpool. The Blues bounced back from that setback by thrashing Bristol City 8-0, pouncing on City’s defeat to Arsenal to move back into pole position.

It did not always look likely that Hayes would get a 14th major trophy of her reign, after her side were beaten in the League Cup final by Arsenal and then knocked out of the FA Cup and Champions League at the semi-final stage by United and Barcelona, but the final chapter proved to be a triumphant one.

With Hayes leading the Blues for one last time before she takes charge of the United States national team, Chelsea made the trip to Old Trafford knowing the title race was likely to come down to a goal-scoring showdown, with City in second but level on points.

Chelsea’s goal-difference advantage was two heading into the final day - that had been doubled inside eight minutes. Ramirez headed home inside 90 seconds and then played Johanna Rytting Kaneryd clean through to beat Mary Earps, any sense of jeopardy swiftly extinguished.

The visitors were 4-0 up by half-time, Sjoeke Nusken left with a tap-in after Ramirez ran Millie Turner ragged, and the Colombian then bulldozed her way through the terrified defenders in stoppage-time to turn things really ugly for United, a week on from their FA Cup triumph at Wembley.

The rout did not take long to continue immediately after the break, Melanie Leupolz piling on the United misery as she added a fifth, seconds after Earps had made a superb save to deny Rytting Kaneryd.

Fran Kirby was introduced with 20 minutes to go for her final appearance for the club, on a day of farewells, and it was the Chelsea fans making all the noise at a stunned Old Trafford when she curled into the far corner for a fairytale conclusion.

City beat Aston Villa on the final day but that 2-1 victory was never going to be enough. What could have been an afternoon of nerves at Manchester turned into an occasion for celebration, both of another title and of the remarkable Hayes era.