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UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

UWCL 2022/2023: How Arsenal Women excluded Bayern Munich Frauen using quick passing – tactical analysis

Arsenal Women have just qualified for the UWCL’s semi-finals for the first time ever after beating Bayern Munich Frauen 2-1 on aggregate.

Arsenal lost the first leg with a 1-0 final score that gave the advantage to the Bavarians. However, they knew how to turn the tables in the second leg at the Emirates Stadium by winning 0-2 which was sufficient for granting them the semi-finals ticket. In fact, Arsenal played a very convincing match from both the attacking and the defensive aspects and confirmed that they deserve to be among the final four of the tournament.

So in addition to battling Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in the WSL, Arsenal will aim at reaching the UWCL final as well since they proved that they can surpass world-class teams like Bayern Munich.

Their upcoming challenge will be to beat Wolfsburg Women in the semi-finals and this will surely not be an easy task since the German team have the experience needed in UWCL and proved on several occasions that they can beat most European teams. The positive news will be the fact that Arsenal will play the second leg at home and therefore this will give them the chance to tackle the semi-finals in a similar approach to the way they approached the quarter-finals while trying to not concede goals in the first leg to make their mission easier.

On the other hand, Bayern Munich disappointed their fans in this quarter-finals’ second leg since they failed to react concretely to Arsenal’s two goals since they weren’t able to shoot on goal throughout the match and risked conceding one or two additional goals as well.

In this tactical analysis article, we will be exploring Arsenal’s convincing performance and tactics while shedding some light on Bayern Munich’s defensive and attacking issues.


Jonas Eidevall started the match according to the 4-2-3-1 formation with Manuela Zinsberger as a goalkeeper, Noelle Maritz, Leah Williamson, Rafaelle Souza and Katie McCabe in defence, Kim Little and Lia Wälti as central midfielders, Victoria Pelova and Caitlin Foord on the wings while Frida Maanum was the team’s playmaker and played just below the striker, Stina Blackstenius.

On the other hand, Alexander Straus opted for the 4-4-2 formation relying on Maria Luisa Grohs as a goalkeeper, Maximiliane Rall, Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir, Saki Kumagai and Tuva Hansen in defence, Sarah Zadrazil and Georgia Stanway as central midfielders, Franziska Kett and Klara Bühl as wingers while Lina Magull and Lea Schüller formed the attacking duo.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics


Arsenal’s convincing performance

Arsenal were successful in turning the table on Bayern Munich in this second leg mainly thanks to their excellent attacking performance and the great quality of their passing and movement without the ball inside the final third. Players like Maanum, Foord and Blackstenius made the difference with their continuous agility and capacity to beat their opponents in direct confrontations.

Plus, Maanum was a key player in this match not only because she scored a beautiful goal but also because she was present in most if not all Arsenal’s attacks and was usually the one positioning herself between the lines to receive the ball and provide the final pass.

Foord and Pelova made things even more complicated for Bayern Munich’s slow defence since these two were very quick with the ball and caused a lot of trouble for the German team’s full-backs. The following picture shows the first goal action which saw Maanum scoring a powerful shot assisted with a back-heel pass from … you guessed it! In fact, the back-heel pass idea was important in confusing Bayern Munich’s defenders since they were not expecting that backward touch and therefore that pass helped in avoiding their disturbance to Maanum before shooting. It was a first-time accurate shot that didn’t give much time for the goalkeeper to react or save it.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

What was striking and recurrent from Arsenal in this match is their efficient use of back heels as a final pass. Plus, Eidevall’s touch on the team’s playing style was very noticeable since we saw a team that plays quick football relying on one or two touches per player on most occasions while moving a lot without the ball to create spaces and have the advantage on Bayern Munich.

This does not only concern the attacking four but also the two central midfielders and even the defenders. On this occasion, it was Williamson who advanced towards the box and tried to serve her teammate using a back-heel pass but it was intercepted at the last second, preventing Arsenal from a clear goalscoring opportunity.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

Arsenal were able to add a second goal soon after thanks to the great penetration by McCabe and her ability to beat her direct marker in their duel before crossing the ball accurately to Blackstenius who was not tightly marked by the Bayern Munich defender. And therefore, the Swedish international didn’t have problems putting the ball inside the net to give the advantage to the Gunners.

In fact, McCabe’s impact in this match was also huge since she was always ready to make the necessary runs on the left flank or even penetrate towards the box just like in this action. Also, she was very close to scoring her team’s third goal after dribbling past defenders and cutting inside towards the box before shooting with her right foot.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

Arsenal kept using their quick yet accurate passing system throughout the match and created numerous goalscoring opportunities using this style. Perhaps one of the most notable misses occurred in the 39th minute when the team advanced with the ball from the right wing until they reached Maanum and then Blackstenius inside the box, like you can see below. However, Blackstenius’ finishing in this action was poor since she was not able to shoot the ball with the needed power nor towards a difficult angle, which helped Grohs save the ball twice after Maanum’s poor second attempt as well.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

In fact, Arsenal did have a few other goalscoring opportunities that they failed to convert into goals and they will have to work a lot on this aspect in the future since failing to score numerous opportunities per match can cause them trouble in the final stages of the tournament. This action saw Maanum applying the recurrent play used by Arsenal in this match, which is based on quick passing, movement without the ball between the lines, and final key passes. Maanum positioned herself in a great way once again in this match and was the link between the right wing and the left wing where Foord was completely free and waiting for a pass.

Maanum’s back-heel pass was accurate enough for Foord but the latter failed to shoot on goal strangely, considering that she had the time to coordinate her body and choose the right shooting angle.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

Bayern Munich’s disappointing performance

Bayern Munich failed to match Arsenal’s level in this match as they were not able to create notable goalscoring opportunities throughout the match and did not defend well against Arsenal’s numerous attacks. In fact, the players looked less dynamic and aggressive on the ball than Arsenal and so this did not help them in winning duels.

Moreover, passing inside the final third was not good enough and this caused a lot of problems for Schüller and Magull who were not served a lot and even when they were served, the passing was not accurate enough for them as they were also marked tightly most of the time. This picture shows how the team resorted to long passing towards the strikers to beat Arsenal’s defensive line. Yet, the long passing was not accurate enough on these occasions as well.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics

Moreover, Bayern Munich’s finishing on the few occasions that they had was poor as well. The team failed to shoot on goal or threaten Zinsberger and this means that the attacking players of the team were not in their best form at all in this match.

Bayern Munich lacked solutions inside the final third and Arsenal’s excellent defensive performance did not help them in achieving what they aimed for. Also, the psychological aspect made a difference in this match since Arsenal were more eager to get back in the match and win while Bayern Munich had the advantage and were not expecting to face such difficulties in this second leg.

The team will have to address their attacking issues as soon as possible and find alternative ways to deal with similar good defences and especially to create chances if they want to avoid such things from happening again in the future.

UWCL 2022/2023: Arsenal Women vs Bayern Munich Women - tactical analysis tactical analysis tactics


Arsenal deserved their qualification after putting everything into this second leg to win and qualify for the semi-finals, as this analysis has shown.

Their attacking and defensive performance helped them beat a big team like Bayern Munich who disappointed their fans with a little bit of a passive performance since they failed to react to Arsenal’s two goals and looked out of solutions both in attack and in defence.

Arsenal will now have to prepare for their upcoming battle against another German team Wolfsburg while trying not to repeat a negative result in the first leg.