Chelsea spark WSL race with 8-goal win, late Man City loss


Lawson: Man City let 'massive opportunity' for WSL title slip

Sophie Lawson looks back on Manchester City's failure to wrap up the WSL title after conceding two late goals to Arsenal.

A superb late brace by substitute Stina Blackstenius gave Arsenal a 2-1 win over Manchester City that re-ignited the Women's Super League on Sunday, throwing a lifeline to Chelsea in a title race that had appeared to be done and dusted.

With 21 of their 22 league games played, City top the standings on 52 points, three ahead of Chelsea and five ahead of Arsenal, but the Blues have a game in hand and they obliterated City's goal difference advantage with an 8-0 thrashing of already-relegated Bristol City late on Sunday.

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Chelsea travel to Tottenham Hotspur on May 15 and Manchester United three days later for their final two games, with City away to Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

On Wednesday Chelsea boss Emma Hayes glumly conceded defeat in the league after her stuttering side's 4-3 loss to Liverpool, but Sunday's results breathed new life into their quest for a fifth league title in a row.

Lauren Hemp, who recently signed a three-year contract extension at City, broke the deadlock in the 17th minute with a superb turn and shot that caught Arsenal keeper Manuela Zinsberger off guard and flew into the net.

City then made the mistake of taking their foot off the gas in the second half, and Sweden striker Blackstenius came off the bench to stun the home crowd, scoring the equaliser in the 89th minute before bagging the winner three minutes later.

Blackstenius said to BBC Sport after the game that the closing moments were a blur.

Stina Blackstenius celebrates scoring Arsenal's winning goal with Beth Mead.
Photo by Matt McNulty - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

"I don't really know what happened," she said. "I am happy, but it was a tough game. I'm really proud how we came back and got the win in the end.

"We knew this was a big game for us. We haven't won here in four games so it was important for us to come here and win today."

The Sweden forward also scored a late winner for Arsenal against City in the reverse fixture earlier in the WSL season.

"I don't know, I just try to be in the situations and create something whenever I get the chance," she said when asked about her knack for big moments.

Man City manager Gareth Taylor said he is confident his team will recover from this untimely setback.

"We've always reacted well from negative results," he said.

"I thought it was tough on us today, a draw was probably a fair result. The girls will be fine. We wanted to be in control. We've lot a little bit of that but we still have one more game and we look forward to that."

That result in Manchester was the shot in the arm Chelsea needed and they ruthlessly dispatched Bristol City in the late kickoff, with Norwegian winger Guro Reiten netting four goals and Aggie Beever-Jones adding two more in Hayes' final home game in charge.

The glut of goals enabled Chelsea to wipe out City's goal difference advantage, and the Blues now have a one-goal lead over their title rivals that could prove vital in the run-in.

Earlier in the day, West Ham United played out a 1-1 draw with Leicester City while Manchester United's preparations for next week's FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur suffered a blow as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat away to Liverpool.

That defeat came a day after Spurs came back from going two goals down in the opening 15 minutes to draw 2-2 at Everton, while Alisha Lehmann got the only goal of the game as Aston Villa won 1-0 away to Brighton & Hove Albion.

Information from Reuters was used in this story.