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

Frida Maanum made it seven goals in her last 13 games in all competitions as Arsenal cruised to top spot in their Champions League group

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

Maanum struck 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 seeded in the quarter-finals draw and play the second leg at home after winning the group in style.

Stina Blackstenius also netted twice to end her seven-game goalless run.

Needing a victory to guarantee first place following their defeat at home to LyonArsenal immediately attacked the hosts and were rewarded by Maanum’s classy free-kick opener from the edge of the penalty area.

Caitlin Foord then swept in Blackstenius’ cross, before she turned provider for Maanum to clip in a second.

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

Maanum drilled in her third from distance six minutes into the second half, matched by a sumptuous curling effort from Blackstenius three minutes later.

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

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

Second-placed Lyon’s goalless draw at home to Juventus meant Jonas Eidevall’s side finished top by two points.

The Women’s Super League contenders will discover their opponents in the final eight when the draw is made on February 10.

Masterful Maanum stars in the stroll

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

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

Miedema’s goals had earned her side a crucial win at Ajax and four points against Juventus on their way to reaching the knockout round, but Maanum’s masterclass in technique and imagination from set-pieces allayed any concerns Arsenal might have had in this final group game.

There is a nonchance to Maanum’s approach from free-kicks, placing the ball down and barely stepping back before taking aim with devastating accuracy.

The effort for her first goal – flawlessly floated over the wall and into the net – preceded an attempt from an almost identical position that grazed the crossbar.

There was little surprise when she completed her classy hat-trick with fine finishing.

On this kind of ruthless form, and if Maanum can maintain her goalscoring feats, a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013 looks well within Arsenal’s sights.

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