Arsenal 0-4 Barcelona: Player ratings as holders cruise to big UWCL victory

Barcelona won comfortably at the Emirates Stadium
Barcelona won comfortably at the Emirates Stadium / Paul Harding/GettyImages

Barcelona humbled Arsenal in the Women’s Champions League on Thursday night, enjoying a comprehensive 4-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in a very one-sided clash that guaranteed them top spot in the group with a game still to spare.

Aitana Bonmati, who was player of the match in last season’s final, Jenni Hermoso and Fridolina Rolfo all scored in the first half in north London, before Hermoso got another to round it off.

Arsenal were keen for a big performance just days after being outplayed by Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley but were no match at all for the reigning European champions.

The Gunners didn’t help themselves by putting a surprisingly poor first half performance, but the visiting Catalans took full advantage. They controlled the game and pounced on mistakes.

The first goal scored by Bonmati saw her race onto a loose cross field pass from Jennifer Beattie and firing low into the bottom corner. The second, still inside the first half hour, was a good cross from Rolfo but Steph Catley failed to cut it out and Hermoso gratefully tapped it in.

The last thing Arsenal needed was to conceded another before half-time, yet that is what happened when Rolfo curled in a delightful effort from outside the penalty area.

Barcelona kept coming as the second half began, with full-back Marta Torrejon clipping the woodwork after a driving run into the penalty area.

Jonas Eidevall knew he had to make changes and sent on Vivianne Miedema, who was left out of the starting lineup much to the confusion of fans, Lia Walti and Mana Iwabuchi. It buoyed the supporters in the stadium and Arsenal finally went on to register a first attempt on target through Nikita Parris.

Ultimately, Barcelona were never out of control, completing more than three passes for every one Arsenal managed. Substitute Caroline Graham Hansen carved the hosts open for the fourth, laying on another tap-in for Hermoso to make it 4-0.

Albeit too little too late, there was a late burst of energy from Arsenal and Beth Mead ought to have pulled one back when she went through one-on-one with Sandra Panos. But the Barcelona goalkeeper was equal to it and stuck out a leg to preserve the clean sheet.

Despite the heavy defeat, Arsenal will still make it through to the knockout stages if they avoid a very unlikely 5-0 defeat to Hoffenheim on matchday six next week.

Arsenal player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Manuela Zinsberger (GK) - 5/10 - Pretty helpless as the defence in front of her crumbled. Big double save in the second half temporarily kept it at 3-0.

Noelle Maritz (RB) - 3/10 - Barcelona's biggest threats came down her flank in the first half when the game was decided.

Jennifer Beattie (CB) - 3/10 - Gifted Barcelona their opening goal with a blind and lazy pass across the field.

Steph Catley (CB) - 3/10 - Looked completely out of her comfort zone in the centre of defence. At fault for the first two goals.

Katie McCabe (LB) - 4/10 - Playing in a deeper role than she's been used to for most of this season and far less able to impact the game.

2. Midfielders

Kim Little couldn't influence the game
Kim Little couldn't influence the game / Paul Harding/GettyImages

Kim Little (CM) - 4/10 - Unable to get on the ball enough because Barcelona kept it so well. Grew into the game when it was far too late.

Frida Maanum (CM) - 3/10 - Beaten too easily as Barcelona scored the third. One of the player sacrificed with half an hour to go.

Jordan Nobbs (CM) - 3/10 - Not the birthday week she would have wanted.

3. Forwards

Caitlin Foord started in place of Vivianne Miedema and struggled
Caitlin Foord started in place of Vivianne Miedema and struggled / Paul Harding/GettyImages

Nikita Parris (RW) - 4/10 - Had Arsenal's first attempt on target well into the second half. Not in the game enough otherwise.

Caitlin Foord (ST) - 3/10 - Wasteful when Arsenal did progress up the pitch - she lazily strayed offside when there was a good chance to play her in.

Beth Mead (LW) - 5/10 - Her frustration showed when she went in hard on Hansen and was fortunate not to give away a penalty after following through in the challenge. Should have pulled one back.

4. Substututes

Vivianne Miedema (ST) - 4/10 - Left out of the starting lineup but given half an hour to try and make a difference. Didn't get any service.

Lia Walti (CM) - 4/10 - Booked within seconds of coming on.

Mana Iwabuchi (CM) - 5/10 - Tasked with adding some creativity.

Simone Boye (CB) - 5/10 - Barcelona had long taken their foot off the pedal by the time she arrived on the pitch.

Barcelona player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Sandra Panos (GK) - 6/10 - Denied Mead to preserve the clean sheet late on. Until then, her biggest task was trying to stay warm.

Marta Torrejon (RB) - 8/10 - A great attacking outlet on the right flank. Nearly scored early in the second half when she clipped the woodwork.

Irene Paredes (CB) - 7/10 - Always in control at the back.

Andrea Pereira (CB) - 6/10 - Arsenal didn't threaten anything like enough.

Fridolina Rolfo (LB) - 9/10 - More of an attacker than a defender. Assisted the second and then curled in a stunning third just before half-time.

6. Midfielders

Alexia Putellas was a cut above for Barcelona
Alexia Putellas was a cut above for Barcelona / Paul Harding/GettyImages

Aitana Bonmati (CM) - 8/10 - Couldn't believe her luck when she ran on to a loose Arsenal pass in acres of space to break the deadlock.

Alexia Putellas (CM) - 8/10 - Completely ran the game like you would the best player in the world to do. Arsenal couldn't get near her.

Mariona Caldentey (CM) - 7/10 - Passing and vision in midfield kept Arsenal at arm's length and created chances.

7. Forwards

Ana Maria Crnogorcevic (RW) - 6/10 - Posed a threat while on the pitch.

Jenni Hermoso (ST) - 8/10 - Easy tap-in to double Barcelona's lead at 2-0 in the first half. Scored from even closer in to make it 4-0. Two scrappy finishes but a proper 'number nine' performance.

Lieke Martens (LW) - 6/10 - Given 65 minutes and was brought off relatively early with the job done.

8. Substitutes

Jana Fernandez (RB) - 6/10 - Fresh legs at right-back.

Ingrid Engen (CM) - 7/10 - Passed Arsenal to death.

Caroline Graham Hansen (RW) - 7/10 - A welcome return following recent medical clearance after a heart scare. Made the fourth goal for Hermoso.

Leila Ouahabi (LB) - 6/10 - Slotted straight in on the left.

Melanie Serrano (CM) - N/A - A late arrival.

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