Arsenal win first Women’s Super League title after beating Liverpool

Powered by article titled “Arsenal win first Women’s Super League title after beating Liverpool” was written by Tony Leighton, for The Guardian on Sunday 28th August 2011 20.01 UTC

It is not all doom and gloom for Arsenal, as their ladies team proved on Sunday. After winning seven successive Premier League titles, Arsenal became champions of the Super League – the first semi-professional, summer-based competition in the women’s game – on the final day of its inaugural season.

A 3-1 win at Liverpool not only gave Arsenal the title but consigned their opponents to bottom place. The runners-up, Birmingham City, who drew 2-2 at Doncaster Belles, at least gave the Gunners a run for their money. Blues topped the table from their opening match until Arsenal edged ahead of them last week in their penultimate game, a 1-0 win against third-placed Everton.

“The WSL has certainly been more competitive than the Premier League was,” said the Arsenal manager, Laura Harvey. “Until the last couple of weeks there were three teams in with a chance of winning it and, if we’d slipped up today, Birmingham could have gone past us. Fitness levels, organisation and the quality of play have all improved and, with the country’s best players spread around the eight clubs, every match is tough.”

Harvey’s assessment is borne out through Arsenal’s record of having dropped more points than in any of their seven straight Premier League successes and having lost more than once in a league season for the first time since the 2002-03 WPL campaign.

Birmingham and Everton, who ended their season with a 3-1 win at Chelsea, were the teams that beat the Gunners. Lincoln finished fourth after their 3-1 win against Bristol.

“The league has gone better than my expectations,” said the WSL chairman, Michael Game. “The matches have been of a high quality and extremely competitive and attendances have been very good. The challenge now is to keep it going and hopefully improve on those levels and that’s going to be important for the long-term future of the women’s game.”

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