Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd: Player ratings as Gunners rescue point in WSL title race

Jamie Spencer
Man Utd were disappointed not to beat Arsenal
Man Utd were disappointed not to beat Arsenal / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Arsenal rescued a late draw against Manchester United after being reduced to 10 players when Katie McCabe was sent off in a tense clash at the top of the WSL.

Alessia Russo gave United an early lead with a bullet header from a corner, but Vivianne Miedema showed just why she is so important for Arsenal when she played a world-class pass for substitute Stina Blackstenius to equalise in the closing stages.

Ella Toone’s one-on-one miss at 1-0 in the second half proved to be a turning point.

With United ahead in the opening stages, Mary Earps preserved the lead soon after with a fingertip save that diverted Miedema’s fierce shot onto the crossbar. The Gunners were in control of the ball and created chances but couldn’t find a way to properly test Earps again before the interval.

The visitors, meanwhile, remained a danger on the counter attack and at set-pieces. Russo in particular had more half chances from corners similar to the one she had already scored from.

Early in the second half, it was Russo’s turn to be hero at the other end, turning the ball away on her own goal-line when Jennifer Beattie connected with a deep Arsenal corner. Earps made another big save just shy of the hour mark when she parried a far-post volley from substitute Caitlin Foord.

Frustrations were starting to show among Arsenal players and boss Jonas Eidevall went for broke when he withdrew Beattie for Blackstenius.

United should have doubled their lead with 20 minutes to go when a rapid counter attack put Toone through on goal, only for her to send the ball marginally wide of the post. The young England star looked visibly shaken by it and was also soon made to regret her miss.

Arsenal were reduced to 10 players before managing to get back level as a result of McCabe’s dismissal. But when dropped deep searching for the ball, she picked an inch-perfect pass that split the United defence and allowed Blackstenius to slot past a helpless Earps.

Arsenal player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Katie McCabe was sent off in the second half
Katie McCabe was sent off in the second half / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Manuela Zinsberger (GK) - 6/10 - Wasn't particularly commanding when United took the lead but made other good claims.

Noelle Maritz (RB) - 6/10 - Covered plenty of ground on the right flank.

Jennifer Beattie (CB) - 5/10 - Occasionally sloppy in possession but had chances to score at set-pieces.

Steph Catley (CB) - 5/10 - Filled in as an emergency centre-back.

Katie McCabe (LB) - 4/10 - Has played her best football this season when deployed further forward and was understandably limited. Played on the edge and it worked against when she picked up two yellow cards.

2. Midfielders

Arsenal were pressed in midfield
Arsenal were pressed in midfield / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Kim Little (CM) - 6/10 - Looked the most likely source of midfield creativity and set up a good chance for Foord but was in and out of the game.

Lia Walti (CM) - 5/10 - Had plenty of the ball but United's stifling tactics made using it difficult. Dropped back into defence in the second half

Jordan Nobbs (CM) - 5/10 - Not at her best and struggled to have consistent impact from open play. Subbed early.

3. Forwards

Tobin Heath lasted one half against her former club
Tobin Heath lasted one half against her former club / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Beth Mead (RW) - 5/10 - Frustrating afternoon, especially in the first half.

Vivianne Miedema (ST) - 7/10 - Saw one effort spectacularly tipped onto the bar. Was quiet for large parts of the game but when she came deep looking for the ball it resulted in a searching through ball for the equaliser.

Tobin Heath (LW) - 4/10 - Didn't have the impact she would have hoped for against her former club and was withdrawn after 45 minutes.

4. Substitutes

Caitlin Foord (LW) - 6/10 - Forced Earps into her second big save of the game early in the second half.

Stina Blackstenius (ST) - 7/10 - Showed excellent composure to score the crucial equaliser with her first chance.

Frida Maanum (CM) - 6/10

Rafaelle Souza (CB) - 5/10

Simone Boye (CB) - N/A

Man Utd player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Man Utd's full-back had the better of Arsenal's wingers all day
Man Utd's full-back had the better of Arsenal's wingers all day / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Mary Earps (GK) - 7/10 - Made a fingertip save in the first half to deny Miedema and another strong parry later against Foord. Stood little chance with the Arsenal equaliser.

Ona Batlle (RB) - 7/10 - Got forward so well and competed for every ball.

Diane Caldwell (CB) - 6/10 - The debutant surprisingly wasn't directly targeted in her first game since November.

Maria Thorisdottir (CB) - 5/10 - Left for dead by the pace of Blackstenius.

Hannah Blundell (LB) - 7/10 - Defended really against Mead and posed a major threat on the counter attack.

6. Midfielders

Ella Toone's big miss proved to be a turning point
Ella Toone's big miss proved to be a turning point / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Katie Zelem (CM) - 7/10 - Set-piece delivery was top and gave United an important midfield foothold from open play as well.

Hayley Ladd (CM) - 7/10 - Played an important role destructive ensuring Arsenal couldn't pass their way through midfield.

Ella Toone (AM) - 5/10 - Always asking questions of the Arsenal defence but it is impossible to ignore how important her missed chance was.

7. Forwards

Alessia Russo scored against Arsenal again
Alessia Russo scored against Arsenal again / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Alessia Russo (RW) - 8/10 - A major threat at set pieces, which got her the breakthrough goal. Later cleared one off her own line.

Signe Bruun (ST) - 6/10 - Handed a full United debut and got important minutes under belt. Pressed well from the front.

Leah Galton (LW) - 7/10 - Put Toone through on goal for a glorious chance to go 2-0 up. Had other half chances at various moments of the game.

8. Substitutes

Jackie Groenen (CM) - 5/10

Martha Thomas (ST) - 5/10

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!