Arsenal 4-0 Hoffenheim: Women’s Champions League – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 03 PM GMT+0

Arsenal scored twice in each half to overcome a spirited Hoffenheim 4-0 and get their Champions League group stage campaign up and running

Here is the match report, as promised.

And that’ll do from me! We’ll have Suzanne Wrack’s match report for you very soon. Thanks a lot for your company, as ever.

Arsenal now sit second in the group, edging Hoffenheim on head-to-head. That scoreline could yet prove crucial.

Full-time: Arsenal 4-0 Hoffenheim

Three points and a healthy goals tally – that gets Arsenal’s group stage off the mark very handily indeed. They didn’t actually have it all their own way, but were ultimately a class above in the areas where it mattered and run out convincing winners in what was largely a very watchable game.

90+2 min: Hagel off, Degen on for Hoffenheim, who then survive another McCabe corner. We have two more minutes to play.

90+1 min: Arsenal fancy a fifth and earn another corner. McCabe’s delivery is so good and there’s none of this keepball nonsense, she hangs it under the bar and Tufekovic only just grasps it. Hoffenheim then break and it’s Little, of all people, who makes a last-ditch tackle to thwart Leimenstoll! What an example to set.

88 min: I think this scoreline really does flatter Arsenal, but they have done very well to capitalise in those periods when they’ve been firmly on top. Hoffenheim have not managed to score at such moments.

85 min: Nearly 5-0, as Parris runs clear on the right after great work from Foord but shoots across goal.

Arsenal’s Nikita Parris (left) fires wide.
Arsenal’s Nikita Parris (left) fires wide. Photograph: John Walton/PA
Arsenal’s Nikita Parris (left) reacts after a missed chance.
Parris (left) rues after her miss. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Updated

Goal! Arsenal 4-0 Hoffenheim (Williamson 86)

Arsenal had started coming on a bit stronger and McCabe whips a brilliant corner delivery over from the left that Williamson bullets in at the near post. The ball pretty much hit her in the face, such was the venom with which McCabe delivered it.

Leah Williamson thumping header give Arsenal their fourth goal.
Leah Williamson thumping header give Arsenal their fourth goal. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson celebrates scoring their fourth goal.
Williamson celebrates with her teammatte. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

85 min: Another Arsenal change sees the ex-Hoffenheim player Iwabuchi brought on for Nobbs, who gets a loud cheer as she runs off.

82 min: An Arsenal corner, which seems a rarity at this point. McCabe swings in a searching delivery but it’s dealt with nicely enough. Arsenal retrieve the ball and go back into their own half. This one’s almost done now.

80 min: Eidevall, on the touchline, is booked after getting rather exercised by a rugby-like tackle from Corley on Maritz.

79 min: Three Hoffenheim subs – Steinert, Harsch and Leimenstoll come on for Linder, Dongus and Billa.

77 min: It’s been an attacking whirlwind from Hoffenheim since I said Arsenal weren’t being overly troubled!

75 min: Zinsberger saves again! Corley plays in Brand, who’s through ... but the keeper parries her effort. That was a good chance.

74 min: A couple of Arsenal subs to try and gee things up, with two of the scorers going off – Foord for Miedema and Catley for Heath.

73 min: And now McCabe clears off the line! From a left-sided corner, Linder gets up high and wins the header ... which goes past Zinsberger, but not the Arsenal defender! The Gunners have dozed off a bit here, Hoffenheim deserve a goal across the piece.

72 min: Zinsberger prevents a nervy last 20 with a fine save! Brand – again – gets in down the right this time and her driven centre nicks off a defender. It’s bound for the net but the Arsenal keeper shows smart reactions to tip the ball past the far post.

Updated

71 min: Has this been a 3-0 game? Probably not. But Arsenal look like coming through it without being terribly taxed. Their attacking threat has diminished in the last 10 minutes mind you.

69 min: It is now Lyon 5-0 Benfica, which is another mark of the task that awaits Arsenal later on (we hope) in this competition.

68 min: The earlier booking was in fact for Maanum, it has been confirmed. Hoffenheim keep coming and Zinsberger does well to dive on a fizzed Hagel cross. Billa would have done well to attack that at the near post.

65 min: Nikita Parris replaces Mead, who got things started by winning that penalty.

63 min: Hoffenheim, to their credit, are still trying to ask a few questions and Linder runs from deep onto a Brand cross, only to head over.

61 min: Williamson is yellow carded after illegally halting a bright dart from Linder.

60 min: Nobbs can’t make a clean contact after good work from Little. There is plenty of space out there now and Arsenal could find another goal or two useful in the long run.

58 min: Mead is petulantly fouled by Naschenweng, which would suggest Hoffenheim know the jig is already up.

Updated

55 min: Could be more goals in this. Nobbs finds Miedema, who tries to lay it on a plate for Heath but just overplays it. Miedema has been very unselfish a couple of times today, not necessarily to her credit on those occasions. But she’s got her poacher’s goal so no arguments!

