The Arsenal Women Journal – Steady Sailing as Arsenal dispatch Zurich in convincing CL display

Jonas spoke, the players listened.

The Swede was very vocal about the need of being humble after the win in Lyon, pushing away any talk about us winning the Champions League or being favourites to replicate our success from 2007, and the team responded with a mature, assured performance against Zurich.

Goals from Jordan Nobbs and Lina Hurtig were enough to see off a well-organized Zurich side that was a bit more adventurous than I expected. Despite a lot of changes in the starting line-up, we offered a good ball retention and fluidity, especially down the flanks. Steph Catley, who moved back to her natural left-back position, was a constant threat down the wing and Beth Mead was very busy on the opposite side of the pitch, something that Zurich couldn’t cope with.

The Australian was especially impressive last night: she provided the assist for the first goal of the night and created 5 chances for her teammates while having the most tackles (5 attempted, 4 won) at the other end of the pitch. Not that anyone needed it but her performance was a nice reminder about her status of world-class full-back.

All in all, it was very pleasant to see Mana Iwabuchi, Jordan Nobbs, Noëlle Maritz and Jen Beattie get a start given how little playing time they got so far, plus I was intrigued to see Vivianne Miedema back in the starting XI in a more advanced role, compared to her usual one. The Dutch, who sat on the bench against Lyon and Liverpool, didn’t find the back of the net but should have had an assist to her name when she released Stina Blackstenius with a beautifully weighted through ball, which reminded me of her outstanding pass against Manchester United, last season.

It will be very interesting to see who will play in midfield and upfront on Sunday, against West Ham: Frida Maanum played wonderfully in the last two games, Stina Blackstenius was very good in France and had a nice cameo against Zurich but Vivianne Miedema is Vivianne Miedema and I cannot see her sitting on the bench again. My gut feeling says that Jonas Eidevall will play the Dutch superstar in attack, with a midfield trio of Lia Wälti, Kim Little and Frida Maanum behind her and both wingers ready to run the inside channels when Vivianne Miedema comes deep into midfield.

We shall see and I cannot wait to be at Meadow Park to see the team play, in what will be the first Arsenal Women game I ever attended.

Let’s hope it’s going to be a special one!

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