Everton have announced that Toni Duggan will leave the club when her contract expires at the end of this month.

The forward is departing after her second spell at the club, having started her career at Everton in 2007-08 before rejoining in July 2021.

She appeared in all but one of Everton's matches during her return season but missed the entirety of the second after going on maternity leave, but returned to action last October.

The 32-year-old initially broke into the first team at 16 years old and scored an extra-time winner against Watford to send Everton into the Premier League Cup final.

In her first spell, she was named FA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2009 and went on to lift the FA Women's Cup the following year.

Duggan played 92 games for the Toffees over her two spells, scoring 29 goals.

Alan McTavish, Everton Women's Chief Executive Officer, said: "Everyone at Everton thanks Toni for her service and commitment to the club.

"From breaking into the senior team as a 16-year-old to winning the FA Cup, she can be very proud of her contribution to Everton.

"We wish Toni all the best for the future."

Duggan has also played for Manchester City, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid while earning 79 England caps to date.

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr has signed a new two-year deal until 2026, the club announced on Thursday.

Kerr, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the Women's Super League season, has scored 99 goals in 128 matches since joining from Chicago Red Stars in 2019.

The 30-year-old has played a huge role in the success of Emma Hayes' side in recent years, winning five consecutive league titles along with three FA Cups, two League Cups and the Community Shield. 

During the 2022-23 campaign, Kerr scored 29 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, making her 100th appearance for the Blues in the process. 

The striker has not played since January because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury and has been ruled out of the Australia squad for this summer's Olympics in Paris.

"It’s really exciting and a very proud moment for me," Kerr said after putting pen to paper on her new deal. "Having the opportunity to stay at a club like Chelsea means a lot to me. I’m really excited to continue to push and to try to win trophies."

Since arriving in England, Kerr has claimed the Golden Boot twice and was runner-up to Spain's Aitana Bonmati at the Ballon d'Or awards last year.

Kerr would also become the first player to be awarded the Football Writers’ Association Women’s Footballer of the Year prize twice in a row. 

Arsenal have confirmed that Victoria Pelova has sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury while on international duty with the Netherlands. 

The 25-year-old, who scored two goals and provided seven assists during the 2023–24 Women's Super League campaign for the Gunners, is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days, but it is not the first time an Arsenal player has suffered an injury of this nature. 

England pair Beth Mead and Leah Williamson were forced to miss the 2023 Women's World Cup, with Pelova's compatriot Vivianne Miedema also missing out on the tournament in Australia because of the same issue. 

In a statement, Arsenal said: "Victoria was substituted after her knee extended in the 12th minute of the Netherlands' UEFA Women's Championship qualifier in Tampere, Finland, and subsequently underwent testing to determine the extent of the injury.

"She will undergo surgery in due course and will be sidelined for an extended period."

Pelova was one of the Gunners' most influential players during their third-place finish in the WSL, creating 30 chances from her 22 appearances, the third-highest in the squad behind Mead and Katie McCabe, as Arsenal finished third, while also winning the Women's League Cup. 

ACL injuries have become a major problem for the women’s game and in April a new three-year project researching them was launched.

Sonia Bompastor has been appointed as Chelsea Women's new head coach, replacing Emma Hayes at Stamford Bridge.

Hayes oversaw a fifth straight Women's Super League title for the Blues this season but departed to take up a role with the United States Women's national side.

Bompastor was expected to come in as the replacement for Hayes, with the announcement confirmed on Wednesday as Chelsea managed to strike a compensation deal with Lyon Women.

The 43-year-old, who has signed a four-year deal with Chelsea, leaves the French side after a successful three years in charge, winning three league tiles and the Women's Champions League in 2022.

"The sporting directors and I conducted a thorough and considered recruitment process to identify Emma’s successor," Chelsea's general manager Paul Green said of the appointment.

"Sonia's vision, coaching philosophy and winning mentality made her the outstanding candidate.

"She is a world-class coach with a proven track record of success on the biggest stages that will instantly command respect from the dressing room."

Bompastor won seven trophies during her time with French heavyweights Lyon but lost the Champions League final last Saturday against Barcelona.

She was capped 156 times by the French national team before retiring in 2013, and subsequently becoming the first woman to win the Champions League as a player and coach after her success with Lyon.

Assistants Camille Abily and Theo Rivrin will join Bompastor as Chelsea prepare for a new era without Hayes, who departs the Blues after a 12-year spell that yielded 14 major domestic titles. 

