Women’s Super League permutations: Who needs what in title race and relegation fight?
The curtain falls on English top flight football this weekend, beginning on Saturday when a Women’s Super League title race between Chelsea and Manchester United goes to the wire.
Relegation will also be decided on the final day of the season, with Reading hoping to pull off a miracle and send Leicester down instead.
And Arsenal can clinch third place and the last qualifying spot for next season’s Women’s Champions League ahead of Manchester City.
Here are the permutations for what could be a nail-biting Saturday afternoon in the WSL.
With a two point lead over Manchester United, leaders Chelsea are in pole position to lift the title for a fourth year in a row.
Win at bottom club Reading this weekend and they will be WSL champions, no matter how United get on at Liverpool.
But if they drop points it will open the door for their new rivals, who were only established five years ago, to claim their first top-flight crown.
Should Chelsea draw with Reading, United could overtake them by beating Liverpool – but they would need to do so by a six-goal margin.
If Emma Hayes’s team lose to Reading, United can pinch the trophy with any kind of win on Merseyside.
So in short, Chelsea need a win to be certain of topping the table and United need a win to have any chance whatsoever.
Adding a little extra spice to the title race is the fact that Reading will be playing to preserve their WSL status.
The Berkshire club sit last in the 12-team division, on 11 points, and need to beat Chelsea to keep their slim survival hopes alive.
They are also reliant on Leicester dropping points at Brighton, who are just one place above but already safe.
Goal difference is on Reading’s side, so a Leicester draw won’t be enough to keep them up if the bottom club conjures a famous win.
Whatever happens, Chelsea and United are mathematically assured of a top-two finish and a place in the Women’s Champions League.
That leaves one more spot, which is Arsenal’s to lose – and it would take something extraordinary.
The Gunners, who reached the European semi-finals this year, are three points ahead of City and have a double-digit goal difference advantage.
So a late twist would require Arsenal to lose at home to Aston Villa and City to beat Everton, all while engineering an 11-goal swing.
WSL final day fixtures: Saturday 27 May, 2:30pm
- Arsenal v Aston Villa
- Brighton v Leicester
- Liverpool v Man Utd
- Man City v Everton
- Reading v Chelsea
- West Ham v Tottenham