Arsenal took a giant step towards reaching the knockout stages of the Women’s Champions League by cruising to a 3-0 win over HB Koge at Meadow Park on Wednesday night.
Caitlin Foord’s first-half finish (15) was added to late on by Lotte Wubben-Moy’s firm header from Beth Mead’s cross (83) before substitute Vivianne Miedema capped a comfortable evening with a composed finish for Arsenal’s third (88).
The result means Arsenal remain just three points behind Barcelona in Group C after they dismantled Hoffenheim 5-0 in Germany, with Jonas Eidevall’s side next hosting the Catalans at the Emirates on December 9.
Arsenal are on the brink of reaching the quarter-finals as six points separate them and Hoffenheim in third place with two games remaining.
Arsenal put one foot in knockout stages
This was job done by Arsenal, and with the number of games they are having to play this season battling on multiple fronts, along with the travel, it was vital their squad players were handed the opportunity to pick up match sharpness when faced with opposition content with setting up in a low block.
Eidevall will know the work is not yet done, but as he turns his attention to a massive game in the WSL against Manchester United this weekend, he can reflect on a good night’s work where Koge’s stubborn resistance was eventually breached on three occasions.
The Gunners recorded a 5-1 win in Denmark last week but Koge goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese ensured the margin of victory was not greater, as she did so on this occasion.
Australia international Foord had already been denied once when she made a strong start by her team count as she timed her arrival in the box to perfection to convert Mead’s cross.
Mead thought she had a second just before half-time but her cool finish was chalked off for offside.
Eidevall’s side had to wait to put the game to bed as they scored twice in the last 10 minutes.
Wubben-Moy headed in the second in the 83rd minute when she powered home Mead’s corner and Miedema killed the game off five minutes later, coolly finishing after being set free by Stephanie Catley’s long ball.
Analysis: Comfortable night for Arsenal
Former Arsenal forward Kelly Smith told Sky Sports:
“Arsenal looked extremely comfortable, especially in defence. They had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead and the Koge goalkeeper was great as she was last week.
“Jonas has kept the same Arsenal style even though he’s brought in his own players. I feel they’ve become less predictable but it’ll be interesting to see how they continue to adapt without Laura Williamson given her hamstring injury.
“It’s a tough one to know if Arsenal are capable of going on to lift the Champions League but the big test will be against Barcelona at the Emirates. They will have learned from the spanking they got from them, will sit deeper and make it harder to play through as in the reverse game. Barcelona are just outstanding when they have the ball.
“Arsenal have the players, though, and you always need that little bit of luck in these tournaments. So never say never.”