Arsenal did a professional job to defeat PSV 3-1 in Champions League qualifying and were rewarded with a second round tie against the weakest possible opponent in Slavia Praha.
Arsenal defeated Slavia Praha 13-2 on aggregate two seasons ago and will therefore be favourites to go through to the Group stages of the Champions League.
For the Round 1 final, Jonas Eidevall made two changes from the team that defeated Okzeptes with Nikita Parris and Lotte Wubben-Moy making way for Jennifer Beattie and Stephanie Catley.
Katie McCabe was moved from left-back to left winger with Catley slotting into her preferred role.
The team was as follows: Zinsberger; Maritz, Boye-Sørensen, Beattie, Catley; Maanum, Little, Iwabuchi; Mead, Miedema, McCabe. Parris, Foord, Wubben-Moye and Patten came on as subs.
It was a professional performance and Arsenal were very much in control for most of the game as they went two-up at half-time.
Miedema scored a fantastic team goal after a one touch build up play:
the sexiest team goal i’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/XF1NqvbUUk
— e ✨ (@awfcgals) August 21, 2021
Then Iwabuchi added the second with a moment of magic.
— women's football🇯🇵 (@Kogel18) August 23, 2021
PSV pounced well upon a defensive error and the Dutch side were on top for a period of play while Arsenal regrouped and defended deeper. Iwabuchi, however, scored the third after a Miedema effort was parried by Van Veenendaal, only for the Japanese playmaker to tap the ball in and close the game.
The draw was made in Nyon yesterday and the Gunners were lucky to get Sparta Praha rather than Lyon, Wolfsburg or Jonas Eidevall’s former club Rosengard.
Arsenal will be huge favourites to go through to the Group stages in the new revamped format.
Here is the full draw:
The League path will see five interesting ties between teams that finished runner-up or third in their respective Leagues:
Levante (ESP) vs Lyon (FRA)
Arsenal (ENG) vs Slavia Praha (CZE)
Real Madrid (ESP) vs Manchester City (ENG)
Wolfsburg (GER) vs Bordeaux (FRA)
Rosengård (SWE) vs Hoffenheim (GER)
The Champions path will see interesting ties but the field is not as strong as in the League path. Former Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro, now at Juventus, should make it to the Group stages and it would be a nice reunion to get drawn against them in the next round.
Sparta Praha (CZE) vs Køge (DEN)
Osijek (CRO) vs Breidablik (ISL)
Vllaznia (ALB) vs Juventus (ITA)
Twente (NED) vs SL Benfica (POR)
Apollon LFC (CYP) vs WFC Kharkiv (UKR)
Servette FC Chênois (SUI) vs Glasgow City (SCO)
Vålerenga (NOR) vs Häcken (SWE)
Five teams from the League path and seven from the Champions path will qualify for the Group stages and will join the top four seeds Barcelona, PSG, FC Bayern and Chelsea.
The Group stages will consist of four groups of four teams playing six games and the top two teams will go through to the quarter-finals.