Leah Williamson has put pen to paper on a new deal at Arsenal, extending her 19-year stay with the Gunners.

The England defender, who was eight years old when she had her first trial at the club, has agreed fresh terms with the Women's Super League side.

Williamson returned to action in February following a lengthy lay-off with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which forced her to miss the Lionesses' run to the 2023 Women's World Cup final.

The 27-year-old, who skippered England to Euro 2022 glory, has made 232 appearances for Arsenal, winning the Women's Super League as well as the FA Cup and League Cup on two occasions.

"Everyone knows what Arsenal means to me, but I think every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again," she told the club's official website.

"I'm very happy to be staying. This is a place where I can still continue to grow, develop and be challenged. As a group, we're all very focused on bringing more silverware to this club and I can't wait to get started again when the new season comes around."

"Leah is an essential part of our team, so we're delighted she has signed a new contract with us," Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall added. "She brings us so much on and off the pitch - leadership, accountability and commitment.

"Leah has a special bond with Arsenal, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work together to bring more success to this great club."

Clare Wheatley, the club's director of women's football, said: "Leah's connection with Arsenal runs so deep. I can remember her as a girl in our academy many years ago, and I'm so proud of the determined, passionate woman she has become.

"We're thrilled that Leah has signed a new deal here, and I know our supporters will join me in congratulating her today."

The 2023-24 season was one of the best to date for the Women's Super League since its inception.

The drama of the title race going down to the final day; all three domestic trophies being won by different sides and record attendances across the league - fans have been filling stadiums and proving women’s football has an exciting future.

Chelsea went into the season as defending champions of the WSL and FA Cup, and looking to make history by securing a fifth consecutive league title. Emma Hayes and her team have dominated over the last ten years and this season looked set to be no different. 

The Blues got there in the end, but it wasn't easy...

The Hayes dynasty and the end of an era

A shock reverberated around the women's game in November when Hayes announced that, after 11 years in charge, she would be leaving Chelsea to join the US Women’s National Team as coach.

Hayes is the most decorated manager in Chelsea's history, and transformed them into serial winners domestically. She departs the WSL as the manager with the most games (212), most wins (151) and the fourth-best win rate (71.2 per cent - minimum 50 games managed).

Her legacy will be more than just the 16 trophies she won, including the WSL title this term.

The growth of women's football during Hayers' tenure has been meteoric, and she could have only dreamed of the farewell she received as, at one of England’s most iconic football stadia in Old Trafford, Chelsea thrashed Manchester United 6-0 to seal their fifth straight WSL crown.

Millie Bright, Chelsea's captain, had labelled the team as "mentality monsters", and that was certainly a fitting tag, as the champions scored four first-half goals to dash any lingering hopes Man City had of winning the title.

Hayes' final triumph came despite star striker Sam Kerr suffering an ACL injury in January, though Colombia forward Mayra Ramirez arrived from Levante for a British record transfer fee of £384,000 plus a further £42,000 in potential add-ons.

Ramirez proved her worth, grabbing two goals in a first half in which she was unplayable and a delight to watch. Fran Kirby, meanwhile, came on to score on her final WSL appearance for Chelsea, and leaves the Blues as their all-time leading goal scorer (63) and assister (33) in the competition.

City only managed a 2-1 win away to Aston Villa, meaning the WSL title was settled on goal difference for just the second time after Liverpool finished ahead of Chelsea in the 2014 season, with the Blues goal difference of +53 this campaign the fourth best in the competition’s history.

The champions also scored the most goals by a team in a single WSL season (71).

Hayes reflected on her special time at the club in her first interview as the USWNT boss.

Speaking to the USWNT media channel, she said: "I am proud of the fact that I could leave that club in a better place and one that I hope continues to compete. But for me, the challenge of competing for World Cups, for the Olympics, and the dream of coaching a team that I have always wanted to get the opportunity to do. I simply couldn't turn it down."

So close, yet so far, for City

City once again came so close to bursting Chelsea’s bubble and spoiling Hayes’ party. However, after it being in their own hands, a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the penultimate match gave the advantage back to Chelsea.

Gareth Taylor's team City became the first team in WSL history to win 10 away games in a single season, with their only failure to win on the road coming at Arsenal in November.

City missed plenty of chances in that game, and their bad luck in front of goal correlated with the injury to Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw against West Ham.

