Arsenal 1-0 Juventus
by Johnathan Stack at The Emirates (8/12/22).
Above: Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema celebrates her winning goal with Laura Weinroither (left) and Stina Blackstenius (right). Photo: Arsenal Women.
Player of the match Vivianne Miedema’s strike sealed a victory for Arsenal last night which could end up going a long way towards clinching their spot in the Quarter-Finals.
Jonas Eidevall’s side went into the game knowing that group rivals Lyon were winning against FC Zürich in the earlier kick-off.
Both teams had chances in the opening five minutes with Juventus forcing Manuel Zinsberger into a great early double save with Stina Blackstenius having a goal ruled out for offside in the opening 10 minutes.
Arsenal took the lead through Vivianne Miedema who volleyed home from about six yards out from Blackstenius’ cross to give the Gunners the lead in the 15th minute.
Blackstenius had a great chance to make it 2-0 after Juventus failed to clear the ball, it fell to Miedema who was played on by Lenzini, she then played in the Swede who fired just over.
Blackstenius then had another chance after being played through by Caitlin Foord on the left, her shot was blocked by Cecilia Salvai. Arsenal were on top in the opening 40 minutes and should have had more than a solitary goal lead.
The Gunners then had another great chance to double their lead, as Frida Maanum played in a vicious cross that Lotte Wubben-Moy headed wide as it remained 1-0 at the break.
In the second half, it took until 11 minutes into the half for the first chance after the break as Matildas’ star Foord tested Juve’s former Arsenal keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
Arsenal was pushing for a second but finding it tough to break down a stubborn Juventus defence.
Miedema when close to getting her second of the game as Peyraud-Magnin flapped at a corner with the ball falling to the Dutch striker who volleyed just over.
Laura Wienroiter then went on a darting run down the right, and her cross/shot almost caught out Peyraud-Magnin at the near post.
Arsenal saw the game out relatively comfortably picking up a 1-0 to take them one step closer to the knockout stages of the Women’s Champions League.
It was a good win for the Gunners against a stubborn Juventus side that didn’t provide much going forward. Additionally, it was a huge positive to see Vivianne Miedema back on the scoresheet again after she took a leave of absence to get a much-needed rest.
After the game Arsenal head coach Jonaa Eidevall said: “So far, we have done well but it is one game at a time. We have Lyon here next week and it is going to be a very difficult game, we need to prepare very well. Before that, we need to prepare very well for Aston Villa so that’s our challenge to reset, prepare, execute and then we go again.”
Eidevall stated that he was pleased with the first-half performance but he did identify an area for improvement. He said “I loved how we controlled the game without the ball, we were compact, we had an aggressive shape, and we won the ball in the midfield a lot of times.
“I’m happy with the way that we moved the ball in the first half, and we exploited an overload that we had in the midfield on a lot of occasions. We found Vivianne Miedema more times being able to go forward in the first half than we have all season because she is always getting man-marked when we are playing in the WSL.
“I still think our efficiency and our decision-making in those opportunities when we go four v three, four v two, that’s both in the first and the second half, we should expect more. We have the potential and ability to do it, so I am very confident that it is only a matter of time before we achieve that.”
The travelling Juventus fans who made the trip over from Turin on a cold winter December night are worthy of a mention. The club is currently going through a lot of turmoil, with the latest ongoing financial scandal that saw club President Andrea Agnelli and the entire board of directors resign. But their fans were singing and chanting all game long. It’s in tough times that you truly see how amazing football fans can be and appreciate their efforts.
Teams: ARSENAL: Zinsberger, Wienroither, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Wälti, Maanum, Miedema, McCabe, Foord, Blackstenius. Substitutes: Marckese, Beattie, Rafaelle, Maritz, Iwabuchi, Nobbs, Agyemang.
JUVENTUS: Peyraud-Magnin, Lenzini, Sembrant, Salvai, Boattin, Caruso, Junge-Pedersen, Grosso, Bonansea, Girelli, Beerensteyn. Substitutes: Aprile, Bonfantini, Cantore, Cernoia, Duljan, Forcinella, Gunnarsdottir, Lundorf, Rosucci, Schatzer, Zamanian.
Referee: Ivana Martincic.