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Arsenal in Champions League pole position

  • Sports

By Sylvain Jamet

Arsenals Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema (L) celebrates with Arsenals English defender Lotte Wubben-Moy after scoring a goal during the UEFA Women’s Champions League Group C football match between Juventus and Arsenal at the Juventus stadium in Turin on November 24, 2022. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal are currently top of Group C with seven points ahead of Juventus, who have five while Lyon have four and Zurich nil.

Arsenal will now play Juventus and Lyon at the Emirates Stadium before closing the group stage with an away game at the weakest side Zurich.

Arsenal have the head-to-head advantage over Lyon with that 5-1 away win at the Groupama stadium, a home win against Juventus and away at Zurich would guarantee qualification, regardless of the Lyon home game outcome.

It is important to note that Arsenal had many chances to win the game at Juventus and only a lack of clinical finishing prevented it from happening. xG numbers were 0.6 for Juventus v 1.3 for the Arsenal.

Same thing for the on target shots with three out of twelve for Juventus and five out of sixteen for the Arsenal. Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord were the closest to score a winner.

Lyon are still struggling for form in the French League and will welcome most of their injured players after the Christmas break. Therefore taking advantage again of their weaknesses is definitely possible. Getting one point or three would be a big boost for the team following the home League defeat to United.

The Juventus away game saw the return in the starting XI of our Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema is her favourite number 10 spot. It meant Jordan Nobbs moved to the right-wing to replace the injured Beth Mead. This game also confirmed that Jonas Eidevall does not count on Mana Iwabuchi. When you consider that we only had three senior players on the bench and the only one that was not used was the Japanese playmaker, it says it all on the lack of trust for the talented midfielder.

In a way it makes sense. Mana Iwabuchi was not signed by him, but prior to his arrival. She was a club signing rather than a Montemurro or Eidevall signing. The same thing can be said about Anna Patten, that’s why the center-back will have completed a year and half on loan at Villa by the end of the season.

I think the next two transfer windows (Winter and Summer) will see the squad shaped as per Jonas Eidevall’s vision, the same way it took multiple transfer windows for Mikel Arteta to get the squad he wanted and implement changes. You would certainly expect a couple of attacking signings during the January window to add more depth to the squad and a big turnover with up to five departures or arrivals, depending on the market’s evolution and availability.

December will be an extremely busy month with key League and Champions League games: Sat 3 Dec Everton H, Thu 7 December Juventus H, Sun 11 Dec Aston Villa A, Thu 15 Dec Lyon H, Wed 21 Dec Zurich A. Five games in 18 days with limited rotation possible due to injuries. The League table see us trailing Chelsea by three points with a game in hand and level with United.

So the games against fifth placed Villa and eighth placed Everton are must win to keep in contact with Chelsea and United. Only six points will do. Six or seven points should also be enough in the Champions League, while we hope for the majority of the players to come back from injury after Christmas with the exception of our ACL player Beth Mead who has unfortunately ended her season against United.

It is make or break time for Jonas Eidevall and the squad and hopefully they will all respond well to the United defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

Source: Daily Cannon.