Shaw missed the final three league games, having become the first player in WSL history to record a goal or assist in 10 consecutive appearances (15 goals, one assist).

The Jamaican was prolific for City, scoring 21 times in 18 appearances, securing the Golden Boot award. Shaw was also named Football Writers Award Footballer of the Year and the WSL Player of the Year. She even became the second-quickest player to score 50 WSL goals, behind only Vivianne Miedema. Kerr is the only other player to have netted 20+ goals in back-to-back seasons, meanwhile.

Yet City still fell short of what would have been their first title since 2016. They have now been runners-up six times (five times to Chelsea), four more than any other side. 

Glory glory Man Utd

Despite the end-of-season drubbing for United, the previous weekend had seen Marc Skinner and his side create history of their own, this time in the FA Cup. For the first time in 11 years, the trophy was not lifted by Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City, proving the true development around the league.

United were featuring in the FA Cup final for the second consecutive year, having not reached this stage before 2023, and headed into the tie against Tottenham as favourites. They lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2022-23 final and did not want history to repeat itself.

They duly banished last year's demons in front of a packed Wembley, with an emphatic 4-0 win.

Ella Toone's eye-catching strike in the first half set the tone before a goal for Rachel Williams and Lucia Garcia's double added gloss to a convincing scoreline, despite Beth England hitting the crossbar for Spurs.

United became the 18th different winner of the women’s FA Cup. 

Gunners have their say

Arsenal pushed Man City and Chelsea all the way this season and although in the remaining few weeks they struggled to keep pace, they did have their say on both their rivals’ seasons endings.

The title race was effectively lost for Man City after they lost 2-1 in the dying minutes of their clash with Arsenal.

Similarly, the Gunners also got the better of Chelsea with a last-minute winner in the League Cup final, with Arsenal having won that trophy in successive seasons.

Striker Stina Blackstenius scored on both occasions, netting three important goals to secure silverware for Arsenal, frustrating Chelsea and ultimately ensuring City went empty-handed for another season. The Swede has 43 goals in 83 appearances for the Gunners and these big moments helped secure her a new contract.

So long, but maybe not farewell

The WSL has had some legends grace it over the years. World Cup winners and European champions have rocked up in the competition and it has become arguably one of the most sought-after leagues to play in.

But Hayes' was not the only shock departure.

Arsenal striker and the WSL's all-time leading goalscorer Miedema announced she would be leaving the Gunners at the end of her contract on a free transfer. With 125 goals and 50 assists for the Gunners over a seven-year period, the Dutch European Championship winner is bowing out a legend.

She has been out for most of the season, recovering from an ACL injury, but it's a shock to see such a talent allowed to leave. 

Many clubs in the WSL and around the world will relish the chance to have Miedema, who is only 27, pull on their shirt next season.

This season has been one of fond farewells, great goals, and record attendances. Next season promises to be continue the trend.

Mary Earps will seek answers from Manchester United regarding the club's direction before making a decision on her future, saying she has felt like a "punching bag" this season.

Earps' contract with the Women's FA Cup winners is set to expire in June, and there have been few signs of progress concerning a new deal.

Last year, United rejected a world-record bid for Earps, who starred as England won Euro 2022 and finished as runners-up at the 2023 World Cup.

Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs have been linked with Earps, and she is biding her time after enduring a difficult campaign in which her commitment to United was called into question.

"The honest reality is that conversations are still ongoing," Earps told Sky Sports on Tuesday. "I've been clear I don't want to make an emotional decision.

"The beginning of the season was really tough, I felt really upset about things that were being said about me and things that came out that weren't true.

"I've tried to be professional, keep my head down, work hard, get on with my job and that's been hard. I've been a punching bag at times.

"I know I've given my heart and soul for the whole season. It's a tough situation.

"I've asked the club for some confirmation on what they're trying to achieve and when I have those answers I'll be able to make a decision. It's up to the club."

Emma Hayes says this Women’s Super League title is the "toughest but sweetest" after being pushed all the way by Manchester City.

Hayes announced earlier this season that this would be her last in charge of the Blues and had written off their chances of lifting the trophy after a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at the start of May.

However, an 8-0 victory over Bristol City followed by a 1-0 win from their game in hand over Tottenham put their fate back in their own hands going into the final day.

In the end, Chelsea won the WSL on goal difference, with another heavy 6-0 win adding to their advantage over City to help them to a fifth consecutive title.

Hayes took time after the match to reflect not only on the game but also on her 12-year stay at Chelsea.

