Things to look out for on the final day of the 2020/21 WSL season

The 2020/21 Women’s Super League season draws to a close on Sunday 9 May, with all 12 clubs playing simultaneously on the final day of the campaign.

There is still plenty to play up and down the table, from the bottom to the very top. Here’s a look at several key things to look out for ahead of the action.

4. Joe Montemurro departs

Joe Montemurro is stepping down as Arsenal manager | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Joe Montemurro’s last act as Arsenal manager before stepping down at the end of the month will be to deliver Champions League football to the Gunners for next season.

Arsenal recovered from a poor mid-season blip and have won their last eight WSL games in a row, conceding only once in the process. It has brought Montemurro consecutive Manager of the Month awards and has seen them reel in Manchester United to get into the top three and reap the lucrative financial rewards of a revamped Champions League for 2021/22.

Arsenal have not mathematically secured third place but their three point cushion over United combined with a goal difference that is superior by 26 means it is basically already guaranteed.

Montemurro, who was appointed in 2017 and won the WSL title in his first full season, is walking away so he can take a break from football to spend more time with his family.

3. Fara Williams’ last ever game

England legend Fara Williams is retiring | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Sunday marks the final time that Fara Williams will step onto a pitch, bringing down the curtain on a legendary career that has spanned more than 20 years as she retires.

Rather fittingly, England’s most capped player of all time will line up for Reading in her last ever game against Chelsea, her first club.

Williams, who was presented with an MBE for services to football and charity in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list, was given a guard of honour last weekend at the Madejski Stadium ahead of what was Reading’s final home game of the season.

Reading are vying for a place in the top half of the table.

Read: The best moments of Fara Williams' glittering career

2. Relegation battle

Bristol City need to win and hope other results go in their favour | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Mathematically speaking, four clubs can still finish bottom and fall through the trap door to the Women’s Championship, although West Ham are pretty much guaranteed that it won’t be them because it would require an impossibly large 35-goal swing on the goal difference.

But for Aston Villa and Birmingham, who start the day above the relegation zone ahead of Bristol City, the danger is still very real. The gap is just two points and victory for Bristol could relegate either one of them if they don’t pick up points of their own.

If Bristol fail to win away at Brighton, they will be relegated regardless of other results. But if they get that result – they won 3-0 in the reverse fixture in January – it is game on.

Villa and Birmingham at least have their respective destiny in their own hands. Bristol’s vastly inferior goal difference means that just a point for each on the final day would be sufficient.

However, that is a big ask of Villa, who travel to a rampant Arsenal side that has won eight WSL games on the bounce. Birmingham have a more favourable task at home to Tottenham.

Most likely outcome: Bristol City are relegated

1. Title race

Chelsea are in the driving seat in the WSL title race ahead of Man City | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Chelsea won their outstanding game in hand against Tottenham in midweek, meaning they will be crowned WSL champions on Sunday as long as they match Manchester City’s result.

The Blues, who won last season’s title on average points per game after the campaign was abandoned, have been top since leapfrogging Manchester United in January and would have wanted it to be this way, going into the final day in control of their own destiny.

Victory at home against Reading, which is to be expected, will guarantee a fourth WSL title in the space of six seasons, regardless of what City do against West Ham. Chelsea will not want to entertain dropping points because that would open the door and give City a late chance.

These two exceptional teams have lost only two WSL games between them all season, but nothing can be taken for granted so close to the finish line. Chelsea in particular will know that because they were stunned at home by Brighton in February.

Most likely outcome: Chelsea are crowned champions

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Source : 90min