Friday, December 8, 2023

Jonas Eidevall reacts to 4-1 defeat to Barcelona

Arsenal began their Champions League group stage with a 4-1 defeat at defending champions Barcelona on Tuesday evening. Coach Jonas Eidevall spoke to the press post match, the first question is from Arseblog News, the rest from other journalists.

On the decision to completely change the front three after 56 minutes…
It was a scenario we had in mind before the game but you have to keep your options open when you play the game but at that time of the game we felt it would give us a bit more energy and helped us to press them with a bit more intensity.

On whether Jonas expected to be penned in defensively by Barcelona…
We didn’t expect it, no, Barcelona played very, very well today and they play in a way that means they deny you space and time with the ball and there were a few occasions when we found some spaces. In the second half we found spaces many more times and we gave them some problems but they are a team that is better than any other opponent we have played this season. But we will learn from it for the future and it will raise our standards and we will be better.

On what Jonas and his players learned from the game to take into the return game in December…
I learned that we have a team that never gives up, it was a very tough game and we probably couldn’t have played a better team. We take the way we played in the second half, it’s a tough result to take but I am really proud that we gave our best for the whole game. This is a standard for how good we need to be on the ball to play out from their press and we can learn from that and bring it to training as the standard and use it as a catalyst.

On how Barcelona were able to dominate the game…
They have a lot of great players but the difference is that they are a really good team and what makes them a really good team is that they have really good players on the wing one on one, like Hansen and Martens. They also have really good players in midfield and they can break lines and they have really fast players like Oshoala who can beat you with runs in behind. Most teams can’t hurt you in so many ways and that is one of Barca’s biggest strengths, they can punish you in different ways, which makes it very difficult to stop them.

On Jonas’ feeling on the sideline watching the game…
As a coach you always try to find solutions and you also try to instil belief in your players. It is small margins in games like this and the decision making needs to be so good. It doesn’t work for me to scream and direct the players from the sidelines because if you’re half a second too late when you make a pressing run, they play the ball into the space behind and they are past you. But I am really proud of my players, they never gave up and we will learn from this going forward.

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We will be alright. I thought we showed them too much respect in the first half, to the point where even our trusted ball players like Leah and Little couldn’t hold onto the ball and make the right passes. We got much better in the second half; especially with the changes. I am sure Eidevall must have learned a thing or two from this game today. Anyone else got irritated with some of the calls (and non calls) from the referee, or am I the only one? Gave me flashbacks of our games with their men’s side where they were… Read more »


You are definitely not the only one. I saw a a Barca player clearly pull back our just as we were about to break and the ref just gave a free kick, grudgingly and refused to show the Barca player a card. When Barca plays fell during a 50/50 challenge, the ref blew but for us, she waved play on. It got so bad that Jonas had to complain and get carded in the 2nd half… and watching Jonas in other games so far he hasn’t had this issue

Peter Story Teller

Worst one of the night was the blatant block of Meado for which she got nothing so she pushed the Barca player out of the way and got a yellow card herself!
Yet another example of the standard of refereeing lagging behind the professionalism of the teams even at Champions League level never mind domestic competitions.

A Different George

I thought the referee saw every contact as a foul and (to use the current phrase) didn’t let the game flow. But I think she did the same to both sides.

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

The UEFALONA flashbacks were completely wiped from my brain until tonight. Our yellow kit was the trigger for me that brought back those bad memories from my adolescence. At least this Arsenal team didn’t have anyone sent-off.

On a positive note, that was a very good delivery from Heath. Just wish Jonas had made some of the subs earlier. I think Parris would have added another goal had she been on for longer.


With 6 players on yellow cards, i am concerned abt suspensions in other games. Ref abit inept and inconsistent. Deja vu.


Only regret is that we gave them too much respect in the first half and conceded 2 sucker punch goals at the wrong timing. 30th min when we looked like we could have survived, and then right before HT. Enough people highlihhted the refereeing, but this is what happens when a team’s reputation precedes it.

Thought we gave them a go, and rattled them. Too little too late. But i think we will learn and move on.


“Too little too late” was exactly what I thought after we had a good spell in the second half.


I’m sure Barcelona relaxed somewhat in the 2nd half–the game was effectively over at 3-0. They’re hard to press/challenge because there’s always an unmarked player near the ball, and the player with the ball finds her. One way or another, you’ve got to get the ball up the field and push up and try to force them into some mistakes in the middle of the field, but easier said than done, as they don’t make many mistakes with the ball.


Well that was an intense battering. Great efforts to hang in there but Barcelona have developed into the complete team, we are very much work in progress at this level.
What a beast of a player Asisat Oshoala has become in the 5 years since she left us. Unstoppable tonight.

Peter Story Teller

Credit to her that she didn’t celebrate the goal.
I remember watching her in an Arsenal shirt and she always appeared to be like an Olympic sprinter but no one told her that she was meant to take the ball along also. Some coach somewhere has instilled some technique to go with her natural pace and she looked the real deal tonight.


