Monday, June 17, 2024

Danielle van de Donk Reacts to 5-2 Barcelona Defeat

Arsenal were beaten 5-2 by Barcelona in a pre-season friendly at Meadow Park on Wednesday evening. Tim Stillman spoke to Player of the Match Danielle van de Donk post-match, exclusively for Arseblog News.

On coming up against an excellent Barcelona side…

Barcelona are always playing in the Champions League, they are a very, very good team. They’ve got lots of quality players and they are quite used to each other and I don’t think we are just yet. We’re still getting to know each other because we brought some new players in this summer. So for example I am still getting used to how Jen Beattie likes to receive the ball, I know she likes to receive to feet now. Barcelona know each other so, so well and we probably need a little bit more time to get back onto that level too.

On having a short summer after getting to the World Cup Final with Netherlands

The club are managing me very well, I haven’t played a full 90 minutes yet so it’s nice and slow, but I am dying to play 90 minutes again! I feel really good, I am ready to go again actually, I like the games against quality teams even when we’re losing. I think we have learned a lot from this one, more than if we were playing teams and winning 5-0.

On pre-season games against Champions League calibre opposition

It hasn’t all been about preparing for the Champions League, but it has been a lot about that. We are going to meet teams like this in Europe and we need to be prepared, we might even draw Barcelona in the next round so we could see them again soon! I wouldn’t say pre-season so far has been all about the Champions League but probably about 75% to this point.

On playing in a deeper midfield role alongside Jill Roord…

It was quite new because we’re both normally number 10s so it was different for both of us. I think we did quite well, I like playing with Jill in midfield because she is quite calm on the ball and very secure in her passing. I think we played well in the first half, but in the second half we got a bit sloppy and we were running around a bit like headless chickens, we need to keep our shape better. It’s good that Joe tries different people because we need to get the right fit there, it’s one of the most important positions.

On what Arsenal fans can expect from Jill Roord…

She’s a magical player, she’s very, like, she’s a charming player, you know? She doesn’t make any bad tackles, she’s a very good football player and she does everything very nicely. She’s got real quality on the ball and she can shoot from distance, she can put others in on goal. She’s a great talent and she’s only 22. Arsenal fans can expect a lot from her.

On Friday’s Champions League draw…

We’re all looking forward to finding out who we are going to play. We don’t really mind who we get, we know we will be in for two tough games and we just want to win and qualify.

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Did she really say headless chickens? Wow, how brutally honest! Thanks for the coverage Tim..

Harry Gill

She’s not only a great footballer, but articulate; witty; friendly; funny and fiesty as tooth and nails ! Love #10 mesmerizing speed with the ball; her read of the game’s phenomenal….go Danielle go you’re my FAV ☝️?? best wishes from Vancouver Canada ? ? ??


I trust Joe and the team but would be lying if i said the result wasn’t worrying


Pre season games do not matter.


I’m not sure what’s wrong. I can describe it: -The defence was amateur tonight -DvD and Roord are not DMs. They don’t know how to protect the defence from there. Roord had no idea to distribute from there. -The attack was clueless and slow. It needs to be more diret sometimes but it stutters when Viv is deep and no one else takes charge of being the target uo front. -Leah Williamson seems to have lost all confidence -Zinsberger was poor and such confidence out of her team. -We need more players to get into the area quickly when Veje,… Read more »

Giroud's scorpion kick

USA has shown in the WC that the game is already there and physical readiness is as important as everything else. The team that gets more engine to press high the longer is the one winning most of the times. Maybe the team misses someone like Carter? Again, lot of personnel out of position, coach tried quite a lot of different things.

Peter Story Teller

A bundle of optimism, eh?


Travelled up to see the game and I really should not have bothered, I know it’s pre season but even so. Best players on the park Mcabe and Van De Donk the rest looked like a bunch of strangers, in the first half Veje was awful no other word for it. Barca played a high line and as a result three of their goal came from interceptions. If there is not a vast improvement pretty darn quick then our WSL champs title will not last long.

canon fodder

Five of our girls played in the World Cup so it will take some weeks until they are fully rested and up to match fitness. We will come good.


