Chelsea did what they needed to do on Wednesday in order to make Saturday's slate of season-ending WSL fixtures interesting: Beat Tottenham.

The Blues are now number one in the league, with an edge over Manchester City on goal differential thanks to an eight-goal outing against Bristol City last week. 

Yesterday's result tees up a league finale for the books as Chelsea looks to send coach Emma Hayes off with another trophy to add to her cabinet. The Blues will play FA Cup winner Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday, while City is away at Aston Villa.

"We will be leaving nothing on the pitch, we will be giving everything and no matter what the result is," Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert said after Wednesday's win. "At least we can look each other in the eye and say we gave everything."

It makes for a thrilling end to Chelsea's Emma Hayes era, as the decorated WSL coach will take over the USWNT in June. And it comes after Hayes all but conceded the title race early this month after Chelsea fell to Liverpool 4-3.

"I think the title is done," Hayes said at the time. "Of course, mathematically, it's not, but I think the title is done. Our job between now and the end of the season is to keep pushing until the end, but I think it will be very difficult.

"We will never give up. But the title is far from us; it's not in our hands. I think City are deserving, their consistency has put them in that position. Of course, we will go to the end, but I don't think the title will be going to us this year."

Be it mind games or Hayes truly thinking her team was that far off, her words lit something in Chelsea. Their following two performances showed the team’s determination to have a shot at some silverware.

As for Saturday's schedule, Hayes believes her team is facing the "tougher of the two games."

"It's a fitting finale for me, being my final game," she told BBC Sport. "As I said to the players if someone gives you a second chance in life, make sure you don't need a third one. We're in the position we want to be in, and we'll give it everything on Saturday no matter what."

Chelsea began Sunday with their WSL title hopes a distant dream... before closing out the weekend right back in the thick of the title chase.

The Blues made a last-ditch effort to claim their fifth consecutive Barclays WSL title on Sunday with an 8-0 win over relegation-bound Bristol City. The victory came after a visiting Arsenal upset current table-toppers Manchester City at Joie Stadium, besting the home side 2-1 on back-to-back goals from Stina Blackstenius. With the win, the third-place Gunners re-opened the door for Chelsea to finish level at the top of the table on points.

Chelsea remains second in the standing, with 49 points to Manchester City's 52. But the barrage of goalscoring over the weekend could be enough to overtake City's potential tiebreak advantage in goal differential, leaving even coach Emma Hayes in awe.

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Chelsea holds a game in hand, but the Blues will need to win their May 15th match against Tottenham to give them a shot at the title. Should they take all three points, the title race will come down to the final weekend, when Chelsea squares off with Manchester United while City faces Aston Villa on Saturday, May 18th. 

Set to take over the USWNT in June, Hayes acknowledged the likelihood of finishing out her time at Chelsea with zero trophies, after losing in both the Conti Cup final and UWCL semifinal last month. But for now, her initial pessimism has subsided.

"Let me be clear, it's not f*****g over," Hayes said after coaching her last home match with Chelsea on Sunday. "There's no time for sentimentality, all work drinks are canceled. There's a title to be won.

"This group of players taught me something so special this week — that you never ever give up."

Emma Hayes is expecting her departure from Chelsea to be an emotional one.

Hayes is set to take over the U.S. women’s national team at the end of the Women’s Super League season. And while she’s excited to take on her new role, she’s sad to be leaving the club that she’s been with since 2012.

“I don’t think they’ll be mixed [emotions], I’ll be absolutely distraught. I’m a bit of a sobber. I think I’ll cry my eyes out for the last few weeks,” Hayes told the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) in an interview. “I think I’m now at a point where I’m looking forward to being in the crowd, coming back and hopefully watching Chelsea in many finals.

“I’ve done my bit and I certainly hope they welcome me back as a fan because that’s how I see myself.”

During her time with Chelsea, Hayes has helped the team to 13 major trophies, including to six league titles and five FA Cups. On Sunday she became the first woman in 42 years to win the Football Writers’ Tribute award.

