Arsenal had a night to remember on Wednesday as their women’s team produced a stunning performance against Champions League holders Lyon in France.
The Gunners ran out 5-1 winners to inflict a heaviest ever UCL defeat on Lyon – the reigning champions and eight-time winners of the competition.
Lionesses hero Beth Mead, who was named runner-up for the women’s Ballon d’Or on Monday, scored twice as the European giants had no answer to a blistering attacking display from Jonas Eidevall’s side.
Arsenal have started the Women’s Super League season on fire, winning all three of their opening games and scoring nine goals without conceding, but even boss Eidevall was surprised by the result.
“I think it was a well-deserved win but of course, 5-1 is an unexpected result against a very, very strong team, so I’m very happy about that,” said the Swede.
“I think I’ve spoken about this before: you don’t always get rewarded for doing all the right things in football but tonight we got rewarded and that I think that will increase the likelihood of doing the right things again in the future.”
Arsenal legend Ian Wright was among the fans loving what they saw as he posted his jubilant reaction to the stunning display.
Arsenal asserted their dominance from the off, with goals from Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum within the first 25 minutes.
Melvine Malard pulled one back for Lyon but Mead scored he first on the stroke of half-time to restore the two-goal advantage.
The second half continued much the same, with Arsenal coming out all guns blazing.
Foord and Mead scored within minutes of each other, with Maanum securing an assist.
Lyon had never lost by three or more goals in the Champions League and had not conceded more than four in a game for a staggering 17 years.
It’s also hard to believe Arsenal were without some of their star players.
Prolific striker Vivianne Miedema was on the bench and replaced by Maanum.
Miedema boosts an impressive 120 goals in 149 games for Arsenal but Eidevall’s choice to leave her out paid off.
Miedema entered the field of play at 80 minutes but Arsenal’s victory was already signed, sealed and delivered.
The away side were also without their usual defensive pair due to injury, with Rafaelle Souza and Leah Williamson replaced by Steph Catley and Lotte Wubben-Moy.
This formidable victory gives the Gunners a comfortable seat at the top of Champions League Group C, with Juventus beating Zurich 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Arsenal’s next Champions League game is at home to FC Zurich Frauen on Thursday, October 27.