Report: United Women 0 Chelsea 6

Saturday 18 May 2024 17:30

A tough afternoon at Old Trafford saw Manchester United Women defeated 6-0 by Chelsea in our final league game of the season, a result which saw the Blues lift the WSL title.

The Reds arrived to glorious sunshine in M16 for our final bout of 2023/24, a game which also represented Emma Hayes's last as Chelsea boss, before she crosses the pond to begin her role as United States Women's National Team head coach.

There was a jubilant atmosphere around the Theatre of Dreams following our FA Cup success last weekend - our first major silverware since the team reformed in 2018 - but the WSL was still on the line for the visitors, having headed into the match level on points with our cross-town rivals Manchester City.

That meant the Blues were in business mode, and with less than 120 seconds on the clock they took the lead through a Mayra Ramirez header, before doubling their lead through Johanna Kaneryd inside 10 minutes. Substitute Sjoeke Nusken made matters worse with 44 minutes gone, before Ramirez claimed her brace just ahead of referee Rebecca Welch's half-time whistle.

After the interval the outlook did not improve for the Reds, with goals from Melanie Leupolz and Fran Kirby confirming the Blues' WSL title win, and an afternoon to forget for United.

Your final Reds XI of the 2023/24 campaign.


With the game opening to the sound of a lively Old Trafford crowd, it was Chelsea who took advantage of Marc Skinner's adjusting side. Guro Reiten rushed down the left flank and floated a cross towards a rising Ramirez to nod home two minutes into the game.

Things went from bad to worse when the Blues seized possession from a Mary Earps goal-kick. It was Ramirez on the scene once again to set Kaneryd through on goal and the opposition's no.19 managed to slide a finish past Earps before the 10-minute mark.

There was now a mountain to climb for the Reds following a difficult start, but our players looked to find a way back into the contest. In the 20th minute, captain Katie Zelem delivered a corner to the near post that was met determinedly by Maya Le Tissier. Her contact was perfect, but the header was directed a fraction too high and clattered off the bar to prevent the beginnings of a United comeback.

The Reds were showing more attacking intent in the latter half of the opening 45 minutes, but were struggling to find that final killer pass to unlock the Blues' defence.

Skinner's side were likely regretting not making some of that first-half pressure count when Ramirez picked up the ball on the right wing and powered towards the Stretford End, turning provider to slip a cut-back through the Reds' defence which was tapped in by substitute Nusken.

Hopes of keeping the arrears at three heading into the breaking were dashed in stoppage time, when Ramirez picked up the ball once more outside the box, before driving towards goal and capping a dominate opening-half performance from the visitors, claiming her second and Chelsea's fourth goal of the game.

United defender Maya Le Tissier came closest to mounting a comeback midway through the first half.


The game resumed in a similar fashion to the way it had started around an hour earlier, when Kaneryd rushed through United's defence towards Mary Earps. Our goalkeeper managed to block that effort and it looked as though the Reds had managed to scramble the rebound away after a meeting with the post, but possession was collected on the byline by Reiten and fizzed back into the middle for Leupolz to claim the fifth.

Skinner brought on Geyse and Hinata Miyazawa in an attempt to liven up the attack and reduce the deficit, and the two almost combined with 15 minutes left in the game to provide a consolation goal, but Chelsea goalkeeper Zecira Musovic rushed out to intercept an intended interchange.

Another two late subs saw Nikita Parris and Gemma Evans enter the field, and United were getting forward in flashes more regularly as the game was coming to an end, but could not create any real danger in front of the visitors' goal.

Lucia Garcia kept running until the final whistle to try and reduce the arrears.

The Blues notched a sixth with five minutes of regular time remaining, substitue Fran Kirby latching on to a threaded midfield pass before placing it beyond Earps.

Garcia had an opportunity to nab one back minutes later when she brought down a lofted ball with a deft touch, but fired the resulting shot over the bar.

It was a difficult way to the season for Skinner's side, in sharp contrast to the FA Cup success at Wembley of the previous week, and a result that will be best put behind the Reds as we head into the summer break.

A tough afternoon at Old Trafford. Thank you for your support, Reds.


United: Earps; Riviere (Evans 77), Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell (Mannion 46); Zelem, Naalsund (Hinata 66); Malard (Geyse 66), Toone, Garcia; Williams (Parris 77).

Unused substitutes: Tullis-Joyce, Rabjohn, Ladd, Guerrero.

Bookings: Garcia. 

Chelsea: Musovic; Carter, Bright, Bjorn, Charles; Kaneryd, Cuthbert (Kirby 72), Leupolz (Ingle 58), Reiten (Lawrence 72); Ramirez (Beever-Jones 57), Macario (Nusken 41)

Unused substitutes: Hampton, Buchanan, Hamano, James. 

Goals: Ramirez 2, 45+2, Kaneryd 8, Nusken 44, Leupolz 47, Kirby 85.