Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: Player ratings as Gunners dealt harsh final day defeat

Aston Villa stunned Arsenal
Aston Villa stunned Arsenal / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

FROM MEADOW PARK - In a final day thriller, Aston Villa clinched a 2-0 win after at the end of a stellar WSL season, dealing Arsenal one last harsh blow.

Strikes from Rachel Daly and Alisha Lehmann sealed the visitors' final win of the season in a frustrating match for the home side at a sunny Meadow Park.

While the result made little impact on the standings - Arsenal staying in third and Villa sealing fifth place - it spoke to just how much significant progress Carla Ward's side have made this season, proving they can compete with the top teams in the WSL.

Arsenal were dominant in the first eight minutes, with an opportune chance for Stina Blackstenius narrowly missing the goal after some imperative intervening from Aston Villa full-back Maz Pacheco.

With another wonder strike from Katie McCabe sailing just wide of the goal, frustrations from the home side were beginning to build. Kirsty Hanson was proving a problem on the flank, which Villa have used to their benefit all season.

The first half wavered in possession and press, with both teams in need of being more creative in front of goal. Jodie Taylor earned the first booking of the afternoon as the matchup began to even out.

The midfield battle between Victoria Pelova and Laure Blindkilde-Brown was dominating the pace of the game, both proving a menace for the other as Arsenal struggled to capitalise on their chances in the final third.

Frida Maanum forced a big save from visiting keeper Hannah Hampton as the north London side looked to press the visitors at the end of the first half.

On the turn of half-time, a scramble in the box saw Golden Boot leader Daly slot home against the run of play.

The pressure was on for the Gunners to overturn a 1-0 deficit. However, a lapse in communication at the back meant Lehmann managed to slot the ball past Sabrina D'Angelo to double Villa's lead just after the restart.

Another nervy moment for Arsenal nearly gifted Daly a brace but the star striker sent a sitter just over the top.

Aston Villa’s ability to get bodies back was proving vital in denying Arsenal a way back into the game.

Arsenal were unable to get on the scoresheet but wrapped up third place and a return to the Champions League regardless.

Arsenal player ratings (3-4-2-1)

GK: Sabrina D'Angelo- 5/10 - Not as controlled nor comfortable as seen previously.

CB: Jen Beattie- 6/10 - Struggled to prevent a consistent press from Villa,

CB: Lotte Wubben-Moy - 6/10 - Had one of her better performances for the Gunners this season. Made some important challenges and did well to prevent more chances though did have a few nervy moments.

CB: Rafaelle - 8/10 - Provided an attacking option pressing forward that proved effective in her farewell performance.

RM: Noelle Maritz - 7/10- Did well to contain Hanson at times but removed her from attacking co-stars on various occasions.

CM: Victoria Pelova - 8/10- Controlled the midfield, causing problems for numerous Villa players.

CM: Frida Maanum - 7/10- Made good runs but struggled to convert the chances.

LM: Steph Catley - 7/10- Provided extra attacking options but struggled to contain the wingers at times.

RW: Jodie Taylor- 6/10 - Used her pace well but struggled to find a way through.

ST: Stina Blackstenius - 6/10- Struggled to take chances but did well-finding space in amongst a congested box, subbed at half-time.

LW: Katie McCabe - 6/10 - Was called into defend more, removing her as an attacking option. Broke through on several occasions but struggled to make anything come from it.


Katherine Kuhl (46' for Blackstenius) - 5/10- Played passed in the final third too slow and held up pace.

Gio (81' for Taylor) - N/A


Jonas Eidevall - 6/10- Struggled with creativity and ran out of sub options to find a way back into the game.

Aston Villa Player Ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Hannah Hampton - 6/10 - Had little to do but did well to keep a clean sheet.

RB: Sarah Mayling - 7/10- Did well to contain the wingers but was nullified going forward.

CB: Rachel Corsie- 6/10 - Held the backline together, stopping Arsenal from finding a way through.

CB: Danielle Turner- 6/10 - Did well to prevent Arsenal a way back into the game.

LB: Maz Pacheco- 7/10 - Did well in the linkup with Hanson, managed to contain McCabe well.

CM: Kirsty Hanson- 8/10 - Caused a lot of problems in the channels and on the wing.

CM: Lucy Staniforth - 7/10 - Did well defensively to stop Arsenal forwards breaking into the box.

CM: Remi Allen - 6/10 - Was kept relatively quiet but maintained good possession for Arsenal.

RW: Laura Blindkilde-Brown - 7/10- Used as an attacking player very well, given far too much space to run at times.

CF: Rachel Daly - 8/10 - Inevitable that she would get a goal. Winner of the Golden Boot.

LW: Alisha Lehmann - 7/10- Caused Catley trouble, ultimately doubling her side's lead in the second half.


Simone Magill (66' for Staniforth)- 6/10- Gave away a cheap foul but did well slotting into the midfield battle.


Carla Ward - 8/10 - Ended a spectacular season on another high.

Player of the match: Rafaelle