Goal! Arsenal 3-0 Hoffenheim (Miedema, 51)

That settles it. Arsenal go up the other end and Nobbs shoots first-time from 20 yards. Tufekovic does well-ish to save but the ball loops up into the air and drops for Miedema, about a foot out, to score. She only had to let the ball hit her really. Arsenal are home and hosed, more or less.

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema chases after the ball before sticking it into the net for the home side’s third.
Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema chases after the ball before sticking it into the net for the home side’s third. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters
Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal Women celebrates scoring her teams third goal,
Miedema is congratulated by her teammates. Photograph: Chloe Knott/Danehouse/Getty Images

Updated

51 min: That’s nice from the sub Corley though. She unleashes a vicious drive from range but Zinsberger is behind it. And immediately ...

50 min: Arsenal peg Hoffenheim in by their corner flag. For all their possession, the visitors haven’t threatened yet. Heath then steals the ball and crosses *just* over Mead’s head from the left.

47 min: A quiet start, Hoffenheim mainly passing the ball around. Do Arsenal go all out for a third?

Peeeep! The second half begins!

Arsenal get us underway again.

Charles Antaki emails: “When a team seems to be misfiring on most cylinders, you need some quality players tonight things together. Arsenal fans can once again bless Leah Williamson, Kim Little and, increasingly, Frida Maanum for keeping things on an even keel.”

Hoffenheim are making a sub for the second half – Corley replaces De Caigney, who had an early shot but was otherwise quiet.

In Group D, Lyon are 2-0 up against Benfica – ex-Arsenal player Danielle van de Donk one of the scorers.

Half-time – Arsenal 2-0 Hoffenheim

This wasn’t vintage stuff, but Arsenal scored during their two spells of sustained pressure and deserve their lead, which should be enough now. Hoffenheim started brightly and will rue an early chance missed by Billa.

Goal! Arsenal 2-0 Hoffenheim (Heath 45+)

They’d just started to find their range again and it’s a lovely goal. McCabe – I think – arrows a cross over from the left and Miedema nods down astutely for Heath, who had a mixed time before that, to finish with aplomb!

Tobin Heath thumps the ball home to double Arsenal’s lead.
Tobin Heath thumps the ball home to double Arsenal’s lead. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters
Arsenal’s Tobin Heath wheels away in celebration after doubling the Gunners’ lead.
Heath wheels away in celebration. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

45 min: Now a lovely bit of play from Miedema, who slaloms inside Naschenweng after dropping deep again, rightly draws ooohs and aaahs from the crowd.

43 min: Now Miedema, generally quiet, surges through the middle but overcooks her pass for a frustrated Heath.

41 min: Arsenal are perhaps trying to be too deliberate passing out, against a hungry pressing side, when they could try to assert themselves a little by going longer and turning them around. It might not be their style but if it gets you on top in a phase of the game then surely needs must. As I type, though, they usually create a lovely goal as Williamson drives forward from the back but *just* can’t weight her pass for the totally open Heath, who has to check back.

Updated

39 min: This is certainly a scrappy phase. Zinsberger, though, has to be smart to catch an opportunistic effort from range by Hagel.

36 min: Now Arsenal nearly get themselves into a spot of defensive bother. The game has evened out again now.

34 min: Brand is a big threat and wriggles to the byline, but Arsenal scramble away. At the other end, Feldkamp aims a possibly wind-assisted backpass towards Tufekovic from about yards – it’s way overhit and she’s fortunate it sails behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

31 min: When they don’t turn it on, they should go two down. This time they try to play out but make a mess of it, and Miedema has a great position on the left of the box. Oddly, she tries to square for Little rather than shoot – and it’s intercepted when really the net could be rippling.

29 min: Zinsberger plucks a Brand cross out of the air after Hoffenheim again move slickly. When they turn it on, they do look good.

27 min: Hoffenheim do nicely to play through Arsenal’s press and launch a by-now rare attack, but Billa doesn’t read Brand’s reverse pass and the move fizzles out.

25 min: Arsenal look full of the joys now. Hoffenheim are getting somewhat frayed.

23 min: I’ll take that back. It looked initially that, as the ball bounced up, Specht cleared it and caught Mead after doing so. But in fact Specht did clip Mead first, from the replay I’ve just seen showed. Shouldn’t have doubted Stephanie Frappart, who is a highly accomplished referee.

Goal! Arsenal 1-0 Hoffenheim (Little pen, 21)

Slotted in consummately and Arsenal lead! Might want to look at that penalty award again though – Hoffenheim are not happy and they have a point.

Arsenal’s Kim Little slots home from the spot to open the scoring.
Arsenal’s Kim Little slots home from the spot to open the scoring. Photograph: John Walton/PA
Arsenal’s Kim Little celebrates scoring their first goal with Frida Maanum.
Little celebrates with Frida Maanum. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

Penalty to Arsenal!

