Arsenal progressed to the group stages of the Champions League with a 4-0 victory over Slavia Praha in Prague on Thursday evening thanks to a Vivianne Miedema hat-trick which took her to 100 Arsenal goals in 110 appearances. Kim Little completed the scoring with a penalty to confirm a 7-0 aggregate win. Arseblog News spoke to Jonas Eidevall post-match, the first four questions are from Sky Sports News, the others from Arseblog News.
On Vivianne Miedema scoring her 100th Arsenal goal…
It’s an incredible achievement, I am told it was in 110 games and 97 starts with zero penalties and that you have to remember. To score that many goals and for none of them to be penalties, I think the numbers speak for themselves. She doesn’t only score goals, there are also a lot of assists too. I am very proud to be a small, small part of her career and I think the club should be very proud to have a player like this. We are all very happy for her.
On whether Vivianne is the best player in the world….
I have not seen every player in the world but the things that Viv does with the ball and how easy she makes everything look so easy is on another level and it’s incredible to watch and to work with. The way she controls the ball and sees solutions on the pitch, she is definitely the best player that I have ever worked with.
Sweet goal pic.twitter.com/UkY8uo9B6A
— AWFCLIPS (@awfclips) September 9, 2021
On starting the season with five wins…
I am happy, I am so happy to be in the group stage, it is so important in the long and short term for us. We have a squad that can challenge any team in Europe and we showed that last Sunday by beating the finalists from last year’s Champions League. It’s also important in the long-term, for recruitment it is important to show that Arsenal is an international club that can compete internationally and for keeping players, which might be the most important recruitment that we can do, to show existing players that we have that ambition and quality and to get the experience from it. We will have six Champions League games this autumn and comparing that to playing in the Conti Cup group stage, it’s a massive opportunity for us to learn and develop and play against different styles. I am excited but I won’t get carried away, we have lots of work to do to raise the level of what we do.
On convincing Vivianne Miedema to extend her contract…
Nobody is trying to hide that we would like Viv to stay on but I understand from Viv’s perspective and the sort of player she is that it’s important for her to see the direction the club is going in and for her when the time is right to take a decision about her future. I am of the opinion that when you see the squad we have today that, of course, we can have external players coming in to make us better but the most important thing will be to try to keep the foundation of this group and to keep building with them. That’s sometimes harder in women’s football compared to men’s football because of the shorter contracts but we need to do both, to extend contracts and to get the best players possible externally.
Miedema hattrick & 100th goal for Arsenal, McCabe assist pic.twitter.com/eJGBhJdoY4
— Hedonist (@The_Hedonist_6) September 9, 2021
On qualifying comfortably when lots of big teams were pushed very hard in the other qualifying ties…
I am pleased but I wasn’t pleased with the first half, we lacked energy and moved the ball way too slowly so we didn’t move Slavia or their defence. We were much, much better in the second half, especially with the substitutions that really made an impact in the second half. Overall though I am really happy and Slavia have made some good results in Europe and we were the unseeded team. I think three of the five ties, the unseeded team in the League Path won, which is not really normal. It shows the development of these teams and the League Path was extremely tough. For the future I think there are some great teams that should be in the group stage, like Levante, Bordeaux and Manchester City and I think that is a shame. I think that’s wrong for the competition.
On why the second half was better than the first half...
I think there could be a lot of reasons but we were playing with too little energy and we leave with a nicer feeling after the second half.
On whether the plan was to stretch Slavia by overloading the flanks…
Yes it was. We started well doing that. But we stopped moving the ball wide because they worked hard in the wide areas- they knew we were doing that. The problem with us not switching the ball quickly was that they didn’t need to cover that much ground in defence. When we started doing that in the second half, it’s not a coincidence that we started scoring. We made them cover more ground so they became detatched in their organisation and the game opens up. But if we hadn’t moved the ball that well in the second half then that wouldn’t have happened.
𝟏𝟏𝟎 𝐆𝐀𝐌𝐄𝐒. 𝟏𝟎𝟎 𝐆𝐎𝐀𝐋𝐒.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 9, 2021