"What a wonderful performance from the team today," she told Sky Sports. "I picked a team of leaders from the beginning, and I felt it was absolutely essential we had the emotional maturity and regulation for a stadium as fitting as this.

"We've lost a lot of players today so to have some of them back today, it was just an amazing performance.

"I can't say it's my most enjoyable [title] but it's definitely been the toughest, without doubt, and for that reason, probably the sweetest. I'm just so relieved it's over.

"I just haven't got any more to give, I know that. The hardest thing to do is five in a row, because people take their eye off the ball. My legacy is winning while building a team for the future.

"Everyone said girls can't play, nor can they fill stadiums, nor can they get paid, nor can they create history.

"Not only are we not going away, but we are going to fill them every week. Women's football now is a serious business and that for me, is what it's about."

Captain Millie Bright missed six months of the season due to a knee injury, but returned in April to help Chelsea during an important run-in.

"It was pretty special but when half the country writes you off... we've got the monster mentality, we've shown it season after season," she said after the game.

"We were given a second chance. They don't often, but you have to take them, and we did. We beat Bristol City, beat Tottenham, and we've come here and put on a five-star performance to take this title.

"It's extra special to get it for Emma [Hayes] and the players who are leaving us.

"That's our standards, we shouldn't be underestimated to make this sort of comeback because we're defending champions.

"It's been an emotional season for Emma especially. We picked her up [after the loss at Liverpool] like she does for us every day."

As expected, Jamaica and Manchester City forward Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw won the Barclays Women's Super League (WSL) Golden Boot award by a distance, becoming the first player from the club to win the prize in their 10 years in the top flight.

The award marks a clean sweep of individual prizes for Shaw, who also won the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Player of the Year award and the Women's Super League Player of the Year award in recent weeks.

Shaw’s tally of 21 goals ensured that she finished eight goals clear of Chelsea's Lauren James and Brighton’s Elisabeth Terland, who both ended with 13 goals apiece.

The 27-year-old Shaw averaged a goal every 66 minutes in the league this season, accounting for over a third of the City's total league goals. During her impressive exploits, the Jamaican also became the Club’s record goalscorer in the process, when she found the net in a 3-1 Manchester derby win at the Etihad Stadium.

The forward's campaign was cut short in April after suffering a broken leg in City's 5-0 home win against West Ham.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts again hailed the towering striker on her remarkable achievements throughout the 2023/24 campaign.

"It's pleasing to see Khadija receiving multiple accolades for her achievements," Ricketts said.

"She obviously worked hard to improve her craft and the results have been overwhelming. The management and staff of the federation congratulate her heartily and wish her a speedy recovery from her injury,” he added.

Meanwhile, Shaw's teammate Khiara Keating became the youngest player to win the Women's Super League Golden Glove award.

Keating, 19, kept nine clean sheets in 22 league games for City as they finished second behind Chelsea in the title race. Manchester United's Mary Earps kept seven clean sheets in 22 games, while Chelsea's Hannah Hampton has managed six in 10 matches.

The young shot stopper played just three league games for City last season, spending most of the second half of the campaign on loan at then-Championship side Coventry United.

Gareth Taylor says that Manchester City will "come back fighting" after losing out on the Women’s Super League title on the final day.

City beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to goals from Mary Fowler and Lauren Hemp on Saturday, but ultimately fell just short, missing out to Chelsea on goal difference.

Emma Hayes led the Blues to a fifth consecutive WSL title with a 6-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Old Trafford, having made up their inferior goal difference with an equally impressive 8-0 win over Bristol City two weeks ago. 

Taylor has reflected on a "mix of emotions" after narrowly missing out on being champions.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, he said: "I feel really proud of the team's performance. The mad thing is we could have maybe scored double figures today quite easily. That's the difference.

"To win 18 games in the season and still come up short is not easy but we have. It's been a big push from the team, we've worked incredibly hard, and we'll come back fighting."

When asked what lessons City can take from this season, Taylor added: "We need to improve in all areas. We have to have potentially better options from the sidelines. I think that's really key.

"I'm so enthusiastic about the way we played today. A lot of the stuff we did was really good. That's what inspires me to get up in the morning and fight for next season's title."

Goalkeeper Khiara Keating became the youngest-ever Golden Glove winner in her breakout season, as the 19-year-old kept nine clean sheets in 22 league games and conceded just 15 goals in total.

