Saturday, November 27, 2021

Jonas Eidevall and Tobin Heath react to 4-0 victory over Hoffenheim

Arsenal were 4-0 winners over Hoffenheim in the Champions League at Meadow Park on Thursday evening thanks to a Kim Little penalty and goals from Tobin Heath, Vivianne Miedema and Leah Williamson. Jonas Eidevall and Tobin Heath spoke to the press post match. The first three questions are from Arseblog News, the others are from other journalists.

On preventing Hoffenheim from overloading central areas…
JE: We tried to press them into central areas because their biggest threat was also the biggest opportunity for us, to win the ball back and hit them on the counter attack, to win the ball in central areas and then play the ball diagonally and it worked very well.

Tobin and the other forwards did such a great job of pressing that we didn’t need to engage our central midfielders as much or too early in their pressing, that meant that we could keep a really nice formation and shape.

We played out from the back because we wanted to take deep early positions, to draw pressure onto us and to make them have really long pressing runs to take away some of their intensity and aggressiveness in other areas. That in turn created a lot of space in behind for our forwards.

On Tobin Heath’s partnership with Katie McCabe on the left…
TH: Katie’s quality is really apparent in defence and attack and with the personality she has it’s been really easy playing with her. She always gives me that support from behind and we’re constantly talking during the game about changing our positions to solve problems. As a footballer she has been a really interesting and fun player to work with. She’s had some quality moments that we’ve really enjoyed in the last couple of games too!

On Tobin’s first goal for Arsenal…
TH: It felt really special, especially with the whole team bouncing back and scoring four goals today. It was a good response to the Barcelona game, we showed a lot of character and focus. It was an important goal too, the second goal just before half time to give us a little bit of space because Hoffenheim are so direct and aggressive that they can catch you at any moment. It was a great team goal too, a great cross and a quality header down from Viv, it was great quality all around.

On winning the game so emphatically…
JE: I think it was our strongest game this season so far, to have a passing game in our own half and their half that was the best we have done this so far this season. We had very aggressive counter pressing too, very pleased with the performance tonight.

On handling Hoffenheim’s high pressure…
JE: We were very skilled at how we played when we won the ball, we found diagonal passes and central passes. When you see some of the counter attacks we had so much pace and we were able to go from front to back very well a couple of times in each half. That also creates a bit of belief that even when you are under pressure, we know we can still threaten if we win the ball back. Very nice to see.

On Tobin forging a partnership with Miedema…
TH: Her quality speaks for itself, to be able to play on the same pitch is amazing, it’s one of the key reasons I came to Arsenal for the quality players, she is obviously a big piece of the puzzle here I am excited to continuing because we have been playing a lot of games, we haven’t had time to think about it much! The options in our attack are fantastic, there are a lot of ways we can hurt teams, it’s really fun.

On settling in at Arsenal…
TH: It’s exactly what I wanted, from the football perspective the quality of the players here is amazing, it’s been fun and easy and I think Jonas is a coach who is going to take this club to the next level. You can already tell in games and training and they are ambitious to take the next step, with each game we learn and grow and learn about ourselves. There is nothing better than this competition. Hoffenheim play such unique football for example, it’s something you wouldn’t really see anywhere else and that’s the really fun thing about this competition.

On there being a Champions League group stage for the first time this season…
JE: I still think more teams from the strongest nations should have been included to make it even more competitive but the only complaint that I have is that it should have been done much, much earlier, five or six years ago, it’s obvious that this was the right thing to do.

On the importance of a second goal just before half time…
JE: It’s really important against a team like Hoffenheim because it creates a bit of a margin. It meant we could be a bit calmer and more composed and that really suited us.

On the players showing solidarity with NWSL players pursuing complaints of sexual abuse and coercive behaviour in the weekend WSL games with a linked arms gesture before kickoff…
TH: It was very emotional and difficult and to see players in the NWSL players stand together on this. The spotlight is one this incident but this probably isn’t an isolated issue there it’s all over women’s football. I hope it helps people both in the NWSL and elsewhere feel brave enough to speak up about issues. We needed mass reaffirmation but healing too and it was a beautiful moment that showed all of women’s football coming together.

Zinsberger; Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe; Maanum, Little, Nobbs (Iwabuchi 83); Mead (Parris 64), Heath (Catley 73); Miedema (Foord 73).

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C.B.

We are such a good side this season, subs as well as starters.

Hope we keep it going.

Goonerink

I don’t understand how we struggled so much against Barca, we are actually Legitimately one of the best sides in world football!
(Haven’t said that about arsenal for years!)

