Player ratings as top-of-the-table WSL clash finishes goalless – XenBet

The WSL title race remains tantalisingly poised after the table-topping clash between Chelsea and Arsenal finished 0-0.

The compelling encounter between the league’s top two featured everything but a goal, and leaves the Gunners two points clear of the Blues, although Emma Hayes’ side have a game in hand.

Calls for Arsenal to start both Vivianne Miedema and Stina Blackstenius were answered by Jonas Eidevall, and the Gunners’ new setup worked a treat in the first half, with the former pulling the strings in midfield and the latter stretching the Chelsea backline.

The Gunners enjoyed the better of the opening 45, with the best opportunity of the falling to Miedema, who clattered the post with a half-volley.

Chelsea burst out of the blocks in the second period and a frantic 45 minutes ensued. Caitlin Foord saw a goal-bound effort well blocked by Jess Carter following a free-flowing Arsenal move, and moments later there was chaos in the Arsenal box as Ji So-yun’s effort was spilled by Manuela Zinsberger.

Leah Williamson was fortunate to not concede a penalty in the dying stages as Niamh Charles’ cross appeared to strike the Arsenal defender’s arm in the box, but Chelsea’s protests were waved away as the game finished goalless.

Beth Mead, Jess Carter

Jess Carter started at right back for Chelsea / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Anne-Katrin Berger (GK) – 6/10 – Comfortably held onto Maanum’s second half effort in the only save she was forced into all evening.

Jonna Andersson (LB) – 7/10 – Fired inches wide in the early stages of the second half. Did a decent defensive job up against Beth Mead.

Mille Bright (CB) – 6/10 – Run a little bit ragged by Blackstenius in the first half but, as with the whole team, improved in the second half.

Aniek Nouwen (CB) – 6/10 – Struggled to contend with the movement of Blackstenius in the first half, but improved in the second half.

Jess Carter (RB) – 8/10 – Had a really good battle with Foord, following on from her impressive display against Lauren Hemp last time out. Produced an important block to deny the Australia international in the second half.

Caitlin Foord, Fran Kirby

Fran Kirby came back into the Chelsea side / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Guro Reiten (LM) – 6/10 – Missed a big chance for Chelsea in the second half, lacking a little bit of composure and firing straight at Zinsberger.

Sophie Ingle (CDM) – 6/10 – Struggled to contend with Arsenal’s fluid midfield three in the first half. Man-marked Miedema in the second half, limiting the Dutch international’s influence.

Erin Cuthbert (CM) – 6/10 – Her usual energetic self, but did see Chelsea overrun by Arsenal’s dynamic midfield in the first half. Forced off with injury just before the hour mark.

Fran Kirby (RM) – 5/10 – Blazed a half chance over during the opening exchanges. Unable to have her usual telling impact on the game, replaced in the final 10 minutes.

Lia Walti, Pernille Harder

Pernille Harder lined up in a Chelsea front two / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Pernille Harder (ST) – 6/10 – Singlehandedly carved out a big chance for Kerr in the second half, from which the Australian striker should have scored

Sam Kerr (ST) – 6/10 – Should have opened the scoring early in the second period, but failed to make contact with Harder’s cross. Full of running all evening but unable to add to her goal tally.

Ji So-yun – 6/10

Niamh Charles – 6/10

Jessie Fleming – 5/10

Manuela Zinsberger

Zinsberger kept a clean sheet for Arsenal / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Manuela Zinsberger (GK) – 6/10 – Off her line quickly to claim the ball at the feet of the onrushing Kirby in the first half. Put her side in trouble by spilling Ji’s effort in the second half and was fortunate to not be punished.

Steph Catley (LB) – 7/10 – Produced a huge first half block to deny a goal-bound Kerr effort at point blank range.

Rafaelle (CB) – 7/10 – Popped up with an important bit of defending on the cusp of half time to prevent Harder from having a free header at goal. Replaced after 70 minutes.

Leah Williamson (CB) – 7/10 – Really showed off her effortless passing ability with a selection pinpoint pick outs from the back. Fortunate to not concede a penalty at the death.

Noelle Maritz (RB) – 6/10 – Her usual solid self, helping to keep Chelsea’s illustrious forward line largely at bay. Replaced in the latter stages.

Fran Kirby, Vivianne Miedema

Miedema started in a deeper midfield role / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Lia Walti (CDM) – 6/10 – Fired a half chance from the edge of the area over following a slick Arsenal move.

Kim Little (CM) – 8/10 – Heavily involved due to her willingness to collect the ball off the back four and her reading of the game, frequently intercepting loose Chelsea passes. So efficient in possession and ridiculously good in tight spaces.

Vivianne Miedema (AM) – 6/10 – Deployed in the number 10 role from the start, utilising her ability to drop deep, receive the ball and kickstart attacks. Clattered the post with a sweetly struck half-volley in the first period. Instrumental in the first half, quieter in the second. Forced off with injury late on.

Jess Carter, Caitlin Foord

Foord and Carter enjoyed a fascinating battle / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Caitlin Foord (LW) – 7/10 – An absolute live wire all evening. Picked out Blackstenius with a perfect cross on the stroke of half time, from which the Sweden striker should have done better.

Stina Blackstenius (ST) – 7/10 – Led the line impressively with her ability to both run in behind and hold up play. Headed a good chance over in the first half when unmarked in the Chelsea box. Caused problems in the first half, quieter in the second.

Beth Mead (RW) – 6/10 – Worked her socks off but had limited opportunities high up the pitch to utilise her strong delivery – which was telling in a game where a quality final ball was at times lacking. Came off with 20 minutes remaining.

Nikita Parris – 5/10

Laura Wienroither – 5/10

Frida Maanum – 6/10

Jordan Nobbs – N/A

Source of the article

Author: Heidi Porter