A Beautiful Historical French Revolution – The Arsenal Women Journal

What a night at the Groupama Stadium!


A sensational win at the defending champions, built on a clever game plan perfectly executed by the players on the pitch and lots of solidarity across the different units.

This Olympique Lyonnais team had never conceded more than four goals in their whole history and didn’t lose a European game with more than a one goal deficit since 2009, which should return the magnitude of our 5-1 win at their ground.

Jonas Eidevall said that this game would be a test to see where the team was at, in terms of ability, mental strength, organization, intensity, and the team passed the test with flying colours. Clinical in front of goal, solid off the ball, very alert at the back despite the absences, impressive when in possession and very mature in the way they played off Lyon’s most apparent weaknesses, our girls played what could be considered the best football of the past twelve months and they were rightfully rewarded for their efforts.


Inspired Maanum selection

The inclusion of Frida Maanum in the starting XI was the big surprise of the night, not necessarily because she didn’t deserve to start but mostly because it was Vivianne Miedema who made way for the Norwegian sensation, but it was a very inspired decision as the midfielder was instrumental in the middle of the park. She scored a goal, provided one assist, was particularly impressive with her carries, which often resulted in deadly transitions. Frida Maanum wasn’t the only player who enjoyed a great night: Beth Mead scored a brace and provided one assist, Caitlin Foord scored a brace too and both Kim Little and Lia Wälti were extremely important with her movement towards the touchline, where they would create an overload and allow both our wingers to exploit the space behind Olympique Lyonnais’ fullbacks. Jonas Eidevall was quick to confirm that the plan was to attack those spaces, but the interesting bit is how we planned to do that: it was not about hitting long balls in the wide areas of the final third, it was more about attracting Lyon’s press, drag their wide players out of position and then hit them with Beth Mead’s and Caitlin Foord’s pace.

The first goal was probably the best example of Jonas Eidevall’s gameplan as Kim Little moved to the right-back position, Laura Wienroither pushed up field and Beth Mead slipped on the blind side of Bacha, running the channel between the left-back and the centre-back and then squaring the ball for the onrushing Caitlin Foord, at the back post.


Our 3 goal scoring heroes

Last night was one of those nights when everything goes to plan, everyone is “at it” and the stars align to make it a perfect night. Of course, Olympique Lyonnais were missing a plethora of key players and it showed, however their line-up was still very competitive, and, from our side, we were missing Leah Williamson, Rafaelle and Vivianne Miedema, so there is no valid reason to dismiss this historical win as a strike of luck or anything like that.

We went to the house of the eight-times champions of Europe and demolished them, picked them apart when they were committing too many players up field and eventually ran away with a win whose echo will resound through the whole campaign.

We’ll talk again after the game against Liverpool, our fourth away game on the trot, but until then don’t forget to celebrate such an historical night for the Arsenal Women team.

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