El Arsenal sobrevive al susto del Hoffenheim para progresar en la Champions League femenina

Es el colapso "inaceptable" del Arsenal y la progresión algo afortunada del equipo a los cuartos de final de la Liga de Campeones., a pesar de esto 4-1 derrota al Hoffenheim, que dominará las discusiones posteriores al partido.

“We had a five minute period in the second half which is unacceptable, being Arsenal,” said manager Jonas Eidevall. “The mistakes we made, we can’t make those against any opponent.”

Yet it is perhaps the rise of the Bundesliga’s third-placed side, in their first season in Europe, that deserves attention on their exit. With two teenagers on the scoresheet against the only English team to have lifted the European Cup, and an average age of 23, Hoffenheim punished Arsenal, inflicting a third defeat in four games on the Women’s Super League leaders.

The Hoffenheim head coach Gabor Gallai had spoken of the need for an early goal against Arsenal in order to “keep the hopes of achieving something spectacular alive.” A five-goal margin was needed to progress to the knockout stage ahead of Arsenal, with the teams level on points and the visiting side with the head-to-head advantage having beaten Hoffenheim 4-0 at Meadow Park.

It was not quite as early as Gallai would have liked, coming in the 22nd minute, but the opening goal from the 19-year-old Germany forward Jule Brand, who scored and provided an assist on her international debut in April, breathed belief into the home team after a quiet beginning.

For all Arsenal’s early dominance, with two-thirds of the possession, they had little to show for it by the time Brand squeezed the ball between goalkeeper Lydia Williams and the near post after a gut-busting break from Gia Corley.

Conceding bruises any team but in the context of the 10 days that Arsenal have had it could have broken the skin, knocking the confidence of the weary Gunners. Defeats to Chelsea in the 2021 FA Cup final and a 4-0 home humbling against Barcelona were soothed slightly by a 4-0 win over Leicester City, who sit bottom of the Women’s Super League, and by Chelsea dropping points against Reading on Sunday.

Beth Mead provided the brightest moments for Arsenal and forced the leveller that looked to have quashed the sliver of hope that had rippled through the Dietmar-Hopp Stadium following Brand’s goal.

The England forward finished a run into the box from the right by lashing the ball goalwards. Martina Tufekovic spilled the potent strike and defender Laura Wienroither and Mana Iwabuchi, who spent two years at Hoffenheim from 2012, both slid in together and Wienroither pushed the ball beyond the Japan international and into her own net.

But since a hamstring injury ruled out the influential centre-back Leah Williamson the Arsenal defence has struggled to cope. Highly-rated Lotte Wubben-Moy was ripped apart by Chelsea and full-back Steph Catley was poor against Barcelona in Wubben-Moy’s place alongside Jen Beattie, who has looked off the pace following a knock picked up on international duty.

After the break and with nothing to lose Hoffenheim put the Arsenal defence under pressure. Their reward was three goals in five minutes to well and truly puncture the visitors’ confidence. First Sarai Linder’s cross was poked high into the net by the toe of Chantal Hagel, then Hagel struck again, running unimpeded from the edge of the centre circle before slotting past Williams.

The 19-year-old Corley made it 4-1 moments later, heading in unchallenged from a neat Brand cross. Arsenal clung on but they were consistently sloppy in possession and gifted Hoffenheim the chance to run at them time and time again.

“We were giving away some very easy goals and it’s been a common theme from us since we came back from the international break,” Eidevall said. “We keep making easy mistakes and we need to stop. We need to do better, it’s as simple as that.”

Ahora, a tricky league test against surprise package Brighton awaits on Sunday before Arsenal can sit back and assess in the winter break.

los comentarios están cerrados.