While disappointed about Saturday’s outcome, Keating looked back on the highlights of her season.

She said: "Obviously we are disappointed. We wanted to go out and win a trophy today. We knew what we had to do, and we didn't quite get it done.

"Hopefully next season in the Champions League we can show what we're about and go and win some trophies.

"From a personal point of view, my breakout season had a lot to prove at the start of the season, everyone was kind of.. Not doubting but wondering what I'd be like. I hope I've shown everyone what I can do.

"Gaz [Taylor] put his faith in me to go and play how I play and that is what I needed to go out there and do what I did this season."

Mayra Ramirez turned in a stellar performance to propel Chelsea to the WSL title in Emma Hayes' final match in charge as the Blues thrashed Manchester United 6-0.

Earlier in May, Hayes – who is ending a 12-year stint in charge of the Blues to become the United States coach – had all but given up on claiming a fifth straight WSL crown.

Yet Chelsea's 8-0 victory over Bristol City two weeks ago, combined with Manchester City's defeat to Arsenal, opened the door, and after beating Tottenham in midweek, the Blues knew a win, while maintaining their positive goal difference, would be enough.

And they made sure there was no room for error with an incredible first-half display inspired by Ramirez, who scored twice and set up goals for Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Sjoeke Nusken at Old Trafford.

Melanie Leupolz got in on the act early in the second half as Chelsea's celebrations began in earnest, with Fran Kirby netting late on to complete the rout on her farewell appearance.

Ultimately, City – likely deflated by the news coming from Old Trafford – held up their end of the bargain, but shorn of top goalscorer Khadija Shaw, Gareth Taylor's team could only beat Aston Villa 2-1.

City were constantly chasing their title rivals, with Ramirez and Rytting Kaneryd putting Chelsea 2-0 up at United inside eight minutes.

Mary Fowler nudged City ahead at Villa Park, though when Taylor's team went in at the interval, they will have seen additional goals from record signing Ramirez and Nusken had all but sewn up the title for Chelsea already.

Leupolz has scored her first WSL goal in over two years to add further gloss for Chelsea when they came back out from the restart in Manchester, and City were then hit by a further blow when Rachel Daly equalised for Villa.

Lauren Hemp, who had assisted Fowler's opener, restored City's lead, though it was never going to be enough, with Kirby's farewell goal ensuring Chelsea finished with a goal difference of 53 compared to their rivals' 46.

Chelsea are now unbeaten across their last nine WSL games that have come on the final day of the season, while the Blues are now nine WSL matches without loss against United, having won eight of those fixtures.

Marc Skinner has signed a one-year contract extension as Manchester United Women head coach with the option of a further 12 months.

The 41-year-old guided United to their first major silverware last weekend with victory over Tottenham in the Women's FA Cup final.

United are fifth in the Women's Super League with one game to go - a massive drop on last term's runners-up finish - but Skinner will stay on.

"It's an honour to extend my stay at Manchester United," Skinner, who was appointed in 2021, told United's official website after the news was confirmed on Friday. 

"I've always felt at home here, with our excellent players, staff, and fans.

"Being able to secure the team's first major trophy at Wembley was a real career highlight for me and another sign of our continued growth, on and off the field."

United conclude their campaign on Saturday against Chelsea, who lead Manchester City on goal difference entering the final day.

The WSL title race could hardly be any closer heading into the final game of the season. Chelsea and Manchester City are locked together on 52 points apiece, with goal difference the only factor nudging the Blues ahead.

It is finely poised, and both sets of fans are in for a roller-coaster ride on Saturday.

Chelsea put themselves in pole position on Wednesday by winning their final game in hand, beating Tottenham 1-0. The Blues are now two goals ahead on goal difference ahead of facing Manchester United on Saturday. City, meanwhile, take on Aston Villa.

There could be the scenario that the teams finish level on both goal difference and goals scored. The determining metric would then be the number of league wins, followed by head-to-head record against their title rivals. In that scenario, Man City would be crowned Champions, having won away and drawn at home.

The Opta Supercomputer, though, has Chelsea in the driving seat on the final day with a 56.3 per cent chance of retaining their title.

 

City manager Garth Taylor, however, backed his team to prove the computer wrong.

"Well, I think we have a great chance. We're capable of going and scoring four," he said.

"We know we're capable. Does it mean obviously that you're able to go and do it at the weekend? Of course, because there are many factors that need to go into that. But yeah, I'll leave the data to the other guys.

