Growing Domestic Competition Will Only Boost Chelsea's Champions League Hopes

Chelsea are involved in an exciting title race in the Women's Super League
14:01, 26 Jan 2023

Over the past few years English football has been dominated by Emma Hayes’ Chelsea with multiple Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Cup and Continental Cup titles to their name. The Blues are on the hunt for a fourth successive league triumph and are currently involved in a title race alongside Manchester United and Arsenal that is more thrilling than ever.

Wednesday evening saw Chelsea progress to the Continental Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Star striker Sam Kerr netted twice to take her tally to 13 for the season across all competitions. Although there was a lot of frustration at the weekend after the Blues’ league meeting with Liverpool at Kingsmeadow was abandoned after five minutes for a frozen pitch, Hayes’ players will get another crack at the Reds this weekend in the FA Cup Fourth Round.

Over on the continent, Chelsea are awaiting to find out who they will be facing in the Champions League quarter-finals with the draw scheduled to take place on Friday 10 February. While it’s still early days, the idea of a quadruple-winning season is very much on the cards for Chelsea this year, and although Hayes and her players would be delighted to continue their domestic dominance, it is clear that they would love to get their hands on their first title in Europe's premiere competition.


The closest the Blues have come to becoming the champions of Europe came in 2020-21 when they were well beaten by Spanish giants Barcelona in the final. Some have argued that what has been holding Chelsea back in their quest for glory on the continent is they have faced a lack of significant competition at home. Since 2017-18, when Hayes secured her second WSL title, Chelsea have won 9 out of the 15 domestic honours available with Manchester City and Arsenal the other teams to lift silverware during this period.

As we are seeing in the WSL this term, the division is starting to evolve and there are arguably four sides involved in this year's title race. Marc Skinner’s Manchester United have developed into a threat thanks to some smart recruitment and investment over the past couple of years. Arsenal pushed Chelsea all the way in 2021-22 under Jonas Eidevall and they are still showing that they can reach new levels under the Swedish coach as they too have reached the Champions League knockout stages.

Each of these three sides have lost just once in the league this season and Arsenal have a game in hand with the potential to join their rivals on 28 points. We’re still unsure of where Manchester City are under Gareth Taylor but we saw them have a strong finish in the league last year so they cannot be written off just yet.

Though they aren't in the title race this season, Aston Villa are another side on the rise. The Midlands club have been making huge strides over the past 18 months especially after the appointment of Carla Ward, who they nabbed from rivals Birmingham City. Ward has proven to be a strong appointment for Villa and they are starting to shape up as a side that will challenge the big dogs at the top very soon. They have made some excellent signings in recent windows including England international Rachel Daly, Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth. Each of them are players with the experience and calibre to help turn Villa into a frightening force in the WSL.

In the blink of an eye, Chelsea’s domestic rivals have strengthened and are now offering much more competition to the Blues than what we have seen in recent years. The Blues haven’t weakened, it’s just that the chasing pack are starting to catch up.

This growing threat will only spur Hayes and her squad to evolve themselves and become even more brilliant. Adding more tough fixtures and tests back home will only help Chelsea’s chances of fulfilling their European ambitions in the future.

Chelsea are 1/2 to win the WSL with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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