The only thing missing from Hayes’ resume is a Champions League title. Chelsea lost to Barcelona in the final in 2021.

After the season, she’ll set her sights on the USWNT and winning tournaments like the Olympics and World Cup.

“The whole thing’s a huge challenge,” Hayes told the Football Writers’ Association. “While we don’t have the game accumulation like I face as a club manager, the challenge of all the things the job involves, I’m looking forward to. It’s a lot less hands-on with players but it means I’ll develop another side to myself and I’ll have to work with a team off the pitch as well in a much different way to prepare for major tournaments.

“I’m so excited to go to an Olympics and a World Cup. (It’s) what dreams are made of to think I’m in a position where I can lead a team out at the Paris Olympics and a World Cup in three years. Happy days.”

Chelsea star Sam Kerr has reportedly extended her contract with Chelsea, per ata football.

On Thursday, ata football reported that Kerr has extended her contract through 2025. The striker’s contract was set to expire upon the conclusion of this season.

Her fiancé Kristie Mewis recently signed with West Ham, moving to the WSL after winning a NWSL championship with Gotham last year.

Kerr underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a ruptured ACL.

“I’m gutted for her and gutted for the team, these things happen in football and she knows that,” Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said. “The important thing is that we are here to support her and the recovery and rehab begins today. … Today is about letting Sam know that she’s with her Chelsea family and we’ll look after her.”

Hayes is set to depart Chelsea upon the conclusion of the WSL season for the USWNT.

Kerr has been with Chelsea since 2020, when she joined the club from the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.

She’s appeared in 128 total games for Chelsea, including 75 WSL games, and scored 99 goals with the club. During that time, she’s been the WSL’s top goalscorer twice and won three league titles and FA Cups, as well as the FA Women’s League Cup.

NWSL coaches Laura Harvey and Casey Stoney are reportedly the two leading candidates for the Chelsea women’s job, with current manager Emma Hayes set to take over the USWNT.

According to The Times, senior players on the team want a female to be Hayes’ successor. The Chelsea coach is set to take over as manager of the USWNT after Chelsea’s season concludes.

While other names are being considered, The Times reports that the NWSL’s Laura Harvey and Casey Stoney are the leading candidates for Hayes’ replacement. Harvey currently coaches the Seattle Reign while Stoney leads San Diego Wave FC.

Both coaches have previous experience in the WSL, and are proven winners in the US. Stoney, who joined San Diego from Manchester United, led the team to the NWSL Shield in 2023. Harvey, meanwhile, is a three-time Shield winner and was the manager at Arsenal before joining the NWSL.

Harvey’s name has appeared on a number of coaching shortlists, including on the list for USWNT coach, having previously been an assistant for the national team. In August, she noted that her “priority” was her NWSL club.

“I’m very mindful that this is my priority – this job is my priority,” she said. “I love it here, that’s no secret. I’ve committed to the future of this club. … I actually give our team and player credit if my name is anywhere near anything, because that just shows the performances that our group’s been putting in.”

Fran Kirby still has a lot to give to the sport of soccer, whether it’s with Chelsea or not.

In a recent interview with BBC Sport, Kirby opened up about body image issues that she’s struggled with – particularly in the face of comments on social media. But she also spoke about her contract with Chelsea, which has six months remaining.

Currently, she says, the two aren’t in talks about a new contract. Chelsea manager Emma Hayes is set to depart the club upon the conclusion of the season to manage the U.S. women’s national team.

“At the moment there has been no conversations between myself and the club. I want to continue playing football and continue playing football at a high level,” she said. “I still feel I have a lot to give wherever I am, whether that’s at Chelsea or that has to be somewhere else. But I love the club. I’ve been here a long time and have some great friendships with players and staff.

“I still want to be competing and playing consistently so obviously that’s a decision that has to be made.”

Kirby has struggled with injuries in her career, but thus far has been available for Chelsea in every match during the current WSL campaign. Admittedly, though, the injuries have frustrated her in the past.

