La central Lotte Wubben-Moy dedicó su primer gol en la Champions League a su compañera lesionada Leah Williamson. "Ese era un objetivo para Leah, la extrañaremos profundamente," ella dijo. "Esa es su especialidad en el puesto cercano, if I can do anything it’s to tribute that goal to her today.”
Wubben-Moy rose highest to power in Jordan Nobbs’ corner as Arsenal sought a second against the Danish champions HB Køge after Caitlin Foord’s first-half goal. The striker Vivianne Miedema added a third late on as the Gunners moved one step closer to a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. Arsenal need one point from their remaining two games, against Barcelona and Hoffenheim, to finish second in the group ahead of the German side.
If the 5-1 win in Denmark last week had suggested this would be a breeze then Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday and the “significant” hamstring injury to Williamson ensured the Gunners’ momentum was not quite as sure as it had been.
The draw was Arsenal’s first slip-up in the Women’s Super League. Rehanne Skinner’s impressively organised Spurs side have perhaps offered a blueprint for keeping the Gunners at bay, with a powerful header from Miedema in added time the only goal for a team that had scored three or more goals in every other league fixture so far.
Despite a foray forward by the Danish side in the first minute, urged on by an impressive and vocal travelling contingent, Arsenal quickly took control of the pace of play. The decision to start with Miedema on the bench perhaps suggested Arsenal’s manager Jonas Eidevall was not perturbed by the inability of his side to get the better of Spurs, despite their dominance.
Foord, leading the line in place of Miedema, had her cleanest chance 15 minutes in when she was played through but Køge goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese was quick to come out and smother the shot. One minute later the Australian forward side-footed Beth Mead’s cross in at the near post to put Arsenal ahead.
The back five and midfield four of the Danish champions were effective and afforded their forward some bright moments on the break but the final pass or shot always let them down. With the margin narrow there was little room for complacency, with Køge’s only Champions League goal having been scored against the Gunners in Denmark.
A triple change on the hour mark saw Miedema, the defensive midfielder Frida Maanum and the left-back Steph Catley introduced to energise the home attack. The home team were almost punished for their profligacy, but a reaction save from the goalkeeper Lydia Williams denied Maddie Pokorny before Wubben-Moy sealed the win when she headed powerfully in from Jordan Nobbs’ corner before Miedema added the third.
“What was great today was that we were able to change [their danger on the counter] during the game,” said Eidevall. “We positioned ourselves smarter, moved the ball better and gave far less opportunities for them. A 1-0 you can never relax. It was nice when Lotte scored the second, it’s not often we concede two goals in a game so that felt a lot better.”