Player ratings as Beth Meade double sees Arsenal winning

Arsenal kicked off the 2022/23 Women’s Football League season in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 win over 10-man Brighton on Friday night.

Beth Meade’s double and goals from Kim Little and Stina Blackstein earned Arsenal all three points after Emma Kohlberg saw Brighton’s red color.

The Seagulls were against them from the start when Kohlberg was sent off within seven minutes after Stena Blackstenius’ heel was cut as the Arsenal striker scored.

The Gunners made their extra player count, proceeded to dominate the ball and lands, and Kaitlyn Forward saw the best view of the goal after working the opener herself with some great work, before backing off.

However, Brighton was the closest to taking the lead after launching a rare counter-attack. Lee Geum-Min found Elizabeth Terland at the back position, but the striker flashed narrowly.

The Gulls were paid to pay for their waste as Arsenal advanced before the half-hour mark. Ford shook the effervescent Gorga Fox and picked Little, who finished flatly.

The Gunners’ lead in the break could have been greater had it not been for the woodwork and Megan Walsh and Blackstenius cracked the bar and Walsh saved well from Lia Walti before the break.

Katie Robinson was introduced to Brighton at the break, and her impact was almost immediate. The midfielder stormed into the penalty area after Terland found him, but Manuela Zinsberger parried her low effort.

But again Brighton was penalized after failing to take a rare opportunity as Blackstein doubled Arsenal’s lead, superbly finding the top corner from close range after Meade played it.

Then Meade got the score sheet herself as Arsenal added the third goal. The winger teamed up well with Vivian Miedema before hitting the ball into the bottom corner.

The Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner doubled her tally for the evening as the clock ticked on, as Walsh and Kayleigh Green sold out trick-or-treaters and stuck to the empty net as Arsenal kicked off their 2022/23 campaign in style.

Caitlin Forward, Jorga Fox

Foord has always been a threat / Harriet Lander / GettyImages

GK: Manuela Zinsberger – 6/10 – She wasn’t called into action until the start of the second half, where she made a superb save from Robinson to deny Brighton a draw.

Right-back: Laura Wienroither – 7/10 – Maritz preferred at right-back. It was barely tested defensively and looked menacing in attack with a number of forward forays and dangerous deliveries.

CB: Leah Williamson – 7/10 – Typically quiet and adventurous in its distribution.

CB: Rafael – 7/10 – She returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the injury ended her campaign in 2021/22 in March. He got the ball out from behind with confidence and was a real set-ball hazard.

Left-back: Katie McCabe – 7/10 – I got Blackstenius behind with a superb pass in a build that lowered Brighton to 10. He linked well with Foord, before switching to the right after Catley’s introduction.

cm: Lia Walti – 9/10 – Walsh called to work hard from the top corner of the range in the first half. Show her excellent vision with superb defensive split passes. He filled in defensively to allow Williamson and Raphael to attack forward.

cm: Kim Little – 8/10 – She opened the scoring in style with a brilliantly captured goal, creating space for herself with a clever first touch and an emphatic finish. Usually done outrageously on the ball.

cm: Vivian Medema – 8/10 – Played a particularly beautiful pass to skate at Foord in the first half, tied with Mead in building up to third place for Arsenal. In the midst of work, it pairs well with the front three throughout the evening.

RW: Beth Meade – 9/10 – Plastenius played in second place for Arsenal and scored two goals on her own, found the bottom corner of the third for Arsenal and produced a great trick to hit the empty net for her fourth team. Mixes well with Blackstenius and Miedema throughout the evening.

Attacker: Stina Blackstenius – 8/10 – He overcame Brighton’s speed defense line for delays in reinforcements to send Kohlberg off. The bar cracked from the edge of the area in the first half, before Arsenal’s second scored with an excellent finish from the top corner.

Acer: Caitlin Ford – 9/10 He seemed to be in the mood from the start; Dragging the effort away after some great work, Walsh forced a fine save after eluding Lee and Fox, and ignored Fox before Little set up Arsenal’s opening goal.

SUB: Steve Catley – 6/10

SUB: Lena Hurtig – 6/10

SUB: Jordan Nobbs-6/10

SUB: Frida Manoum – 6/10

Emma Kohlberg, Hope Powell

Kullberg was fired after just seven minutes / Harriet Lander / GettyImages

Goalkeeper: Megan Walsh – 6/10 – Foord and Walti saved really well in the first half, being blocked by the former and extending nicely to flip the latter’s long-range effort over the bar. He made stops two more times in the first half – Arsenal’s streak would have been much higher had it not been for Walsh.

CB: Kayleigh Green – 5/10 – I spent a relentless time dealing with wave after wave of Arsenal’s attack. Sold by Meade’s trick in preparation for Arsenal’s fourth game.

Central Defence: Victoria Williams – 5/10 – He saved well from Midema in the first half but faced a difficult evening against Arsenal’s three aerodynamic front when one of the players went down.

Central Defence: Emma Kohlberg – 3/10 – He was sacked after seven minutes for injuring Plastenius’ heel as the Arsenal striker hit the target. It seemed accidental, but she was the last player and Blackstein was clean. But the Arsenal striker looked like a minor offside.

Right-back: Jorga Fox – 4/10 – Given a run by the spirited Foord in the first half, he lost to the Arsenal winger in preparation for the hosts’ opening goal.

Midfield: Vitrici Sarri – 5/10 – She showed flashes of skill and quality, but it’s really not her match given how she was against Brighton.

cm: Libby Pence – 4/10 – He struggled to deal with fluids in the Arsenal midfield three, and was substituted in the first half.

CM: Julia Zigiotti Olme – 5/10 – It produced a great last trench fending to banish Miedema in the first half, but is limited in its ability to make an offensive impact on the match.

Left-back: Bobby Pattinson – 4/10 – He returned to left-back in four defenses after Kullberg was sent off. Due to a tough time from Mead – he will be the most left-back this season.

Striker: Lee Geum-Min – 6/10 – He carried the ball well and grabbed Terland to create Brighton’s chance only in the first half. She seemed to be the most dangerous player on her team.

Attacker: Elisabeth Terland – 6/10 – It gave Brighton a huge chance as the Seagulls came close to taking a surprise lead – their only real vision of goal in the first half. He played Robinson in the second half as Brighton came close to a tie.

Branch: Katie Robinson – 5/10 – It looked really lively when it was first introduced, testing the Zinsberger and getting another promising arrow on the right. However, it soon faded when Arsenal exercised their dominance once again.

Sub: Chelsea Ferguson – 5/10

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