St Abbey

Too much respect I think

Serpent

Because Barcelona’s ladies team are just that good, I assume. (Stating the obvious, sorry…)

Viv The 🐐

I think it is comparable to the Arsenal Men vs City game. When we once had the ball, we had no idea what to do, hung onto it for too long and it felt like 4 people pressing you every time and we coul not use the space. I think it was a difference of intensity and stepping up for the game. On Paper we are good, but we are far far from perfect. Even in this game, there were a couple of attacks and build ups, which were ruined by bad decision making. And we payed for that against… Read more »

Yokomichi

Happy for the win, especially happy for Heath’s first goal assisted by Miedema from McCabe’s cross! Still I’d like to see us getting better at evading the press to have a better chance against the likes of Barça or Lyon. When the first ball goes out from the back line to the side or to center, latter if possible, there has to be another playing running close to this initial receiver to provide *an immediate outlet* preferably with a one-touch pass, who can then pass sideways or even forward. (Otherwise the initial receiver under heavy pressure will often have to… Read more »

Daveo

Cracking header from Williamson!! Wow, great corner too. Great win.

Henkamp

Great result. Got to say I was not too convinced about Zingsberger going into this season, but she has been superb so far, as has Katie McCabe (her crosses are phenomenal!)

Hoffenheim have gems in Jule Brand and Gia Corley (was surprised she didn’t start).

Also, why was the atmosphere in the ground so flat? I watched PSG on Wednesday and their fans were BOUNCING for 90 minutes! Wish we could have something similar.

Fun Gunner

💯 agree. I’m excited about Manu Zinsberger now – we could be on our way to having a truly world class keeper in a few years.

Peter Story Teller

Yeah! Not sure what has happened behind the scenes but she is a different player this season. But then several others have notably lifted their game too so whatever you think of Joe I am pleased he moved aside because we had become stale. You can accept the odd poor result if you play well that’s how the game goes but when you appear to be going through the motions like some of the matches last season that is not acceptable. Our hunger and enthusiasm is back which is the major positive since Jonas arrived.

Chrishgooner

Atmosphere in the ground? Considering there were under a thousand attenders I thought we gave it a good shot in generating some noise. The players seemed to respond to the fans’ efforts.
Why so few? Midweek schooldays, evening transport issues and maybe the fact that tickets only became available FOUR DAYS before the game all contributed to the low turnout and its all too easy to watch these days from comfort of own living room for nowt!!

Fun Gunner

Great game. I really like Hoffenheim and had they been playing anyone else I would have been rooting for them. I’d love Brand or Billa at Arsenal. Terrific side to watch.

Xuan

I think the scoreline flattered us, but is also down to the individual quality that can make a difference. I thought the last 10 minutes or so, where we pushed for a 4th and got it, and even wanted a 5th and the clean sheet, was tremendous desire and spirit. Best exemplified by Little’s recovery run and block of course.

Adedeji Abidoye

Worried about Jonas’ analysis here. In my opinion, we were not very good. I know some will be shocked seeing as we won 4-0 but Zinsberger kept us in it with some otherworldly saves and they pressured us for huge moments. We were only good in patches. Too many giveaways, didn’t look very settled playing out from the back. So him calling it our best game in terms of passing out from the back is surprising to me. Anyway, if we can be that ‘mediocre’ and win 4-0, means there’s a lot of positives. Just concerned better teams will exploit… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Even the commentary team were questioning why we kept putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure with 3 or 4 of our players fannying about in our own penalty area against an athletic side who high press!
As you say Manu was the best I have ever seen her play to keep our sheet clean so if we qualify for the next round on head to head results she is the one to thank.

Fun Gunner

Yes, I think that’s a fair comment. It reminded me a bit of the matches the men’s side would have against Dortmund when Klopp was in charge. Really tough side to come up against, often desperate defending. But Hoffenheim aren’t as clinical as Dortmund were. Same sort of all-out high energy attacking game, where you never feel that the game is won until the final whistle.

Adedeji Abidoye

Absolutely spot on. I remember those games. Especially the 1-0 victory we stole in Germany via Aaron Ramsey. That was some game.

President Eckener

I have to agree with this. I feel like the scoreline is more reflective of the quality of our finishing (and the higher class of our players) than of the quality of our play. I think defensively we were quite good, but Hoffenheim still had some chances to score, and can feel a bit unfortunate that they didn’t get at least one. Still, I felt like this game was very similiar to the Barcelona one in that the opponent generally looked more assured and quick-thinking on the pitch. They were really quite comfortable when they had the ball, but could… Read more »

pizzicato

I think it’s possible he meant it’s our best performance tactically from his view point as manager. Before game he relayed to us Hoffenheim likes to play compact central high pressing game. By playing from the back we invited them to pressure us high, stretching their lines, creating space for our players to maneuver through. We basically used their high pressing game to negate their way of playing centrally. We can debate the execution of it but tactically it’s sound. And scoring four goals against them will speak in favor of both manager and players. In any case I think… Read more »

Xuan

Yup, it is the best way to counter hoffenheim. I said in a comment to Tim’s preview that bayern should have isolated and attacked the central midfield more. This was essentially what we tried to do through playing from the back. We have to thank some great goalkeeping and defending to save us when the execution was not perfect. But the idea was there.

Chrishgooner

Interesting that Hoffenheim turned Wolfsburg over 3 days after they played us and Wolfsburg had an extra day’s rest after facing Chelski.

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