In a season full of drama, goals and nail biting action, here at LG Women’s Football, we look at the moments that shaped the latest Barclays Women’s Super League season.

A seismic opening day shock

A then record crowd of 54,115 descended on the Emirates Stadium in North London for an opening weekend Women’s Super League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal,

Liverpool had been on a rotten away run in the WSL up to that point while the Gunners were looking to bounce back from early UEFA Women’s Champions League Heartbreak.

Jonas Eidevall’s side had been knocked out of Europe’s Premier Club Competition a full month before the WSL even got underway, losing on penalties to Paris FC.

Embed from Getty Images

Their team included new signing Alessia Russo, who started for the first time since her move from Manchester United, with fellow summer signings Cloe Lacasse, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Amanda Illestedt all featuring on opening day.

With the scores level at the break following sustained Arsenal pressure, Liverpool pounced, with Miri Taylor sliding the ball home three minutes after the restart from Missy Bo-Kearns’ cross to send the Liverpool away end into raptures.

Liverpool held on for a memorable win, their first away in the league since January 2020.

Arsenal, at that stage were on their worst run without scoring in the league in 2011-2012, three games without finding the back of the net.

Nine player Man City heartbroken by Chelsea

In just the second game week of the season, arguably the most chaotic game in the league’s thirteen season history occurred.

Two goals, two red cards and a 96th minute equaliser, it really had it all.

Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City took the lead early on, with Chloe Kelly opening the scoring in just the seventh minute, but barely half an hour later, the mood changed.

Alex Greenwood, who had been booked for a foul earlier in the first half, was then shown a second yellow card by Melissa Burgin for time wasting.

Embed from Getty Images

After the England international took 25 seconds to take a free kick, Burgin showed her a second yellow and in turn, her marching orders.

Laia Alexandri, Jill Roord and goalscorer Kelly were all booked for dissent, with the home crowd furious.

City had to dig in even more, when Lauren Hemp was shown the second red card of the game on 81 minutes after bringing a Lauren James run to an abrupt and illegal end.

City so very nearly got a memorable win, but Guro Reiten popped up to poke it home deep into added time.

Chelsea ended the game stunning a nine player Man City team in a true WSL classic.

Chelsea blown away at euphoric Emirates

In the driving December rain in North London, Arsenal returned to the Emirates with a point to prove.

It had the feel of a mammoth occasion, two titans of the English game slugging it out in front of over 59,000 supporters, one that will live long in the memory of the Gunners faithful.

Beth Mead got the scoring underway after just eight minutes, sending Ann Katrin Berger sliding across the turf before emphatically finishing into the top corner to start a scoring frenzy.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea got their foothold back just five minutes later, Jessie Fleming found Johanna Rytting Kaneryd out wide, who cut in and took Manuela Zinsberger by surprise, beating the Austrian at her near post.

Katrin Berger didn’t cover herself in glory for Arsenal’s second, dropping a corner which Amanda Illestedt pounced on to give her side their lead back.

Two minutes later, the roof came off the Emirates. Lia Walti found Alessia Russo with a stunning pass and two touches later, curled a beauty beyond a statuesque Berger to send Arsenal fans into raptures. Russo then added some gloss to the scoreline with a second half penalty.

The day ended smiles a plenty after a memorable afternoon in N5.

Historic derby day bragging rights

In the final game week before Christmas, Arsenal this time were on the end of a historic defeat to rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.

Martha Thomas capped off a stunning team counter attack which had six passes from the foot of goalkeeper Barbora Votikova, to the left boot of Thomas.

The passage of play ended as the Scot’s effort nestled into the corner to spark bedlam in North London.

Arsenal had a whole host of chances in that first half, most notably Caitlin Foord hitting the base of the post and the ball bouncing wide.

Embed from Getty Images

But it was goalkeeping heorics from Votikova on her WSL debut that kept the scores level.

After going behind, Jonas Eidevall threw on all his attacking talent, attacking stars Beth Mead, Alessia Russo, Caitlin Foord, Vivianne Miedema, Stina Blackstenius and Cloe Lacasse were all on the pitch at the same time.

Post game, this drew criticism from both fans and players, who were all frustrated at Eidevall’s lack of plan B.

Nothing could diminish Robert Vilahamn and his Spurs side that afternoon though, as they experienced an unprecedented post-game atmosphere around the women’s team in N17.

The Swede called it his most memorable moment in his debut season in England, and it’s easy to see why.

Ten goal thriller at Ashton Gate

Now, if you were to pick two teams to end with a 7-3 scoreline, it being 4-3 with just over a minute of added time to go, nobody in their wildest dreams would’ve picked Bristol City and Brighton.

With no disrespect to the sides that played out the highest scoring game of the season, it was simply a stunning occasion, which all inside Ashton Gate felt no doubt privileged to see.

Goals from Elisabeth Terland and Pauline Bremmer gave The Seagulls a two goal cushion at half time, with the second half going on to be chaos upon chaos.

Embed from Getty Images

Megan Connolly smashed The Robins back within one, but Terland’s second and Tatiana Pinto seemingly put the game out of reach, with Brighton 4-1 up on seventy minutes.

Brooke Aspin shovelled home from a corner for 4-2, before City stole the ball right from the restart, sliding it across to Amalie Thestrup who stroked home for 4-3 and stick the game back in the melting pot.

