First up, what a huge win for Arsenal Women last night in the Champions League, turning around a 1-0 first leg defeat with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich (Guardian match report). The first goal from Frida Maanum is absolutely outstanding, the finish is obviously spectacular but the build-up is lovely too with a gorgeous flick from Leah Williamson. Watch here.
Stina Blackstenius scored the second from a Katie McCabe cross (watch here), and victory means the Gunners will face the winner of the Wolfsburg / Paris Saint-Germain tie which takes place later today.
Afterwards, boss Jonas Eidevall spoke about playing at the Emirates and how it helps build the connection between the team and the fans:
That is fundamental for creating these moments with our supporters but to give supporters the chance to experience the team live. It’s fundamental that we get to play here so often but also that the supporters get to experience it with us, it helps us to do this tonight. We want to continue to push and I get the sense that history is being created quickly in front of our eyes when I see how the attendance and the culture is here at the Emirates. Five years ago if someone had said that Arsenal’s long-term plan is to move to Emirates Stadium people would ask how that can happen, now I think people understand that that might be realistic for the future.
There was a record midweek crowd for a midweek Champion’s League game for this one, and fingers crossed that record will be broken for the semi-final which will see us at home in the second leg again. Tickets are already on sale, so if you fancy lending your support and getting behind the team, you know what to do!
There will be some sweating over injuries to Kim Little and Katie McCabe, but as always you’ll find all the updates and coverage you need from Tim and the crew over on Arseblog News.
Meanwhile, as we wait for news about the men to start dominating the cycle again, former boss Arsene Wenger has been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. He joins with Alex Ferguson, with whom he had such an incredible rivalry back in the day, and there’s a nice little video on the Premier League website – with snippets from Ian Wright, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira – in which he talks about his time at the club.
I enjoyed this bit when he was talking about what many would consider his crowning achievement – the unbeaten season:
When I look back on in today and how the whole season went, I really feel I was crazy. Your craziness and can kill you, as well your craziness can make you achieve remarkable things.
It’s interesting to think about as we head into the final stretch of this season. People talk about football being a simple game, which in some senses it is; but there is an increased sophistication to it these days too. We have an incredibly tactically astute manager with some wonderfully technical players who are performing in a system that feels, at times, like a jet engine. Everything is perfectly tuned to make it work the way it should.
But football is also just a bit mental. Full of things you can’t control no matter how well you’re organised or how much you prepare. Have we seen craziness around Arsenal this season? You bet your shiny metal ass we have. From the manager, to the fans, to the players, there’s been a load of it. Will that be enough to help us achieve a remarkable thing? Time will tell, but I hope so, and if we need a bit more crazy to help us do it, I get the feeling we’ve got a bit more of that under the hood if we need it.
Right, let’s leave it there for this morning. Back tomorrow with a brand new Arsecast, and more here on the blog.