Chelsea’s WSL champions: player-by-player ratings for Emma Hayes’s squad | Chelsea Women

Ann-Katrin Berger: The German failed to match her spectacular 2020-21 campaign but still had a solid season. Kept nine clean sheets, finishing third behind Arsenal’s Manuela Zinsberger and Manchester United’s Mary Earps in the race for the golden glove. 7

Zecira Musovic: The Sweden international coped well when handed the gloves in some cup games and when Berger was sent off against Tottenham at the Hive. A very capable back-up who would be first choice at many clubs. 6

Maren Mjelde: Emma Hayes said Chelsea had prepared for Mjelde to be a key part of the season after she missed the second half of the 2020-21 campaign with an ACL injury. But the full-back was a bit-part player with injuries again keeping her out for stretches of the season. 6

Aniek Nouwen: The Netherlands center-back performed well when deployed in an experimental back three, but struggled for starts in her first season with the Blues. Hayes is phasing her into the squad and the signs are promising. 5

Millie Bright: Bright has been consistently outstanding for Chelsea in recent years. With center-back partner Magda Eriksson sidelined at various times, Bright has stepped up, adapted to whoever is playing alongside her, and commanded the back line. She has done the same for England. 9

Millie Bright rises highest ahead of her Chelsea teammate Niamh Charles (left) and Leicester City’s Jessica Sigsworth. Photograph: Peter Cziborra / Action Images / Reuters

Magda Eriksson: The captain’s season was pockmarked by injury layoffs, but each time she stepped on to the pitch, Chelsea instantly looked stronger. Who knows how much better Chelsea would have been across all competitions had the Swede been more available. 7

Jess Carter: A phenomenal campaign for the England international which has surely cemented her place in Sarina Wiegman’s England Euros squad. Carter performed well as part of a back three, a back four and when pushed further forward. 8

Jonna Andersson: Andersson looked more comfortable in a back four than when deployed in a back three, which limited her starts. However, in her final season at Chelsea, she proved her value and experience with two important assists in two games in the run-in. 7

Sophie Ingle: With Melanie Leupolz pregnant, Ingle played more than she would have been expected to. The Wales international shielded the defense efficiently and slotted into the back line when required. 7

Ji So-yun: In her final league game for Chelsea, Ji came off the bench to provide a momentum shift and, at that point, the thought occurred that Hayes may try to persuade the South Korean to stay. Arguably the best foreign import the WSL has seen. 7

Chelsea's Ji So-Yun admires the WSL trophy
Chelsea’s Ji So-Yun admires the WSL trophy after her final league game for the West London side. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

Drew Spence: Chelsea’s longest-serving player was a reliable option off the bench when the team needed to see out a game. A solid defensive substitute and, arguably, deserving of a more regular starting berth. 6

Niamh Charles: Has bags of potential and showed she is extremely versatile, playing on both sides in midfield and defense. Did a decent job when called in to cover for those out injured and is one to follow next season. 6

Erin Cuthbert: The workhorse of the team did the dirty work whenever called upon, playing all across the pitch, man-marking players and doing it with a desire and drive that made her successful at every task she was faced with. Invaluable. 8

Guro Reiten: By her own admission, Reiten struggled during the pandemic-hit season. This season, however, she shone, providing creativity and flair from the wings. With others dipping in and out of the side with injuries, the Norwegian was remarkably consistent. 8

Jessie Fleming: The 24-year-old chipped in with six league goals in a season where her game time increased and she slotted in seamlessly. She is not like-for-like cover for the departing Ji but she will undeniably play an important role following the South Korean’s exit. The future of Chelsea’s midfield. 7

Jessie Fleming scores Chelsea's ninth and final goal in their dominant WSL win over Leicester in March.
Jessie Fleming scores Chelsea’s ninth and final goal in their dominant WSL win over Leicester in March. Photograph: Isaac Parkin / PA

Fran Kirby: Last year’s player of the season struggled with a fatigue issue that Chelsea are only now finding answers to. Her blistering start to the campaign was cruelly cut short by the problem, which has also kept her out of England contention. Despite that, Kirby provided six league assists, the most of any Chelsea player. 7

Beth England: It was a tumultuous campaign for the England forward, who often had to sit out as Kerr, Harder and others were preferred in attack. Nevertheless, the striker was Chelsea’s second-highest scorer with eight league goals and proved to be a deadly substitute. 7

Sam Kerr: The Australian secured her second consecutive golden boot with 20 goals, just one shy of the 21 she scored last year despite spending a month away at the Asia Cup in January. She has been extraordinarily consistent and scored whenever the Blues needed a breakthrough to stay in the title race. 9

Pernille Harder: With Kirby out and Kerr away at the Asia Cup, Harder shouldered the load up front. The Denmark forward looked more settled in the Chelsea squad in its second season and was the creative fulcrum. 9

Pernille Harder shoots at goal during Chelsea's January 2022 WSL game against Brighton.
Pernille Harder shoots at goal during Chelsea’s January 2022 WSL game against Brighton. Photograph: John Sibley / Action Images / Reuters

Unranked

It would be unfair to rate Melanie Leupolz given her season ended with the announcement of her pregnancy. Leupolz made seven league appearances and was an important part of the midfield.

Lauren James has struggled for minutes since returning to Chelsea but is likely to play a more notable role next season.

Russian defender Alsu Abdullina did not appear often enough to be rated. It was a tough season for the 21-year-old, who has struggled with the language barrier and had to cope with the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in her first year in England.

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