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FC Zurich 1 Arsenal 9: Maanum on fire as Gunners crush Swiss opponents and top of their Champions League group

FRIDA MAANUM caused mayhem in Arsenal’s attack as they ran riot against FC Zurich in a nine-goal away demolition.

The midfielder bagged a hat-trick as the Gunners turned on the style with a 9-1 victory that saw them finish top of their Champions League group. 

Stina Blackstenius was on target with a brace with five different Arsenal players on the score sheet

The result was a positive tonic for the North London giants who have seen their attacking ranks depleted following ACL injuries to Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead.

The match saw five different players get on the score sheet for Jonas Eidevall’s side.

And the Gunners’ travelling fans were given a boost with Kim Little amongst the goalscorers.

The Arsenal stalwart returned to action for the first time since October after missing seven games due to a knee injury. 

On how important it was to see a mix of players on target for his team, Eidevall said: “Of course, end product is important with forward players. 

“I also think it’s important when we look to develop the existing players we have. 

“It also poses one of those challenges in this transfer window that we also need to recruit players that can give us end product.

“That is certainly one of the measurable factors that we have lost with those two players (Miedema and Mead). 

“We need to take this into consideration when we recruit.”

Arsenal’s win occurred before Mead capped a standout year on the pitch for club and country when she was named as the winner of the BBC’S 2022 Sports Personality of the Year gong.

And her Gunners pal Jen Beattie shared a clip of the forward’s team-mates cheering on her win as they travelled back to England following their defeat of Zurich. 

Shortly before the announcement of Mead’s triumph, Eidevall added: “It’s an extraordinary year she has had under difficult circumstances that we are all – aware of. 

“Like I said – and I think it was in the autumn of 2021 – Beth Mead is this good. 

“It becomes so clear when you see her in training.  

“What people took as form, you could easily see it’s not form, it’s quality.

“That’s why I’m also very confident that she will be able to return in a very strong condition again because she is that good of a football player. 

“I’m very happy for her that she has been able to show that for a lot of people.”

The visitors came into the game looking to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to Lyon at the Emirates and with the aim of finishing top of Group C. 

Maanum got the ball rolling in the 18th-minute with a well-executed floated free-kick with the Swiss side pinned back early on. 

That came minutes after the hosts’ looked for a penalty after Alayah Pilgrim collided with Arsenal defender Rafaelle in the box. 

Arsenal doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute with Caitlin Foord slotting home from Stina Blackstenius’s cross after Leah Williamson’s header hit the crossbar. 

And a swift counter saw the visitors make it 3-0 with Lia Walti teeing up Maanum to fire the ball beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Lourdes Romero. 

Any hopes of a let-up for the hosts were blown away when Maanum set up Blackstenius for a tap-in close to the stroke of half-time. 

Kim Little capped her return from injury for Arsenal by converting a second-half penalty

Maanum later made it 5-0 in the 51st minute blasting home a top-corner strike – her eighth goal in 12 games played this term. 

Former Zurich player Noelle Maritz was the provider for Blackstenius as the Gunners striker bagged Arsenal’s sixth goal.

But Williamson’s accidental slip and trip of Seraina Piubel saw the hosts pull one back with Fabienne Humm netting from the spot in the 64th minute. 

But their celebrations were dampened when Foord poked the ball home for the visitors’ seventh goal five minutes later. 

And a Kim Little spot-kick and Mana Iwabuchi’s slotted finish saw Arsenal wrap a storming performance on the road.

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