The ups and downs of Hayes' final Chelsea season

Emma Hayes reacting during Chelsea's 8-0 win over Bristol City
Emma Hayes has been the manager of Chelsea since 2012 [Getty Images]

It has been far from plain sailing in Emma Hayes' final season in charge at Chelsea but she has finished it with a fifth successive Women's Super League title.

Hayes is stepping down after 12 years to become manager of the United States women's national team.

After her side thrashed Manchester United on the final day to win the trophy, BBC Sport looks back on the story of her final season, which has had plenty of ups and downs.

No quadruple but potential WSL success

Towards the end of March, there was talk of Chelsea winning the quadruple.

But their chances of picking up silverware halved in the space of 14 days following defeat in the Continental Cup final by Arsenal and a loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals.

They came close again in April when they took a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie with Barcelona, only to lose 2-1 on aggregate.

They did, however, ensure Hayes won't walk away empty-handed in her final season.

Chelsea led City by just two goals on goal difference going into the final day, but an emphatic 6-0 success at Old Trafford and City winning just 2-1 against Aston Villa, secured another league crown.

Her haul could have been greater, but she ends her spell at Chelsea having collected 14 major trophies.

Poems, touchline arguments and mind games

There has been more attention on Hayes than ever before following the announcement she was leaving, and her media conferences have sparked plenty of interest.

A controversial comment on player-player relationships appeared to upset some at Chelsea, including England defender Jess Carter - who liked tweets on social media criticising Hayes' use of the word "inappropriate" on the issue.

Hayes later said she "let herself down" with the comments.

In March, she claimed Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall showed "male aggression" during their Continental Cup final defeat, and appeared to shove him after full-time.

In response to questions over her behaviour towards Eidevall a few weeks later, she said "you cannot meet aggression with aggression".

There were also raised eyebrows when she made a premature claim "the title was done" following defeat by Liverpool at the start of the month - many believing it was mind games to tempt Manchester City into complacency.

City were beaten by Arsenal days later.

It has been a rollercoaster season both on and off the pitch and, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get in a Hayes media conference.

An old rivalry reignited in drama

Chelsea have had some big matches with Manchester City throughout Hayes' time at the club, often fighting each other for domestic honours.

This season has been no different with the two teams going head-to-head all the way to the wire, with one of them guaranteed to lift the WSL trophy on Saturday.

Their first meeting of the season was a dramatic 1-1 draw at Joie Stadium, where Chelsea scored a 96th-minute equaliser against a City side who had been reduced to nine players - Alex Greenwood's sending off for time wasting was particularly controversial.

City got their revenge at Kingsmeadow in February, ending Chelsea's 22-game unbeaten home run by winning 1-0 to move level on points at the top.

Hayes' departure will bring an end to her touchline rivalry with City boss Gareth Taylor.

The future - and Chelsea's academy

Aggie Beever-Jones celebrates scoring against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge
Aggie Beever-Jones has scored 11 goals and provided two assists in 15 WSL appearances this season [Getty Images]

One of the biggest positives of Hayes' final season is the success of Chelsea academy graduate Aggie Beever-Jones, who has now broken into the England squad.

Beever-Jones has been on a journey - going out on loan to Bristol City and Everton, before returning to her home club and becoming a regular in the first team.

She hit the ground running from the off and heads into the final day with 11 goals in 16 matches, having stepped up in the absence of injured strikers Sam Kerr and Mia Fishel.

Hayes often points to Beever-Jones and the success of Chelsea's academy as the real legacy she will leave behind, claiming her progress is "as good as a trophy".

Injuries striking at worst times

Competing on four fronts is always a challenge but Chelsea's quadruple hopes were dented when key players suffered injuries.

Captain Millie Bright missed more than five months of the season with a reoccurring knee injury, ruling her out of domestic cup action.

Summer signing Catarina Macario did not make her debut until March after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, while Kerr and Fishel suffered the same injury earlier this year.

Chelsea also missed world record signing Mayra Ramirez through injury in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final defeat by Barcelona.

The injuries struck frequently, testing Chelsea's squad depth, and eventually caught up with them.