Mead is felled by Specht in the box ... and a penalty is given!

Arsenal’s Beth Mead controls the ball before being fouled by Hoffenheim’s Michaela Specht and a penalty is awarded to Arsenal.
Arsenal’s Beth Mead controls the ball before being fouled by Hoffenheim’s Michaela Specht and the referee points to the spot. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

19 min: Heath finds space inside the box but undercooks her centre and it’s cleared. But now ...

18 min: Tufekovic took a whack there and is receiving some treatment in her six-yard box. She’ll be OK. In the meantime Arsenal take some instructions from the side. They’ve felt their way into the game after a sketchy start.

16 min: On the opposite flank Mead, coming into the game for the first time, is bundled over near the right corner of the box. This is a great position and potential McCabe range, albeit at an angle. She whips one in low, you suspect part going for goal and part looking for a snick, and it’s bravely held by the keeper Tufekovic under pressure from Wubben-Moy.

14 min: Heath does well now, gliding away down the left before backheeling towards Nobbs, who wins a corner. From that, Maanum has a go at emulating her weekend cracker against Everton from range. Not this time.

Arsenal’s Tobin Heath scampers past Hoffenheim’s Laura Wienroither.
Arsenal’s Tobin Heath scampers past Hoffenheim’s Laura Wienroither. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

12 min: A bit better from Arsenal, who work the ball forward smoothly before Heath, out on the left, is outmuscled and they are forced back. This little spell of possession should do them good.

9 min: De Caigny, Hoffenheim’s Belgian forward, lashes a half-volley not far over from 20 yards after more good work from Brand. Arsenal are not having things remotely their own way early on.

7 min: Arsenal a little wayward under pressure, Williamson spraying a pass out of play from defence. Shortly afterwards Billa tries to get in behind but is flagged offside – incorrectly, I think.

6 min: Hoffenheim do look sharp. Brand tries a slaloming run through the middle but it’s ultimately snuffed out. Nice early tempo here with both sides having a go.

4 min: Arsenal respond quickly and force a corner, which is headed away at the back post with Miedema lurking.

3 min: Should be 1-0 to Hoffenheim! The defence get in a mess after a left-sided cross is nodded down and Billa, the dangerous centre-forward, swivels before shooting wide from a great position.

2 min: Hoffenheim are clearly happy to press high with aggression. As Arsenal worked the ball across their back line, there were six away players hunting in their defensive third.

Peeeeeep! Away we go!

Hoffenheim, right to left, kick us off.

The Hoffenheim team, in blue, look very relaxed. Lots of laughing and bonhomie before they come out. But now Arsenal emerge onto the pitch, led by Kim Little – we’re kicking off soon!

Both times line up prior to kick-off.
Both times line up prior to kick-off. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Updated

Not too long til things get underway in Borehamwood, where Arsenal play their home games. The pitch is being forked and looks in fine condition. Fans are trickling in. The teams are gathering in the tunnel area ...

In Group D, meanwhile, Bayern Munich have beaten Hacken 4-0 to move onto four points from two games. Good start to the night for Bundesliga fans ...

In fresh Group C news, Barcelona have just won tonight’s other game 2-0 away at HB Koge. It puts them out on six points from six, although that’s not a particularly convincing scoreline given we know Hoffenheim hit the Danes for five. The second goal was an added-time penalty. Should Arsenal be warned?

Read Suzanne Wrack’s interview with Beth Mead to get you in the mood for the match.

Starting lineups

Arsenal: Zinsberger; Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe; Little, Maanum, Nobbs; Mead, Miedema, Heath

Subs: Williams, Beattie, Schnaderbeck, Goldie, Catley, Wälti, Iwabuchi, Foord, Parris

Hoffenheim: Tufekovic; Wienroither, Feldkamp, Specht, Naschenweng; Linder, Dongus, Hagel, Brand; De Caigny, Billa

Subs: Dick, Von Schrader, Buhler, Corley, Kocsan, Degen, Harsch, Fuhre, Steinert, Leimenstoll

Hello

Arsenal have been firing domestically – five wins in five and playing some super football under Jonas Eidevall. Now all they need is to get their Champions League group stage campaign up and running. There was little shame in losing 4-1 to a staggeringly good Barcelona team first time out – Barca are, as Chelsea discovered, head and shoulders above the rest of Europe – but it does means they could use three points against Hoffenheim here.

The German side finished third in last season’s Frauen Bundesliga and have begun their Group C obligations in rattling good form, thumping HB Koge 5-0. So victory and a narrowing of the goal difference would go down a storm here for the Gunners, who *should* have enough to win but Hoffenheim are known for being a bold, adventurous side who will look to play on the front foot and ask questions. Given that Arsenal are too, this should be a fun one!

Stay close for buildup and then, yes, minute-by-minute (is) updates! And by all means get your emails and tweets flooding in too.

Contributor

Nick Ames

The GuardianTramp

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