George Sessions, PA
Vivianne Miedema continued her hot streak with another goal to help Arsenal beat Juventus 1-0 and move within touching distance of a place in the Women’s Champions League knockout phase.
Miedema’s excellent 16th-minute finish at the Emirates Stadium was her third consecutive goal since she returned from a short break and was enough to keep Jonas Eidevall’s side at the top of Group C.
A hard-fought victory over former Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro’s team means a point at home to Lyon next week will send the English outfit through to the last eight of Europe’s elite competition.
Arsenal were playing at the Emirates for the fourth time this season and Euro 2022 winner Leah Williamson was back in the starting line-up after recently recovering from a foot injury.
Williamson, who wore the captain’s armband on her first start in three months, almost watched the Italians take an early lead but Manuela Zinsberger made a vital stop to deny Arianna Caruso after a slick one-two with Barbara Bonansea.
It was not a sign of things to come with Arsenal soon settling into their groove and only the offside flag denied Stina Blackstenius a goal in the 12th minute.
Juventus’ let-off did not last long though with the hosts taking the lead four minutes later through their in-form attacker Miedema.
After Williamson picked out Blackstenius down the right, the cross by the Swedish striker was missed by ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin and Miedema was on hand to fire home first-time into the empty net.
It was a smart finish from the Netherlands international, who netted for the third match in a row.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) December 7, 2022
Eidevall’s side had been wasteful in their weekend win over Everton and looked for a decisive second, but Caitlin Foord saw a long-range strike parried wide while Blackstenius was denied just after the half an hour mark by a superb Lisa Boattin block.
Lottie Wubben-Moy headed another chance off target before half-time to ensure Arsenal’s advantage remained at only one for the interval.
Juventus came out with better intent after the break but it was the home side who continued to create the better chances with Foord denied by Peyraud-Magnin.
Williamson made way in the 62nd-minute with Rafaelle, also recently back from a foot issue, replacing her to warm applause from the 6,592 at a freezing cold Emirates Stadium.
Montemurro’s side continued to push for a leveller against his old club but the best they could muster were hopeful long-range efforts from Boattin and Julia Grosso before Valentina Cernoia’s stoppage-time free kick landed on the roof of Zinsberger’s net.
It meant Arsenal held on for a vital three points and will progress into the quarter-finals with a draw at home to Lyon next week.