Women's Super League
West Ham United F.C
Blackstenius 60 Catley 66
Arsenal win at West Ham, but rivals claim WSL title
- Credit: PA
Arsenal ended the Super League season with a win over hard-working West Ham, but it was not enough as Chelsea claimed the title.
Jonas Eidevall's side needed help from Manchester United to deny their rivals at the top of the table and, for a time, they were getting it.
But Chelsea came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 to be crowned champions once again, as the Gunners - having finally seen off their hosts in the east London sunshine - had to settle for second best.
Space opened up for Katie McCabe inside the box within the first two minutes but Hawa Cissoko produced a vital tackle to deny the Irish international.
And a trip by Noelle Maritz on Zaneta Wyne earned her a yellow card on six minutes, but Adriana Leon's free-kick was beyond Dagny Brynjarsdottir at the far post.
Cissoko deflected a shot from Caitlin Foord behind, from Vivianne Miedema's pass, and the Dutchwoman played her Australian teammate through again moments later, but a low shot was comfortably saved at the foot of the post by Mackenzie Arnold.
West Ham, already 12 points better off than last season, looked dangerous on the counter, though, and Kate Longhurst - having been presented with a special jersey to mark her 100th appearance for the club - fizzed over a cross from Leon's short free-kick on the right, which the Arsenal defence did well to clear.
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A nice headed pass by Foord sent Beth Mead bursting into the box and her shot was too hot for Arnold to handle, with Mead then glancing a header wide when the ball was sent back into the box.
Mead had penalty claims ignored after going down just inside the area, with Foord seeing a left-footed shot smothered by Arnold, and the Gunners went closest yet on 24 minutes when Lotte Wubben-Moy carried the ball forward and Kim Little picked out Mead on the left, but her shot flew just over the angle of post and crossbar.
Manuela Zinsberger needed treatment on her right ankle, the result of a strong challenge with Brynjarsdottir just outside the area a few minutes earlier, with both sets of players taking the opportunity to get some fluids on a warm afternoon.
Mead then got a clear run at goal on the right but, in trying to pick out Miedema, saw Gilly Flaherty divert the ball behind for a corner.
And when Mead, Little and Martiz combined well on the right to fashion an opening for Miedema, the home defence converged again to block the attempt.
With news of Chelsea being behind against Manchester United reaching the Arsenal supporters in the stand behind West Ham's goal, the visitors saw Miedema beat Longhurst on the left and cross to the far post, but the ball bounced off the thigh of Foord and a subsequent shot from Miedema was saved by Arnold as the scoreline remained blank at the break.
Arsenal were back on the front foot straight after the restart, with Foord's header from a Mead free-kick and McCabe's follow-up both blocked.
And Cissoko came up with another vital block to deny Foord after Miedema found her in the box following a quick breaking attack from halfway.
Miedema was next to be thwarted by the claret and blue wall as her shot on the turn from McCabe's left-wing cross was blocked.
And Brynjarsdottir was booked for a blatant pull on Little as the Scottish international looked to break from halfway, adding to Arsenal's frustrations.
Foord made way for Stina Blackstenius just before the hour and the Swede made the breakthrough almost immediately, receiving a pass from Miedema and sliding the ball into the bottom corner.
Having waited an hour to get in front, it was almost 2-0 a minute later as Blackstenius found Mead on the left and she drove into the box beyond Cissoko and fired a left-footed shot against the crossbar.
Then Miedema cut in from the right and sent a left-footed shot into the side netting, before Arsenal doubled their advantage through Catley, who fired in off the underside of the crossbar.
Brynjarsdottir headed wide from Leon's corner on 73 minutes, as West Ham looked to get back into the game, with Katerina Svitkova seeing a shot from the edge of the box deflected over seconds later.
Leon's free-kick from the left was headed against the crossbar by Flaherty in a crowded Arsenal box with a quarter of an hour left, with West Ham boss Olli Harder making a triple change in the closing stages.
But the hosts were unable to find a consolation, while Arsenal's win - after the excellent Miedema made way for Frida Maanum at the end of normal time and Nikita Parris was denied a third by Flaherty's goalline clearance - was little comfort to them in the grand scheme of things as Chelsea claimed the title on the other side of the capital.
West Ham United: Arnold, Wyne, Flaherty, Walker (Filis 82), Longhurst (Joel 84), Yallop, Hasegawa, Leon, Fisk, Cissoko (Garrad 84), Brynjarsdottir (Houssein 84).
Unused subs: Moore, Stinger, Svitkova, Cairns.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Catley, Mead (Parris 82), Little, Miedema (Maanum 90), Walti, McCabe, Maritz, Foord (Blackstenius 59).
Unused subs: Williams, Beattie, Boye, Iwabuchi, Wienroither, Cull.
Referee: Emily Heaslip.