Chelsea win fifth straight title as Hayes signs off in style

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Chelsea wrapped up a sensational fifth successive Women’s Super League title by thrashing Manchester United at Old Trafford in Emma Hayes’ final game in charge.
The Blues, who led rivals Manchester City by goal difference at the top of the table heading into the final day, knew a big scoreline was potentially needed to win the title.
And with so much at stake Chelsea’s players delivered with a ruthlessness that United could never match at Old Trafford.

British record signing Mayra Ramirez produced an outstanding individual display, scoring twice and assisting the other two as Hayes’ side went in at the break with a 4-0 lead.
Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Sjoeke Nusken, Melanie Leupolz and Fran Kirby added to Ramirez’s dazzling double as Chelsea romped to victory.
It was the perfect farewell for Hayes, who was full of emotion on a remarkable afternoon in Manchester, capping off a 12-year career at the Blues in style.
United legend Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Dave Brailsford, the representative of new minority owners Ineos, were in the director’s box watching on as United barely laid a glove on the champions.
Aside from Maya Le Tissier’s header which bounced off the crossbar with United already trailing 2-0, and a terrible miss from close range by Lucia Garcia late on, Marc Skinner’s side failed to create much to trouble Chelsea.
Hayes, who leaves to manage the United States women’s national team, bowed out to the familiar sound of 3,000 travelling fans chanting “Chelsea, champions” and with a 14th major trophy at the club.
Hayes departs in glory as Chelsea party in Manchester
Image caption: Emma Hayes has won 14 major trophies with Chelsea during her 12-year spell
It was a rare sunny day in Manchester but there was nothing out of the ordinary from Chelsea – they were ruthless, clinical and ended the day as winners yet again.
But this was a special day for the Blues as they not only produced the goods on the pitch, but partied in style in the stands throughout.
Ramirez’s stunning display set the tone as she dribbled past defenders, shrugged off others and entertained throughout, delivering for the fans who had travelled up from London on Saturday morning.
“Emma, what’s the score,” supporters chanted and she turned to put up her hand, showing five, as the game continued in the background, seemingly passing by without people noticing.
There was also a cameo for departing England international Kirby, who came on as a substitute for the final 20 minutes and was able to soak in the success she has played such a key part in throughout her Blues career.
On the day, the damage was done early. Chelsea came out of the blocks firing as Ramirez nodded in Guro Reiten’s curling cross for the opener.
Ramirez turned provided minutes later for Kaneryd, who dinked it coolly over goalkeeper Mary Earps before Nusken was again set up by the Colombian striker.
The second goal from Ramirez was a special one as she burst through two defenders in the United box and nonchalantly fired it into the far corner.
And before United could even settle in the second half, Leupolz had made it 5-0 to Chelsea, poking into an empty net after a defensive horror show.
Kirby capped off a hugely successful spell at the club with a goal late on and was swarmed by her teammates immediately afterwards while taking in the adulation of Chelsea’s fans.
It was a poor ending to a week where Manchester United celebrated winning their first women’s major trophy, beating Tottenham at Wembley to lift the Women’s FA Cup, days before manager Skinner signed a new contract extension.
Skinner said after the game his side are “not where we want to be”, but thinks his players are closer to Chelsea’s than the scoreline suggested.
“I don’t think it reflects the gap,” he added. “I think it reflects the gap in the game. The counter-attacks were aggressive and physical and we knew they would happen.
“Apart from that, I don’t think we’re 6-0 away from Chelsea at all, but we do need to continue to develop the depth of our squad in order to compete. Sometimes you have to be realistic. There is a gap for sure, we have to try and bridge it over the summer.”
This performance only emphasised the gap between the WSL’s elite and United this season – and the level Hayes’ side have set for those chasing in England.
This is the legacy she leaves behind.

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