Barca and us both had players in the world cup, we also started back training at the same time, and yet they were streets ahead of us in every department.
I too hope we will come good but on this showing I have my doubts.


Many of our World Cup players did not start back training at the same time. Viv only started training right before the wolfsburg friendly and the other English and Dutch players started training the week before that. Other than van der Gragt and Martens (who’s out with injury), none of their players got as far in the World Cup.

Peter Story Teller

Fortunately we don’t play Barcelona in WSL!
I thought City would be weaker this season but then they signed Ellen White!
Not sure Chelsea are up there again yet and United and Spurs are an unknown quantity having walked it to promotion but WSL is a different matter all together.

Dave Cee

Nice interview, comes across as a nice woman. Hope they have another great season


Didn’t see the game but it seems clear that, as DvD suggested, the team has some chemistry issues, what with new players on the pitch. Beyond that, Miedema is just starting to get back into the swing, and Nobbs and Walti, both of whom will eventually start, are still out. That said, I’m not entirely enthusiastic about some the signings of the last two years, and letting both Bloodworth and Van Veenendaal get away may not have been wise for a club that says it wants to win the Champions League title. The newcomers are all solid players but maybe… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Precisely, Jill plays a similar role to DvD which means that DvD doesn’t have to play 50 games this season and we have someone else who can fill her boots when she has a weekend off. Actually last time Jen Beattie was at Arsenal she was top scorer so we didn’t see her as a centre back then! Once you get into Europe along with all of the domestic trophies it becomes a squad game and you need quality duplication in each area of the field to cover for injuries and first choice players simply having a rest. This is… Read more »

Fun Gunner

We’ve got 3 or 4 weeks, so time to get back into the groove.


The first half was pretty even with both teams taking turns to dominate, the second half was very poor from an Arsenal POV. I think they need to add a defensive midfielder, lots of experimentation there in pre-season but I am not sure any of it has worked. With Dom gone and Lia injured, I think they need another body there and I am reasonably optimistic they will get someone.

Peter Story Teller

Oh Tim, you always do that! Who is it? You know you can tell me no one else is listening!


Heh, I don’t have a name Rn! I can say that Janni Arnth has left though.


why did she leave?

Peter Story Teller

You are correct, however, we have missed Lia. She was huge in our early season success last year whilst being under the radar to many folk but it is no coincidence we struggled once she picked up her injury. Does she have a twin sister?

Fun Gunner

Good chat with DVD, nice to see she has so much faith in Jill Roord.
I wasn’t at the game, clearly a lot went wrong in the second half, hope this doesn’t affect the girls’ confidence too much.


I love DvD, shes my absolute favorite player in the Dutch team. Not only is she a cute good looking woman but she shows football qualities that make her the ultimate all round player. She can pass, she can score, she can control, she can tackle (like a mean bastard sometimes, lol) and she has a great football brain on top. She must be every coaches dream player to work with. Her only problem is she can do so many things that she forgets her basic task/positioning and takes on too much responsibility for the team. And when that happens… Read more »


Sorry this is an Arsenal blog I know, but I’ve watched more of her in the Dutch team than at Arsenal. Will try to watch more women’s games as well as the Arsenal men.

Peter Story Teller

Should be easy this season as the FA will be streaming all of the WSL games!

Chris Humphrey

Thanks DvdD. An honest insight and re-assuring as to the seasons prospects from the team’s viewpoint. Far more learned from playing (probably) the second best team in Europe at this stage of pre-season than hammering a lesser team. Some may argue that a win against ANY opposition is better for confidence. Maybe. The defensive midfield position is obviously an immediate problem. Dom was the answer when Lia got injured. Until Lia comes back is it to be a new signing as alluded to by Tim? Or is the solution already there? I quite like the suggestion that Jen could move… Read more »

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