Arsenal’s Champions League fate will be decided in their final Group C match after group winners Barcelona earned a comfortable win at Emirates Stadium.
But the Gunners, in second place, three points above Hoffenheim, still have their future in their own hands before next week’s meeting with the Germans.
Aitana Bonmati, Jennifer Hermoso and Fridolina Rolfo put defending champions Barcelona in control at half-time.
Hermoso then added her second to make it 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining.
Arsenal needed to avoid defeat to secure their progress to the last eight with a game to spare in Group C – or hope Hoffenheim failed to beat HB Koge.
Hoffenheim won 2-1 to keep their hopes alive, but Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal side will be confident of sealing progress against opponents they beat 4-0 at home on matchday two.
Barcelona dominated possession and territory but Jordan Nobbs shot narrowly over after regaining possession in midfield with Arsenal’s first attempt with 10 minutes played.
Manuela Zinsberger produced an excellent save to deny Bonmati, but the Spaniard rolled in the visitors’ first after 22 minutes following a mistake by Jennifer Beattie.
Ballon d’Or runner-up Hermoso added a second from Rolfo’s low cross seven minutes later and, while some resolute Arsenal defending prevented further damage, Rolfo’s stunning finish from outside the penalty area in first-half added time effectively sealed victory.
Unbeaten Super League leaders Arsenal suffered only their second loss of the season in Sunday’s delayed 2020-21 FA Cup final against Chelsea – their other arriving at the hands of a Barcelona side considered “the world’s best” by Arsenal boss Eidevall.
Eidevall said he did not recognise his own team in the 3-0 defeat at the weekend, which ended an eight-match unbeaten run, although he will have been pleased with the second-half response from his players on Thursday.
Marta Torrejon hit the crossbar and Zinsberger again came to the rescue as a relentless Barcelona were initially frustrated in their search for a fourth goal – before Hermoso’s scrappy second crept over the line.
Barcelona had already secured their quarter-final spot but confirmed their place as group winners with a dominant display, in which they had 20 shots to Arsenal’s six.
The Gunners now host winless Leicester City in the Super League on Sunday before their crucial final group match at Hoffenheim on Wednesday.