This evening is the return of Champions League football for the Gunners as we kick off our group stage campaign with an away fixture against Olympique Lyonnais.
Over at the Groupama Stadium, we have the small task of tackling the reigning European champions on their home turf. Historically the most successful team in women’s football, Lyon have long attracted some of the biggest names in the world to their side and their latest host of household names will be facing off against us at 8pm.
Lyon's Champions League journey
Lyon are the most successful club in Women's Champions League history, winning the title a record eight times. Between the years 2016 to 2020, they were an unstoppable force both in Europe and domestically, scooping the Champions League trophy five times in a row.
Their most recent win came only last year when the French side pulled off a surprise 3-1 win against reigning champions Barcelona in Turin. A long-range screamer from Amandine Henry opened the scoring after six minutes, with goals from Ada Hegerberg and Catarina Macario rounding things off for the French champions.
Their season so far
They sit top of Division 1 Feminine with five wins from five, but Paris Saint-Germain are hot on their heels in second place, only two points behind them. From 2007 through to 2020, Lyon had an unbelievable display of dominance domestically, winning the league a staggering 14 times in a row.
PSG spoiled the party in 2021 when they clinched their first league title, but it didn’t take long for the D1 Arkema trophy to head back to Lyon. Alongside their Champions League win, the side won their 15th league title last season.
What the managers say
Eidevall on Lyon: "It's a very good reality check to see where we're at at the moment. I always think that we have an obligation to represent Arsenal. We're gonna do our very best. To be honest, it doesn't change if we go here to Lyon or we are away at Reading in the league. It's the same for me personally. I was here in 2013 with the team I managed in Sweden, so it feels good to be back and hopefully achieve a better result." - read every word from his pre-Lyon presser
Bompastor on us: "We know there is a good opponent ahead of us. Arsenal is a team that plays very good football with strong individuals. It's a good opposition that will allow us to see where we are compared to these English teams."
Lyon's current squad
Despite their unbeaten run, Lyon have suffered a spate of medical misfortunes lately, ruling out several key players for the start of their Champions League campaign. Global superstars such as Ada Hegerberg, Catarina Macario, Dzsenifer Maroszan, Sara Dabritz, Ellie Carpenter, and Griedge Mbock are all currently missing from their starting XI.
It speaks to their intimidating squad depth, however, that they can still field the likes of French captain Wendie Renard, ex-Gunner Danielle van de Donk, Lindsey Horan, Amandine Henry, and Christiane Endler - last year’s recipient of The Best Fifa Women’s Goalkeeper award. French duo Eugenie Le Sommer and Melvine Malard should also be fit to play this evening.
Our team news
Meanwhile, we have some injuries woes of our own to contend with. Our centre-back pairing of international captains Rafaelle Souza and Leah Williamson are both out of the squad with significant injuries.
This has, however, given Lotte Wubben-Moy an opportunity to shine. Alongside Steph Catley, the new pair at the back maintained our record-breaking run of clean-sheets in the WSL against Reading on Sunday.
In his pre-match press conference, Jonas Eidevall did not indicate any further fitness issues within the team. Also among our travelling squad is the Academy trio Katie Reid, Naomi Williams, and England youth international Michelle Agyemang.
How to watch
We kick off our Champions League group stage campaign at 8pm UK time tonight at the Groupama Stadium. All UWCL fixtures will be free to stream on DAZN's Youtube channel wherever you are in the world.
Last time around
We’ve faced Lyon on five previous occasions in the Champions League, and have yet to defeat them. Our last encounter with the French side came in 2011 in the semi-finals of the competition and across two legs, Lyon progressed to the final 5-2 on aggregate.
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