Zurich 1-9 Arsenal: Crushing win gives Gunners top spot in Champions League group

Arsenal's Frida Maanum shoots
Frida Maanum scored seven goals in her last 13 games in all competitions as Arsenal surged to the top of their Champions League group

Frida Maanum’s hat-trick helped Arsenal clinch top spot in Champions League Women’s Group C with a thrashing of bottom side Zurich.

Maanum scored twice from long range as the Gunners showed their attacking prowess, despite the absence of injured duo Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead.

Arsenal will be favorites in the quarter-final draw and play the second leg at home after winning the group in style.

Stina Blackstenius also scored twice to end her seven game clean sheet.

Need a win to secure first place behind them home defeat to LyonArsenal immediately attacked the hosts and were rewarded with a stylish free-kick opener from the edge of the penalty area.

Caitlin Foord then swept away a Blackstenius cross, before she became the provider for Maanum to cut in a second.

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The Norway international set up Blackstenius to score from close range before the break as Arsenal showed the swagger in their dominant display.

Maanum drilled in his third goal six minutes into the second half, matched by a superb curling effort from Blackstenius three minutes later.

Fabienne Humm pulled one back for Zurich with a penalty following Leah Williamson’s mistake, only for Foord to capitalize on an errant back pass to make it seven.

Kim Little converted the penalty and Mana Iwabuchi slotted in clinically with seven minutes remaining.

Second-placed Lyon’s goalless draw at home to Juventus means Jonas Eidevall’s side go top with two points.

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The Women’s Super League challengers will meet their opponents in the last eight when the draw is made on February 10.

Star Maanum who is adept at walking

There is added pressure on Arsenal’s forwards as they come to terms with the loss of top scorer Miedema, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during their defeat to Lyon.

England international Mead was already sidelined in November with the same injury.

Miedema’s goal has enabled his team to a important win at Ajax and four points against Juventus on their way to the knockout rounds, but Maanum’s masterclass in technique and imagination from set-pieces eased any worries Arsenal might have had in this final group game.

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There was a nonchalance to Maanum’s approach from free-kicks, laying the ball down and barely backing away before taking aim with devastating accuracy.

An effort for his first goal – floated flawlessly over the wall and into the net – preceded an effort from almost the same position that grazed the crossbar.

There was little surprise when he completed his classy hat-trick with a fine finish.

In such brutal form, and if Maanum can keep up his goalscoring streak, a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2013 looks good in Arsenal’s eyes.


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