"I think what we have to do is really concentrate on ourselves and make sure we don't take our eye off the ball. And like I say, start as impressively and as fast as we possibly can and see where that takes us. But you've seen with this team, they can score goals. 

"So it's just about constantly realigning them on the focus and what we need to do. Like I say, the more we've done that this season, the better we've been."

How many days have each of these teams led the way this term?

Chelsea lead the standings with an impressive 152. City have only managed 64 days at the top, and have spent much of their time chasing down the Blues.

Hayes' last hurrah

Emma Hayes will bid farewell to Chelsea and the WSL, and she is determined to go out in glorious fashion.

The last few weeks have been challenging for Hayes, with Chelsea losing to Arsenal in the League Cup final, going down to Barcelona in a controversial Champions League semi-final and then suffering a heavy defeat to Liverpool days later. Hayes had declared the title race "over" at that stage.

However, her players had other plans, and put themselves back in contention with an emphatic 8-0 win over relegated Bristol City to turn the goal difference in their favour, and followed that up by beating Spurs. City also handed them hope by losing 2-1 to Arsenal.

This last game will be an iconic goodbye, as the Blues travel to Old Trafford and face last season's challengers for the title, Man United. The fact that this match is at the men's stadium really does emphasise the huge growth the women's game has experienced in the 12 years Hayes has been in charge of Chelsea.

The United Way: Will FA Cup winners decide the title?

When Hayes started managing the Blues, United did not even have a professional women's side. United were promoted to the WSL after just one season following their establishment in 2018, and have not looked back.

Last season, it was the red side of Manchester running Hayes and her Chelsea side to the wire for the title race. This season, United created history by winning their first ever major trophy by beating Spurs 4-0 at Wembley.

United now have the fate of the title partly in their hands, though it would mean possibly gifting the crown to their rivals City.

United have won three of their four WSL games on the final day of the season, including the curtailed 2019-20 season, though that sole loss came in a 4-2 defeat to Chelsea in May 2022.

The Blues will also feel confident having got the better of Man Utd of late, unbeaten in their last eight WSL matches (W7 D1 L0).

Chelsea have scored the most goals in the WSL this season (65), six more than Man City (59), at an average of 3.0 per match, while also having the best xG (55.9) in the division.

United are looking for their first league win against Chelsea since November 2019. They have been outscored 21-7 during this streak.

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 away league matches played on a Saturday (W9 D1 L1), winning all of their last four on the road on this day while keeping a clean sheet in all of those victories and scoring 20 goals in the process.

United trio Mary Earps, Maya Le Tissier and Katie Zelem have played every minute of their WSL campaign this season, with City in 2019-20 the last team to have three players play 100 per cent of their total minutes in a WSL campaign (Caroline Weir, Gemma Bonner and Steph Houghton).

Zelem has created 55 chances for her team-mates, the most of any player in the competition, as well as playing 198 passes into the box, also a league-high.

Fran Kirby will pull on a Cheslea shirt for one final time. She has the most direct goal contributions 89 under Hayes in the WSL.

With 33, Kirby has also provided the most WSL assists in Hayes' tenure. She has also created the second-most chances (227), behind Ji So-Yun (228). One final crown would mark the end of an iconic stint at her time with Chelsea.

If Chelsea can get in front, they will be confident of the victory, the team have dropped a league-low three points from winning positions this season. 

City always the bridesmaid, never the bride?

City are hoping to end an eight-year wait to lift their second WSL title. In that time City have been runners up on five separate occasions.

Last time out, City suffered a 2-1 defeat against Arsenal at Joie Stadium, handing the momentum back to Chelsea in what has been an enthralling title race. This defeat snapped a 14-match winning streak and was a blow in what has been a record-breaking season.

City are unbeaten on the final day of the season across each of the last four WSL campaigns (W3 D1 – including curtailed 2019-20 season), winning each of the last three in succession.

Meanwhile, no team has had as many shots on target as City (171), who are one ahead of Chelsea's tally of 170.

Lauren Hemp has scored five goals in six prior WSL meetings with Aston Villa, including netting a brace in the reverse fixture earlier this season. She has also recorded seven assists so far in the league this season, the most of any player in the competition.

City will be without leading scorer Khadija Shaw, but they have been imperious at the back.

