As the Women’s Super League season dies down it is the Chelsea Women who lead the way as Emma Hayes’ side sits one point ahead of Arsenal. Not too long ago, this season looked destined for failure after the side were knocked out of the Champion’s League and continued losing ground in the WSL title race. A mid-season tactical switch and a scintillating run of form have turned things around for the Blues.
Chelsea Form Puts Blues in Prime Position of WSL Title Race
For much of the season, Emma Hayes set her side out in a 3-4-3 formation. This was an attempt at making the absolute most of the team’s attacking prowess by allowing Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert to join the attack as wing-backs while also allowing for Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, and Sam Kerr to all lead the line when healthy.
At its best, the formation worked, but when Chelsea was stopped, they were stopped. The three at the back style left them prone in defence while their usually free-flowing attack felt somewhat stunted.
As the calendars turned to 2022, the side moved to a regular 4-3-3 formation, with a 4-4-2 even being utilised in a recent 5-0 win over Reading. This change has not only shored up the defence but fully unleashed Chelsea’s attacking potential despite missing names like Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder at points.
Chelsea On Form
The change in formation has resulted in Chelsea’s return to dominance. Since the start of 2022, the team has only dropped four points in WSL fixtures with goals flying in. Sam Kerr has been a major beneficiary as she now has 16 goals to her name this season, four more than anyone else in the league. Of those 16 goals, seven have come in 2022. Guro Reiten has also been something of a revelation further up the field, Reiten was already deadly when operating from the wing-back spot but being pushed further up the field has fully unleashed her full attacking talents.
WSL Title Race As it Stands
Chelsea are ahead of Arsenal by a single point with four games left to play for each team. Chelsea’s final four games are slightly more difficult as they face fifth-placed Tottenham twice, and third-placed Manchester United. Arsenal also has to face Tottenham but their other games are against Everton, Aston Villa, and West Ham, all of whom are in the lower half of the table.
Despite the tough run-in, Emma Hayes will be confident in her side as Arsenal has been stumbling towards the finish line ever since the beginning of 2022.