Chelsea usurped Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Women’s Super League with victory over West Ham, while Arsenal boosted their European hopes with victory over Everton.
Chelsea firmly put themselves in pole position to claim a fourth straight Barclays Women’s Super League title after sealing a 4-0 over West Ham United on Wednesday night.
Goals from Niamh Charles, Pernille Harder, Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert saw them move two points ahead of Manchester United in the BWSL table, with just two matches left for both sides.
Earlier in the evening, Arsenal had put themselves in pole position to finish in third and seal European football after a comfortable 4-1 win over Everton.
Caitlin Foord’s double and efforts from Katie McCabe and Lotte Wubben-Moy – all in the first half – saw them ease their way to a victory that puts space between them and Manchester City.
Chelsea strengthen position in title race
Chelsea were a point behind Manchester United – who they beat in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup final just three days ago – in the BWSL table, but had a game in hand on the Red Devils.
And they made their intentions clear early on against an out-of-form West Ham side, dictating play early on.
It took just 13 minutes for the Blues to take the lead, with Charles – making her 100th BWSL appearance – tapping home from close range after Sam Kerr’s initial shot was blocked on the line.
It was nearly 2-0 ten minutes later when Harder struck from ten yards out, only for Hammers ‘keeper Mackenzie Arnold to force a corner with a stunning stop that kept her side in contention.
There were some positive signs for the hosts in the opening 45 minutes, seeing plenty of the ball but ultimately unable to create any real opportunities that tested Zecira Musovic in the Chelsea goal.
However chances of a home victory decreased dramatically just three minutes into the second period, with Harder continuing her stunning recent form as she fired an angled shot from 12 yards out into the back of the net.
With 25 minutes to go Ingle sealed all three points for the visitors, nodding home from close range to make it 3-0.
And substitute Cuthbert rounded off proceedings with a stunning long-range strike which rifled its way past Arnold and into the roof of the net.
Victory sees Chelsea sit on 52 points, and know that victories in their final two matches will see them claim the title.
Arsenal continue recent strong form
Arsenal knew that victory would boost their European hopes and keep their slim title chances alive, and a stunning display did both those things.
It was just before the half-hour mark when the Gunners pounced, the ball being won off Everton’s defence and being fed into Foord, who scooped the ball past Emily Ramsey.
And it took just four minutes for the visitors to double their lead, McCabe’s low strike from 25 yards passing the outstretched palm of Ramsey and nestling in the back of the net.
Arsenal’s newfound dominance was cemented in the 39th minute when Foord’s second of the night made it 3-0, the Australian heading home after Ramsey had saved Stina Blackstenius’ initial header.
Lotte Wubben-Moy put the result beyond any doubt as she added a fourth in the 42nd minute, heading home from McCabe’s corner.
Just three minutes into the second half Aggie Beever-Jones was sent off for Everton after a tackle on Lia Walti, which saw the Swiss international taken off the pitch on a stretcher.
Everton secured a late consolation with Katja Snoeijs heading home from a corner, but there was rarely any doubt that the visitors would take all three points.
Three points mean that the Gunners are now three points ahead of fourth-placed Manchester City in the table, putting them in a strong position to claim Champions League football next season.