Arsenal Women provided one of the best performances in club history as they defeated the reigning European Champions Olympique Lyon 5-1 at the Groupama Stadium. First half goals from Caitlin Foord, Frida Maanum, and Beth Mead saw Arsenal have a 3-1 lead at half time, before Foord and Mead added a quickfire double in the second half. Arsenal, who entered the group stages needing not only a result but a performance against one of Europe’s best sides, provided that, in one of the best performances under Jonas Eidevall.
Eidevall made one change to the team that beat Reading 1-0 on the weekend, and it was a significant one, with Frida Maanum replacing Vivianne Miedema. Miedema did hurt her wrist on the weekend, with the wrist in a cast, but Maanum’s impact from midfield justified the selection. Indeed, Maanum nearly scored within a minute, with Foord, collecting a long ball, slipping her in, only for her shot to go straight at Endler in goal.
The focus pre-match had been on who Lyon were missing, with Ada Hegerberg, Ellie Carpenter, and Catarina Macario all noticeable absences. Yet Arsenal were also missing their first choice centre back pairing in Leah Williamson and Rafaelle, but it was Arsenal who settled the better of the sides.
13 minutes in, the Gunners took the lead. Kim Little played an outstanding ball over the top of Lyon’s defence for Beth Mead, who squared for Caitlin Foord, to put Arsenal ahead.
Lyon attempted to respond, with Zinsberger forced to parry a Lindsey Horan shot wide, but Arsenal would score again. Lia Wälti’s expert ball down the side of the Lyon defence played in Stina Blackstenius, who drove towards goal, but had her shot saved by Endler. The rebound came to Maanum, who tucked it away into the far corner to make it 2-0.
Arsenal, though, were brought back to earth. From a corner, Horan redirected the ball off the crossbar, and Melvine Malard tucked away to rebound to bring a goal back.
With half-time approaching, the next goal was always going to be crucial. Blackstenius, tearing through midfield, was brought down outside of the penalty box by Renard, and from the free kick, Mead’s low driven shot curled around the wall and past Endler to give Arsenal a 3-1 lead.
One could have expected Lyon to start the second half strongly, but instead, Arsenal looked more threatening. After neat combination play, Maanum shot wide when she could’ve played in Foord, and then played over the top by McCabe, Blackstenius had a shot wide.
Arsenal, though, would get their crucial 4th goal: Renard’s cross-field pass was intercepted by Foord, who took a touch and then curled her shot into the far corner from 25 yards for her second of the night. Moments later, it was five: from kick off, Arsenal forced a loose touch, and Maanum ran onto the ball, and played in Mead, who fired her shot past Endler for her second, and Arsenal’s fifth.
Even at 5-1, Arsenal threatened, though Lyon would hit the bar with the final kick of the game. By then, the scoreline was in no doubt, and Arsenal had given Lyon their first multi-goal since April 2006.
Arsenal: Zinsberger; Wienroither, Wubben-Moy, Catley, McCabe; Wälti (Nobbs 76’), Little; Mead, Maanum, Foord (Hurtig 79’); Blackstenius (Miedema 79’)
Substitutes not used: Marckese (GK), Williams (GK), Beattie, Maritz, Iwabuchi, Reid, Agyemang
Goals: Foord 13’, 67’; Maanum 22’; Mead 45+1’, 69’