“You do question how many times you can go through something. It’s never an easy thing. I also have frustrations with my body and its limitations,” she added. “Playing football is something I still enjoy doing. I still have that really competitive nature inside me. I will keep playing until that fizzles out.

“I remember coming on against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge and hearing the crowd. Hearing that was knowing what I had done was being appreciated.”

The 30-year-old has played for Chelsea since 2015, making 101 appearances for the Blues and scoring 61 goals. That includes an outstanding 2020-21 campaign in which she scored 16 goals in 18 appearances and helped the club to the FA Cup. That season, Chelsea became the first English women’s club to secure the domestic quadruple (FA Women’s Community Shield, FA Women’s League Cup, FA Women’s Cup, FA Women’s Super League).

They also finished as Champions League runners-up that season. She’s currently the team’s all-time leading scorer.

A knee injury kept Kirby out of England’s World Cup campaign last summer, and limited her time with Chelsea last season to just 16 games (eight in the WSL).

“It’s not easy but my most recent [knee injury] was probably the easiest one to come back from because as soon as I had surgery, I didn’t have any pain. That was a relief in itself,” she said. “Of course, missing a World Cup is not a nice feeling at all. I was super proud of watching the girls but there was always that feeling inside, wishing you were there.

“It was still hard. I won’t sit here and say it was the best time of my life going through rehab while everyone was at the World Cup – because it wasn’t. But I tried to stay in a good place mentally. I wanted to be ready for the start of the season and to be able to do that made it all worth it.”

USWNT and Chelsea star Catarina Macario is back on grass and training in cleats.

After Chelsea women posted a photo of Macario in warm weather training, Macario wrote that she is “Happy to be back on the field” in response.

It’s a welcome sign for Chelsea and U.S. women’s national team fans everywhere, after Macario’s status remained in limbo late into 2023. The star midfielder tore her ACL with Lyon in the Women’s Champions League final back in June of 2022.

In November, Chelsea coach and soon-to-be USWNT manager Emma Hayes said that it was unlikely Macario would make her return in 2023. Interim USWNT head coach Twila Kilgore had said earlier that month that Macario was “integrating at Chelsea” but wasn’t yet ready for international minutes.

“When you’ve been out a long time, this isn’t about me withholding something, this is about the recognition that – with all the will in the world – you can’t just put a player on the grass with a knee history, and sometimes if the knee blows up, you then have to come back off it again,” Hayes told Forbes.

Macario signed with Chelsea in June of 2023, but has yet to compete for the WSL club. Earlier this week, Hayes said that she was excited to finally include Macario – as well as forward Maika Hamano – in the lineup. And it comes at the right time, as star forward Sam Kerr tore her ACL in training and will be out for the remainder of the season.

“Cat and Maika are going to feel like new signings for us,” Hayes said. “That’s why we built the squad like this. We knew there would be more games coming in the second half of the season.”

Sam Kerr, superstar striker for Chelsea and the Australia women’s national soccer team, became the latest player to suffer an ACL injury, with her club making the announcement of the injury on Sunday.

Kerr sustained the injury during the team’s warm weather training camp in Morocco. She is expected to be sidelined “for an extended period,” the Australian national team announced, along with noting that she had ruptured her ACL – which was more than what Chelsea’s announcement had said. Kerr captains the Australian national team, which made it all the way to the semi-finals of last summer’s World Cup.

She has been ruled out of the remainder of the Women’s Super League season and Australia’s AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 3 series in February. It’s also likely that she will miss this summer’s Olympics if the Matildas qualify.

“Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone,” Australia coach Tony Gustavsson said in a statement.

“With her ability to lead by example, Sam’s guidance and influence on the team is significant and, as a result, this will be an incredible loss for the national team. Our focus now is on ensuring she has all the support she wants and needs to navigate recovery and rehab.”

