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In Focus: Blackstenius must rise for Arsenal's big occasions
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Dan Fitch

Arsenal will hope Stina Blackstenius can help fire them into the Women's Champions League semi-finals tonight. 

The Gunners lost the first leg of their quarter-final with Bayern Munich 1-0 but still have hope of turning the tie around at the Emirates.

Though the highly-rated Blackstenius has had her struggles since moving to London, she has also netted some vital goals.

Ahead of this evening's crucial clash, we look at the Swedish striker's career to date and her current burst of form. 

Hitting form

Blackstenius, 27, has made a habit of bagging important strikes.

In February, she rose from the bench to net an extra-time winner against Manchester City in the Continental Cup semis. 

The centre forward returned to the starting line-up for the final against Chelsea and hit Arsenal's first goal in a 3-1 victory.

It was the club's first silverware since 2019 and they are still in the hunt for Champions League and Women's Super League success. 

The Gunners sit fourth in the WSL, just three points behind leaders Manchester United, who they have a game in hand on. 

They won the North London derby 5-1 last weekend, with Blackstenius opening the scoring after just five minutes.

Greatest asset

Jonas Eidevall praised Stina Blackstenius after her performance against Spurs
Jonas Eidevall praised Stina Blackstenius after her performance against Spurs

Not surprisingly, boss Jonas Eidevall was quick to praise his forward's efforts. 

He said: "Every game poses different challenges but Stina gave exactly what we needed at the start of the game by posing a threat from balls in behind against a very compact team. 

"I think it was very nice to see her take the first finish on her first touch, when she spots the goalkeeper a little bit out of position."

Blackstenius' strike was a perfect example of her movement, which allows her to get behind and split defences. 

The 5ft 9in ace is adept at evading markers to provide an aerial threat, while she also boasts a range of passing that allows her to create chances for others. 

Transfer talk

Blackstenius joined Arsenal on a free transfer from Swedish club BK Hacken in January 2022. 

It was her second move abroad, having started a spell at Montpellier in France brightly before losing her starting spot during her third season and returning to her homeland.

She was also being tracked by Tottenham and Manchester United but Blackstenius decided to link up with her compatriot Eidevall at Arsenal. 

Last term, she scored seven goals in 16 appearances. In what is her first full season, she has added another 13 in 28 outings in all competitions — though her overall form has been solid rather than spectacular. 

The January transfer window saw Blackstenius linked to a swap deal involving Manchester United and England forward Alessia Russo but the move failed to materialise. 

Critical run

Stina Blackstenius scored in the North London derby last weekend
Stina Blackstenius scored in the North London derby last weekend

Having remained at Arsenal, there is pressure on Blackstenius to deliver at a time when fellow forwards Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema are sidelined. 

Talk of the club being willing to dispense of her services after just a year puts into perspective the high standards she is expected to meet in North London.

Since January, the striker has scored four goals in nine appearances — and the Gunners will be encouraged that some of those strikes have arrived when the heat is on. 

The win against Spurs came just days after the first-leg loss to Bayern. Tonight, they must face the Germans again before crunch games against title rivals Manchester City and Manchester United. 

It is a critical run that will decide if Arsenal will add to their trophy tally — and could also dictate Blackstenius' future in England.


Arsenal WomenWomen’s Champions LeagueArsenal
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