Chelsea Women have won their second successive Women’s Super League title, with Manchester City Women ending as runners-up for a fourth season in a row.
Emma Hayes’ side were awarded the title last season after the WSL was decided on points-per-game, despite Man City leading when the league suspension was announced.
But there was no doubt this time around as Chelsea capped an incredible season with a 5-0 victory over Reading to retain the title, this time doing so with a two-point gap over City.
It was a title race that went down to the wire with Chelsea hosting Reading at Kingsmeadow, while Man City were a short distance away in east London, facing West Ham on the final day.
Knowing a final-day win would crown them champions, Melanie Leupolz put the hosts ahead with a half-volley from a low corner after just 68 seconds.
Kirby guided a second into the top corner and again linked up with Sam Kerr to power home after the interval.
Golden boot winner Kerr volleyed past Grace Moloney from Kirby’s lofted pass and Erin Cuthbert bundled in a fifth.
Second-placed Manchester City won at West Ham to finish two points behind as runners-up, but needed Chelsea to slip up to have any chance of snatching top spot.
England’s record appearance holder Fara Williams captained Reading in her final game before retiring as the Royals finish the season seventh.
Emma Hayes’ side have already won the League Cup this season and clinching a fourth WSL title moves the Blues a step closer to a historic quadruple.
They face Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League final next Sunday, and have a last-16 Women’s FA Cup tie against Everton to come on May 20.
Leupolz’s neat opener, which went through Royals keeper Moloney, was the fastest WSL goal of the season – though Chelsea were not at their swashbuckling best in the first half at Kingsmeadow and had to be patient until England forward Kirby’s side-footed finish after a one-two with Kerr.
Kerr’s goal made her just the second woman to pass 20 goals in a WSL season – after Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema in 2018-19 – while substitute Cuthbert put the icing on the Chelsea cake late on.
Bristol City’s relegation from the WSL was confirmed after a 3-1 defeat against Brighton, ending their four-year stay in the WSL.
They finished the season with just two victories and have conceded the most goals in Women’s Super League history.
Leicester will be taking their place in the WSL next season, having won the Women’s Championship title with an impressive eight-point gap over Durham. It will be the first time the club have competed in the women’s top tier and they are a fully-professional side, having been bought by Leicester City’s owners, King Power, in August 2020 and integrated into the club.