Chelsea are no longer the ‘nearly team’

Lioness Eni Aluko has faith the league title is within Chelsea’s grasp on this final day of the season. Once again the FA Women’s Super League comes down to the last game. Once again Chelsea are favourites to win.

“Absolutely, in our dressing room we believe that we can win the league,” said Aluko. “That was our aim at the beginning of the season.

“We are in the title race and I think if we play the way we know we can, we can be successful. The team is certainly confident that we can do it.”

The Chelsea forward, who is also a qualified sports and entertainment lawyer, says that beating Notts County 1-0 in the FA Cup final in August gave the girls an appetite to add league success.

“We received a great reception from our fans when we returned to Stamford Bridge after the FA Cup final and it has made us even hungrier to try and push on for the league, to have something else to celebrate with our fans.

“It was the first trophy in our history and it has definitely kept us going throughout the remainder of the season. We’ve had a lot of criticism about being a team who are a nearly team, and we did it, we got our first trophy and hopefully that’s the first of many now,” said the girl who has enjoyed an impressive run of form for both Chelsea and England this year.

Chelsea have bred a winning mentality under the leadership of manager Emma Hayes, who has created a trusting and ambitious environment.

As Hayes explains, every player within the squad maintains a mentality, which enables Chelsea to dominate across all competitions.

“All of the girls are winners and that is what sets them apart. They are all incredibly driven to win trophies. The work they put into achieving success, both individually and collectively, is why Chelsea are competitive on all fronts.”

If they are crowned champions, it will be by a significant margin their greatest season. FA Cup success in front of a record crowd at Wembley has combined neatly with a top-of-the-table position heading into the final-day showdown with Manchester City for the league title and Champions League qualification.

If Chelsea, who are two points clear, beat Sunderland Ladies they will have ticked every box on Hayes’s wish list. They will also have put last season’s devastating title loss to Liverpool on goal difference well and truly behind them.

Given their most recent performances, which include a 4-0 away win over Liverpool, Chelsea look more than capable of landing the Double this season. The squad is littered with Lionesses who have used England’s World Cup bronze-medal success to the team’s advantage.

Drawing from an increase in crowds at all of the WSL games since the return from World Cup duty of Katie Chapman, Claire Rafferty, Eni Aluko and recent signing Fran Kirby, Chelsea have pushed on through the second half of the season with a real intent to develop a reputation as the best women’s team in the country.

Watch all the action from the conclusion of the FA WSL title race live on BT Sport 1 from 5.30pm on Sunday, October 4: leaders Chelsea Ladies v Sunderland Ladies, and second-placed Manchester City Women v Notts County Ladies, both kick off at 6pm.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Joyce 2Megan Joyce is an English Literature graduate from Queen’s University, Belfast, with an MA in Sports Journalism from St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. She covered all sports for a variety of media organisations while in Belfast, and currently blogs for BT Sport Rugby and writes for The Rugby Football League. Megan is reporting on Chelsea Ladies football team this season. Megan’s latest articles.

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