Chelsea sealed their sixth Women’s Super League title on an enthralling final day – but it wasn’t without a fright.
Emma Hayes’ side trailed 2-1 at half-time and looked like giving up their season-long dominance of the division at the last.
But three second-half goals saw them land their third title in a row at the expense of Arsenal, whose finished one point adrift of the Blues despite their 2-0 win at West Ham.
Chelsea had begun the day knowing that if they won their match against Manchester United, there would be nothing Jonas Eidevall’s Gunners could do to stop them taking the title.
But they got off to the worst possible start at Kingsmeadow as United took the lead on 13 minutes through Martha Thomas, who headed in from Katie Zelem’s free kick.
However that state of affairs didn’t last long as the Blues equalised five minutes later through Erin Cuthbert, who volleyed home into the corner.
The twists and turns kept coming though as Chelsea went behind again, United’s Ella Toone converting Leah Galton’s cross on 25 minutes.
With Arsenal drawing 0-0 with West Ham at this point, the Gunners were in pole position for the title.
But in the second half, Chelsea turned on the afterburners to roar out of the blocks, scoring twice in five minutes.
First Sam Kerr swung the title pendulum back her team’s way, hitting the ball high and beyond Mary Earps to equalise just moments after the resumption.
The home support were now in fine voice, and a third arrived shortly afterwards as Chelsea went ahead for the first time through Guro Reiten, who was on hand to tap in Beth England’s pass.
It had taken 51 minutes, but finally the Blues were in control of their own destiny.
However, nerves were still fraying as Arsenal – having struggled to break down an obdurate Hammers defence – finally did so, Vivianne Miedema playing through Stina Blackstenius who finished coolly to give her side the lead.
One goal from United would therefore have changed everything, especially as Arsenal then solidified their position by adding a second through Steph Catley.
However just seconds later, it looked to be all over as Chelsea strode into a 4-2 lead thanks to Kerr’s sensational second, a long-range finish over a stranded Earps.
There was to be no further change to the scoreline in either game and in the end Chelsea could afford to relax ahead of the full-time whistle, which was greeted by fervent celebrations among their fans.
In the day’s other games, Manchester City secured third place in the final standings and a place in next season’s Champions League by beating Reading 4-0.
Already-relegated Birmingham beat Aston Villa 1-0, while Tottenham beat Leicester 1-0 and Brighton and Everton played out a 1-1 draw.