They have the best defence in the league in terms of goals against, having conceded only 14 times in 21 matches. However, their xGA of 18.8 is actually second-best, ranking behind Arsenal (17.7)

The star of the City defence has been shot-stopper extraordinaire Khiara Keating, in her first full season as City number one. Even ahead of the final game, the 19-year-old has been named the Golden Glove winner with nine clean sheets, beating England's number one Earps (seven).

Keating is the youngest goalkeeper ever to bag the award. Villa will present a stern test, having opened the scoring in each of their last three WSL home games, but they have failed to win any of them (D2 L1); in fact, the Villans have failed to win six of the seven home league games theyve taken a 1-0 lead in this season (W1 D3 L3).

However it plays out, one thing is for sure - Saturday will be filled with drama, tension and goals.

As these two heavyweights go toe to toe, history will be made. Either a fifth consecutive crown for Hayes as she bows out, or for the first time in many years, Chelsea could end a campaign with no silverware. 

The accolades of Jamaica and Manchester City striker Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw continue to mount, as she was voted the 2023/24 Barclays Women’s Super League (WSL) Player of the Season, on Friday.

This announcement came on the heels of Thursday’s Football Writers’ Association (FWA) awards gala, where Shaw was officially presented with the FWA Women Footballer of the Year trophy, alongside fellow Manchester City star Phil Foden.

To say these individual acclaims are very much deserving would be an understatement given her exploits this season, as she has been a key figure in City’s push for the WSL title.

The 27-year-old, whose season was cut short due to a broken leg, has registered 21 goals in just 18 appearances, while also providing three assists. She’s on course for another prestigious honour of finishing as the league’s top scorer, having incredibly averaged a goal every 66 minutes this season.

And it is just rewards for another phenomenal campaign in which she once again broke new ground in Gareth Taylor’s side.

Shaw is the first player to score three WSL hat-tricks in a calendar year, last year, and between November 2023 and January 2024, the forward again registered three trebles in just four matches.

Finding the net in both WSL Manchester derbies, the Jamaican’s clinical finish at the Etihad Stadium in March also saw her become City’s record goalscorer, as she swept past Georgia Stanway in the process.

Another crucial strike from Shaw came in City’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in February, as they secured the honour of being the first away side to take three points off the reigning champions at Kingsmeadow, in over three years.

In securing the Player of the Season title, the prolific Jamaican fought off the sizeable challenge of City teammate Khiara Keating, who won the Golden Glove, as well as Chelsea duo Lauren James and Niamh Charles. Arsenal’s Lotte Wubben-Moy, Tottenham Hotspurs youngster Grace Clinton, Leicester’s Jutta Rantala, and Brighton’s forward Elisabeth Terland, were also in the mix.

Lianne Sanderson believes Chelsea will get over the line in the Women's Super League (WSL) title race this weekend.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes previously declared the WSL title race as "done" following her side's 4-3 defeat to Liverpool in early May, but two wins since and a loss for title rivals Manchester CIty against Arsenal mean her team head into the final game top and with a superior goal difference.

Chelsea's goal difference of +47 to City's +45 could prove crucial as Hayes' side take on Manchester United this weekend looking to clinch the title.

City, meanwhile, travel to take on Aston Villa looking to overturn the goal difference deficit, but Sanderson feels Chelsea will get the job done.

"Obviously it's great for the neutral. For the fans, it's fantastic," Sanderson told Stats Perform.

"I think Emma Hayes obviously kind of somewhat accepted defeat a couple of weeks ago, which was surprising. Sometimes your emotions get the better of you. Emma Hayes is one of the best coaches in the world.

"Manchester City have had the best year I think they've had since Gareth Taylor has been there, taking over from Nick Cushing.

"It's going to go down to the wire. Personally, I still think Chelsea might do it."

With Sanderson predicting City to miss out on the WSL title, Sanderson feels Taylor's job should have come under more threat than it has.

"I've said many times that Gareth Taylor, I think hasn't come under as much pressure as he probably should have," Sanderson said. 

"I think if he was in the men's game it would have been interesting because they've not qualified for the Champions League, they've been knocked out of preliminary rounds and those types of things."

However, Sanderson also gave Taylor credit for his persistence in what has occasionally been a challenging tenure.

"It's been interesting, but fair play to Gareth Taylor because he's persevered," Sanderson added. 

"They've had loads of players over the years, you know Carli Lloyd, Rose Lavelle, the list could go on and it just hasn't really worked out, not due to those players, but sometimes you must find the right balance. I think finally, they found the right balance."

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