The Arsenal Women Journal – A Very Happy Christmas & New Year


The team did us proud in Zurich and all year.

It’s fair to say that the players did their best to ensure we would all have a nice winter break: the thumping of Zurich in Schaffhausen was embellished with some truly spectacular goals and skills, with Frida Maanum’s delicate free kick scooping the virtual goal of the night award. The Norwegian wonderkid, who is truly having the season of her (young) life, found the net three times, setup Stina Blackstenius for the three-nil and chipped the top of the bar with another curling free-kick, showing once again how a complete midfielder and footballer she is.

Arsenal's Frida Maanum shoots

Photo by Getty Images/BBC

A brace each for Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord, who also recorded two assists, plus one goal apiece for Kim Little and Mana Iwabuchi completed the scoresheet, leaving Zurich with a consolation goal from the spot, following an unfortunate slip from Leah Williamson that resulted in her tripping Piubel. Fun fact: Humm is the first player to beat Manuela Zinsberger from the penalty spot, with the Austrian saving all of the seven attempts she faced since joining the Gunners.

In the first game since Vivianne Miedema’s injury, it was somewhat reassuring to see the team score so many goals and creating so many chances, although tougher tests will come. Jonas Eidevall conceded that the club will be active during the January transfers window, with Ajax’s Pelova the hottest name these days. The skilled Dutch international featured in both the group stage playoff games in September and can play between the lines, as a second striker or wide.

Anyway, time will come when we will talk about transfers, now it’s time to celebrate a big win, some great goals, Kim Little’s return from injury, our place in the UWCL quarterfinals and the end of Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord goal drought. We will need their goals to make this a very memorable season and I was glad to see that they responded to some harsh critics in the best possible way.
We finish the group stage of the Champions League on top with 13 points, 19 goals scored and 5 conceded; given how worried we all were when the draw was made, this is quite a remarkable achievement. We go into the quarterfinals with the second-best point-tally behind Barcelona and Bayern Munich, on level with Chelsea, and we will face one of PSG, Roma or Bayern, with the draw taking place in Nyon on 10th of February.

Frida Maanum celebrates after scoring Arsenal's first goal against Zurich

Photo by SkySports

While thanking your for your loyalty and wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year time, I will take some time off to rest, recharge a bit and be back right on time to keep telling the story of this remarkable group of players and their manager.

A final note about Beth Mead’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award: another record broken for Meado, who is the first female footballer to win this prestigious award and the first footballer since 2009. Her positivity and never-give-up attitude should be an example for all of us, girls and boys, footballers and not, about overcoming hurdles and facing challenges.
You are a truly inspirational figure, Beth, and we are all very proud to call you one of our own.

Take care you all, have a lovely holidays season.

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