West Ham 0-0 Arsenal WSL: Player ratings as Hammers frustrate Gunners
From the Chigwell Construction Stadium: Arsenal lost pace with WSL leaders Chelsea after being held to a 0-0 draw by a resilient West Ham on Sunday evening.
The Gunners saw a selection of opportunities go begging and spent much of the second period camped in the Hammers half, but were left frustrated by a heroic West Ham defensive effort.
The result leaves Arsenal five points behind Chelsea, but Jonas Eidevall's side have a game in hand over the WSL champions.
Despite the absence of goals, it was an entertaining, end to end first half affair. Frida Maanum and Caitlin Foord were in the thick of the action down the Arsenal right and caused problems with their directness and driving runs. The former created one of her side's most promising openings of the first half, surging to the byling and finding Lina Hurtig, but the Sweden international could only drag her effort wide.
West Ham caused problems of their own, Kirsty Smith getting a rare bit of respite from the dangerous Foord-Maanum double act as she scurried away down the left and was picked out by a superb Honoka Hayashi pass. Manuela Zinsberger was out quickly to deny the left back.
The Hammers were unfortunate to not be awared a penalty after Dagny Brynjarsdottir appeared to be tripped by Rafaelle in the box, but the host's protests were waved away
Hurtig did well to twice get the better of Risa Shimizu before picking out compatriot Stina Blackstenius, but the forward blazed over, while Mackenzie Arnold superbly tipped a Maanum effort around the post, after the midfielder had been found by an audacious Leah Williamson pass as the first half finished all square.
The Gunners pushed for an opener after the break as West Ham were forced deeper and deeper into their own half, Maanum again causing chaos with her strength and directness, but her cross was tipped away by Arnold.
The Hammers' keeper was again called into action just after the hour mark, keeping out Blackstenius with her feet.
It was a heroic defensive effort from West Ham, with Brynjarsdottir, Arnold and Hawa Cissoko all intervening to keep out Katie McCabe and then Blackstenius as wave after wave of Arsenal attack was thwarted.
Foord saw penalty appeals waved away and McCabe's strike from range was deflected into the side netting, as it simply wasn't to be for the Gunners.
West Ham (4-3-3)
GK: Mackenzie Arnold - 8/10 - Out quickly to deny Maanum in the early exchanges, and made a terrific save to tip the Arsenal midfielder's low effort around the post in the first half. Kept out Blackstenius with her feet in the second and tipped a Williamson effort around the post. A huge display.
RB: Risa Shimizu - 7/10 - Beaten by Hurtig in the build up to a promising Arsenal chance. Made an important intervention to prevent Maaunum surging through in the second half.
CB: Hawa Cissoko - 9/10 - Triggered a counter attack with a stunning cross field pass to Snerle and popped up with numerous important challenges and blocks - including a big one in the first half to deny a goal-bound Foord effort. A heroic defensive effort to stem wave after wave of Arsenal attack.
CB: Grace Fisk - 8/10 - Made a selection of important tackles, clearances and headers deep in her own half to keep Arsenal at bay.
LB: Kirsty Smith - 6/10 - Had a busy time of it attempting to deal with both Maanum and Foord down the Arsenal right. Had a real moment of promise on the counter attack in the first half with a burst forward. Made an important second half block to keep out the Gunners.
CM: Abbey-Leigh Stringer - 8/10 - Broke up play well and swept up magnificently on the edge of her own box time after time in the second half.
CM: Honoka Hayashi - 6/10 - Sent Smith away with a superb pass for one of West Ham's most promising first half openings. Tenacious and disciplined.
CM: Dagny Brynjarsdottir - 7/10 - Unfortunate to not be awarded a penalty after appearing to be tripped by Rafaelle. Made a huge interception to keep out McCabe in the second half.
RW: Mel Filis - 6/10 - The Arsenal academy graduate frequently switched flanks with Snerle and was full of running and endeavour. Replaced after an hour following a big shift.
ST: Viviane Asseyi - 6/10 - Had an effort from the edge of the box comfortably held in the first half, and was the focal point for the West Ham press. Quieter in the second half as West Ham struggled to get out of their own half.
LW: Emma Snerle - 6/10 - Had a positive driving run to tee up an Asseyi chance in the first half. Made an important intervention in the West Ham box in the second half to halt a promising Gunners move. Technically strong and looked a threat when on the ball high up - quieter in the second as the Hammers sat deeper.
SUB: Amalie Thestrup (63' for Filis) - 5/10
SUB: Lisa Evans (77' for Asseyi) - 6/10
SUB: Lucy Parker (86' for Stringer) - 6/10
SUB: Kate Longhurst (86' for Snerle) - 6/10
GK: Manuela Zinsberger - 6/10 - Held an Asseyi effort and claimed a dangerous Snerle cross in the first half. Hardly had a touch in the second.
RB: Noelle Maritz - 6/10 - Fairly solid defensively, drifted into defensive midfield at times while Arsenal were in possession. Replaced just after the hour.
CB: Lotte Wubben-Moy - 7/10 - Played out from the back well, getting Arsenal forward with a series of probing passes. Solid defensively.
CB: Rafaelle - 7/10 - Created a first half chance for Arsenal with a maraud forward from centre back. Perhaps fortunate to not concede a penalty in the first half. Otherwise solid.
LB: Steph Catley - 6/10 - Didn't get forward as frequently as usual. Tidy in possession, solid defensively, replaced just after the hour mark.
CM: Leah Williamson - 7/10 - Deployed in midfield in the absence of Lia Walti. Sent Maanum through on goal with a fabulous dinked pass in the first half. Broke the lines
CM: Kim Little - 6/10 - Neat and intricate on the ball.
CM: Frida Maanum - 7/10 - Forced Arnold into a superb save with a low first half effort and teed up Hurtig following a burst to the byline. Was at the heart of so many promising Arsenal moves with her drive and athleticism.
RW: Caitlin Foord - 7/10 - Deployed on the right as opposed to the left, was in the thick of the action with her bursts forward and looked one of Arsenal's most dangerous players.
ST: Stina Blackstenius - 5/10 - Blazed over in the first half with a really decent sighting of goal, and was twice denied in the second half by Arnold.
LW: Lina Hurtig - 5/10 - Dragged an effort wide in the first half, before creating a good chance for Blackstenius after doing well to twice beat Shimizu. Replaced after an hour after struggling to leave an attacking impact on proceedings.
SUB: Katie McCabe (68' for Catley) - 6/10
SUB: Victoria Pelova (68' for Hurtig) - 6/10
SUB: Laura Wienroither (68' for Maritz) - 6/10
SUB: Gio Queiroz (78' for Blackstenius) - 6/10