Zurich 1-9 Arsenal: Crushing victory gives Gunners top spot in Champions League group

Arsenal's Frida Maanum shoots
Frida Maanum has scored seven goals in her last 13 games in all competitions as Arsenal climb to first place in their Champions League group

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall is keen for new signings to improve his side’s attack despite their 9-1 loss to Zurich in the Women’s Champions League.

Frida Maanum’s hat-trick helped the Gunners top Group C without injured duo Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead.

Eidevall says his side, which will be seeded in the quarter-final draw and will play the second leg at home, have made “huge strides”.

He added: “We have to sign players who can give us an end product.”

“It’s definitely one of the measurable factors that we lost with those two players, which we have to take into consideration,” Eidevall said as he reflected on the loss of forwards Miedema and Mead to season-ending injuries.

Stina Blackstenius ended their seven-game goalless streak with a brace and Caitlin Foord also scored twice as the 2007 champions finished two points clear of Lyon, who drew 0-0 at home against Juventus.

After Maanum opened the scoring with a classy free-kick from the edge of the penalty area, Foord swept in a Blackstenius cross for the second.

Foord then set up Maanum for his second, before the Norway international turned provider as she fed Blackstenius to score from close range as Arsenal showed swagger in their dominating display.

Maanum then drilled his third from distance six minutes into the second half, matched by a sumptuous curling effort from Blackstenius three minutes later.

Fabienne Humm pulled one back for Zurich with a penalty following a slip from Leah Williamson, only for Foord to take advantage of a misplaced back pass to make it seven.

Kim Little converted on the spot and Mana Iwabuchi entered clinically seven minutes from time.

The Women’s Super League contenders will discover their opponents in the last eight in the draw on February 10.

The masterful stars of Maanum on a walk

There is added pressure on Arsenal’s forwards as they come to terms with losing top scorer Miedema, who ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in their loss to Lyon.

England international Mead was already sidelined in November with the same injury.

Miedema’s goals earned his side a Crucial victory at Ajax and four points against Juventus en route to reaching the knockout round, but Maanum’s masterclass in technique and imagination from set pieces allayed any worries Arsenal might have had in that final group game.

There is a nonchalance in Maanum’s approach from free-kicks, putting the ball on the ground and barely stepping back before aiming with devastating precision.

The effort for his first goal – perfectly floating over the wall and into the net – preceded an attempt from an almost identical position that grazed the crossbar.

There were no surprises when she finished her hat trick with a fine finish.

On that kind of ruthless form, and if Maanum can maintain his goalscoring exploits, a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2013 seems well within Arsenal’s sights.

Leave a Reply