Arsenal Women were 3-0 victors at home to Slavia Praha in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier thanks to goals from Nikita Parris, Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema.
Arsenal Head Coach Jonas Eidevall was unable to take the game as he finalises visas for his family in Sweden, so assistant manager Aaron D’Antino spoke to the press post match. The first three questions are from Arseblog News, the other three are from other Suzy Wrack at the Guardian.
On the performance…
It was a game of two halves, in the first half we really controlled the game. Our detail was there on the ball but also with our off the ball movement, we knew they would be aggressive in terms of man-marking so a lot of gaps did open up and we got a lot of joy in wide areas. Then in the second half they came out with more fight, they were moe physical and started the press a little higher. They started to cause us issues with the long ball and it was challenging for us in dealing with that but also dealing with the runners.
The second half became a lot scrappier and a lot more about us competing with them physically as opposed to controlling the game with the ball. In saying that, I think we deserved more goals tonight and there were some good opportunities, if we’d scored more of those I think the morale becomes higher but we summarised afterwards by saying there were some really good lessons learned tonight to take into the second leg and Sunday too.
On whether going wide in the first half was a deliberate tactic…
We definitely knew they would be man-marking so we know space would open up wide and we needed the bravery to exploit it with those third player runs into the area. Obviously we’d prefer that to be central as the best path to goal but as the game progressed it was congested in the middle of the park, we knew that was the space to go for. Once we did that, the next phase was to exploit the space in behind as early as possible.
On whether there will be any further transfers before Thursday’s transfer deadline…
I couldn’t tell you! That’s a Jonas question! My detail is watching videos and training, he’s the man doing the business so I can’t give you any goss….
On whether playing these qualifiers gives Arsenal a nice flow going into the Chelsea game…
I think a lot. I think it’s been great in terms of our preparation. It gave us a focus immediately in preseason from day one, knowing that these games were coming and it was going to be competitive earlier than the season. It gives you a different mindset going into pre-season. With the way it played out with the Olympic girls not being around it gave everyone an opportunity to really show Jonas what they are about early on.
There are some really good lessons learned in todays match which I think are going to put us in a really good place for Sunday as well as next week. We want to be in Europe so whenever the games come we have to be prepared to play. It’s been positive from the first day.
On how the midfield three of Little, Maanum and Iwabuchi combined tonight….
Amazing, amazing. To be able to watch the three combine in the middle of the park and just work, they were relentless, it’s a real joy. The scary thing is we still have a long way to improve. They’ve barely bee together so it’s only going to get better.