Madison Haley put Brighton back ahead on minute 89, tapping home a Katie Robinson cutback, before a Vicky Losada penalty and Robinson adding a seventh and final goal to the ultimate topsy turvy encounter.

‘Sockgate’ throws Arsenal off balance and out of the title race 

The game itself was done before the half, with Lauren James scoring and a Sjoeke Nusken brace at Stamford Bridge moving Chelsea six points clear of Arsenal.

Most of the talking occurred off the pitch, however, as around ten minutes before kick off, confusion filled the air with the announcement that the start would be delayed.

Embed from Getty Images

People were puzzled, but it soon came out that Arsenal had brought the wrong socks to go with their kit, and nobody had realised until the teams were about to head out.

In the end the Gunners’ kit team had to head to the Chelsea shop to buy the socks that went with The Blues’ away kit, to pair with their kit.

In a game that will go down in WSL folklore for everything to do with socks, on the pitch, Chelsea took a giant stride towards the title.

The night the title slipped away

Prenton Park witnessed a bonafide WSL classic towards the end of the season.

Four goals in the last thirteen minutes culminated in Chelsea boss Emma Hayes effectively conceding her side’s title hopes by the end of the game.

Aggie Beever-Jones headed Chelsea in front at nine minutes, and it stayed that way for the entire first half, with the Blues failing to capitalise on their early lead.

Liverpool levelled shortly after the break, when Sophie Haug prodded home from a corner and completed the turnaround just after the hour.

Another corner and another goal, with Marie Hobinger grabbing her second assist, as Gemma Bonner put the Reds in front on her 1150th Liverpool appearance.

If you thought the game was calming down after that though, you would be very wrong.

Embed from Getty Images

Beever-Jones got her second with ten minutes to go, seemingly putting all the impetus back on Chelsea, but their blank slate lasted less than sixty seconds.

Lianne Kiernan raced through from the restart to cooly slot past Hannah Hampton and give Liverpool the lead back.

Catarina Macario thumped in an equaliser, which would later be credited as a Tegan Micah own goal just two minutes later to level it up at 3-3.

Micah then redeemed herself, pulling out one of the saves of the season to deny Beever-Jones a hat trick.

There was still yet to be drama, as Gemma Bonner rose highest from a corner once again to head in her second goal, sparking pandemonium at Prenton Park and effectively conceding Chelsea’s title hopes.

The day the title twisted: part 1

On a stunning spring day as the WSL rolled into the month of May, Manchester City could take a giant stride towards the WSL title before Chelsea even kicked a ball.

Facing Arsenal at 2.15pm, Gareth Taylor’ side had a whole four and a half hours before Chelsea kicked off Emma Hayes’ Kingsmeadow farewell with Bristol City.

Lauren Hemp put City into an early lead in the Manchester sunshine, but crucially the game stayed at 1-0 until the eighty ninth minute.

Enter Stina Blackstenius.

Embed from Getty Images

The Swede, introduced on the hour mark in place of Kyra Cooney Cross, had that factor about her to cause the City defence problems.

The game looked to be petering out, but the Arsenal number 25 prodded home a bouncing ball from a corner in the 89th minute to peg City back and breathe small signs of life into the title race for Chelsea.

But she wasn’t done yet.

Kim Little floated a ball in, and Blackstenius spun off the back of Alanna Kennedy to nod it past a statuesque Khiara Keating, sealing a memorable win and a league double for Arsenal over City.

This victory also shifted the title race emphasis back to Chelsea.

The day the title twisted: part 2

With news of Arsenal’s comeback filtering through various social media channels, Chelsea knew what they had to do: win by at least six goals against an already relegated Bristol City to go into their final two games with a chance at WSL immortality.

The first half wasn’t vintage, but it was professional.

Guro Reiten got the scoring underway from the penalty spot just six minutes in, before rushing back to the centre circle, knowing goal difference would be a massive draw in the fixture.

Sjoeke Nusken, practically on the floor, diverted home Chelsea’s second, and the Blues went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Embed from Getty Images

The second half saw vintage Chelsea in full roar.

Beever-Jones and Reiten scored just before the hour to make it 4-0, with Chelsea still sensing more.

Reiten confirmed her hat trick with twenty minutes to go, before Niamh Charles made it five and the Norwegian bagged a fourth all in the space of seven minutes as Kingsmeadow watched on in disbelief.

Beever-Jones completed her brace and scored Chelsea’s eighth goal, in the biggest title race twist yet, putting the Blues in the driving seat ahead of the final day.

A fifth title in a row and a fairytale farewell

Chelsea’s massive win over Bristol City and then resulting win over Tottenham saw them head into the final day of the season top of the league, but Manchester City were breathing hard down their neck.

They travelled to Manchester United, knowing a win would secure them an unprecedented fifth Women’s Super League title in a row.

Within seven minutes, you may as well have started engraving Chelsea’s name on the trophy.

Embed from Getty Images

Mayra Ramirez and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd sparked carnage in the Chelsea away.

Ramirez, claiming to be only half fit, scored another goal, and Sjoeke Nusken, with the freedom of Old Trafford, slotted in Chelsea’s fourth in front of a shell-shocked Stretford End—all before the break.

Melanie Leupolz added a fifth, and perhaps the most fitting of all goal scorers, Fran Kirby, in her final game after nine years at Chelsea, coolly slotted home the sixth goal of a 6-0 win to seal the title on a fairytale final day for Emma Hayes and Chelsea.

Featured image courtesy of Jenny Chen.