Since joining Chelsea in 2019, Kerr has scored 99 goals in 128 matches while helping the club to four WSL titles, three FA Cups, two Women’s League Cups and the Women’s Community Shield. She’s also won two WSL Golden Boots during that time frame and was runner-up for the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

She joins a long list of women’s soccer players to have suffered ACL injuries, which includes Chelsea teammate Catarina Macario. Macario, who ruptured her ACL in June of 2022, has yet to return to play.

Other WSL players to have ruptured their ACLs include Arsenal’s Beth Mead, Leah Williamson and Vivianne Miedema, who all missed the World Cup. Canada forward Janine Beckie also missed the World Cup with an ACL injury. Since 2021, at least 87 players from eight of the world’s top women’s soccer leagues have torn ACLs, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

Kerr will be “assessed by a specialist” in the following days before beginning rehabilitation with Chelsea’s medical team.

Kristie Mewis took on a difficult position at the 2023 World Cup: attempting to win with the U.S. women’s national team while also cheering on her now-fiancée Sam Kerr, who plays for Australia.

In the new Netflix docuseries “Under Pressure,” which chronicles the USWNT’s World Cup run, Mewis showcases how she balanced the team’s devastating loss in the Round of 16 with her support of Kerr. Mewis’ first minutes in the World Cup came at the end of the team’s shootout loss to Sweden, and included her taking – and making – a penalty kick as her first shot at the tournament.

“One of the coaches came over to me and Kelley [O’Hara] and he was just like, ‘I hope you guys are preparing yourselves to take a penalty kick.’ And I was kind of like, what?” Mewis said, noting that she entered the game, “running around for maybe 30 seconds” before the final whistle blew.

Still, she felt more than ready for her penalty shot.

“I’ve never felt more confident in a moment,” she said. “I have been preparing for that moment my whole life. Every time I went out and trained, every time I kicked with my left foot, I was training for that one moment. Because that was the only moment that I was going to get in the World Cup.”

Yet despite Mewis’ successful kick, the USWNT lost the shootout, resulting in the team’s earliest exit ever in a World Cup.

Instead of going home with the rest of the team, Mewis stayed in Australia to cheer for Kerr and the Matildas. While Kerr had started the tournament sidelined with an injury, she played in Australia’s quarterfinal match with Mewis in the stands. And she made her own penalty kick in that match, which Australia won over France to advance to the semifinals.

“It didn’t end the way that we wanted it to. But also, Sweden deserved to win. They kept us from scoring and they did better with their penalties,” Mewis said, before noting that the decision to stay and support Kerr was an easy one.

“Yes, my dream of being at a World Cup and winning a World Cup is now over. But Sam’s in the quarterfinals,” she continued. “This is just so crazy, this is everything that she’s always wanted too. Everyone knows that the U.S. team went back home, but there’s no place I’d rather be. I’m so happy to be here and support her. Obviously it is a little bit hard, but I think I can separate it because I love her so much.”

Even still, that love has boundaries. Mewis refused to wear an Australia jersey to support Kerr, despite the rest of Kerr’s family and friends doing so.

“They’re like, ‘Where’s your jersey? Where’s your jersey?’” Mewis said. “And I like, cannot put on an Australian jersey.”

Incoming U.S. women’s national team head coach Emma Hayes is among the three finalists for the FIFA Best Coach award.

Hayes was nominated for her work with English club Chelsea, marking her third time as a finalist for the award. With Hayes at the helm, Chelsea won the FA Women’s Super League for the fourth straight season and the FA Cup for the third straight season in 2023.

Upon the conclusion of Chelsea’s WSL season in May 2024, Hayes will join the USWNT as its manager.

Hayes is joined on the shortlist for the FIFA women’s coach award by England’s Sarina Wiegman, who led the Lionesses to a runner-up finish at this summer’s World Cup, and FC Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez. Under Giráldez, Barcelona won the Primera División, the Supercopa de España and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Among the 16 nominees for FIFA Best Player is Lindsey Horan, the lone contender from the USWNT. Spain and England each tied for the most nominees with four. Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí, who won the World Cup Golden Ball and Ballon d’Or, is among the nominees.

The award winners are set to be announced on Jan. 15 in London.