Well, Oshoala usually is not very effective at all against teams that are sitting back and defending in numbers; her strength is of course open-field play. But I think Barcelona had Arsenal so baffled and rattled tonight that she was able to take advantage. So credit to her. She may have been offside on that 2nd goal of theirs. There’s no sugarcoating this one–that was embarrassing. I couldn’t even watch the 2nd half. Arsenal literally spent all but maybe 4 minutes of the first half in their defensive half, always a step behind Barcelona, who play like they have one… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Wasn’t embarrassing at all! Barcelona are at present the best team in the world and they will take anyone apart. They are averaging 7 goals a game ffs and we kept them down to 4 and could have scored a couple ourselves. While I was watching the game evolve I could see the difference between the teams which is movement of their players. Arsenal were playing with their players 20, 30 or 40 yards apart in a formation. No Barcelona pass was more than 5 or 10 yards and each player would take a single touch and move. We ended… Read more »


If that first half wasn’t embarrassing, then nothing embarrasses you. Neither you nor any Arsenal fan would have taken this attitude before the match–and didn’t. Nor would I have. The fact is, the first half was hard to watch, after a time, it was so one-sided. Arsenal did not spend two minutes out of 40 on Barcelona’s side of the field. That’s about as bad a beat-down as one can get. The midfield and outside backs were tentative and nervy and lacked the courage to move with and without the ball. I couldn’t even watch the second half–that’s how embarrassed… Read more »


Tell me you nothing about football, without telling me you know nothing about football

Parisian Weetabix

Not to be pedantic but could you see your way to leaving a space either side of your dashes – like this? Otherwise they look like hyphens.

‘one-sided’ = good use of hyphen
‘match-and’ = bad use of dash, should be ‘match – and’

Don’t mean to have a go at you while you’re being waled on but it made your post hard to read.


On the TV, Barca’s first and second goals looked tight to being offside. First one player returning from an offside position, second one looks marginally off. I agree it’s these calls that make the difference and at Womens Champions League level why is there no VAR?


There should be VAR in Champions League–period. Also, nobody should be playing CL matches on two days rest. That is BS–more Fifa BS.

Peter Story Teller

Forget VAR and employ professional referees to do the teams and the spectacle justice!

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

Yep. I certainly felt like for the first goal, Asisat started her passage of play from on offside position. This and the awarded penalty (which thankfully Manu brilliantly saved) would have benefited from a VAR review. Which begs the question… How much does VAR actually cost?


I actually also thought for the first goal the player who got the first shot off that Manu saved looked offside, but I wasn’t sure


No clearly onside on the first goal, second goal was close.


But replays showed they were onside… So it’s just sour grapes. We weren’t great that first half. Way too deferential. However, we know what we’re up against now, so hopefully something can change for the home leg

Peter Story Teller

Never seen Manu so busy and well done for standing her ground and saving the penalty! I thought that we played quite well for most of the match despite the scoreline and for 15 minutes in the second half when we concentrated on playing our game instead of trying to stop them we looked dangerous. You also need a little luck like 9 times from 10 Viv scores that scuffed shot into their goalkeeper’s arms! Didn’t think much of the referee though, she obviously likes waving a yellow card for no apparent reason. Even Jonas got one! Unfortunately the first… Read more »

O 2

Came here to say that not starting Iwabuchi and Heath was a mistake. Choosing those who have experience and confidence to play their own game even against the best in the world should be a given. The entire team seemed to be a deer caught in the headlights throughout the first half and we just couldn’t recover after that. But this is the first real obstacle encountered since everything has been in cruise control so far, I have confidence that Jonas has the capabilities to choose an improved game plan now that we’ve faced them in the flesh. The 2nd… Read more »

Gunner H

Tobin Heath and Kim Little looked like the only 2 players who believed they could take it full on to Barcelona and actually win the game!


I didn’t see anybody in the midfield doing anything positive in the first half.

Peter Story Teller

Hang around for the 2nd half next time then. We did actually get better!


I am really proud of the girls. They gave it their all. Barcelona were the best on the day but it also didn’t help that the referee was whistle happy. Proud moment when that penalty was saved too…. The coach and the girls will learn from this and will only become better #COYG


It seems that lot of football fans still underestimate just how good that Barca team is. Saw quite a lot of criticism online and although we could have been much better, we played by far the best team in the world, who are in absolute peak of their powers. We still have someway to go. With hindsight we probably played too carefully in the first half, although I thought we defended quite well till the first goal. Also with hindsight I hope that Jonas would start to move towards more technical forward line. Beth and Katie have started season well… Read more »

Fun Gunner

Yup! Barca Femina play playstation football. I actually predicted 4-2 before the game, so I wasn’t far out. We can be sure we will not have a tougher match than that (except for the return fixture, ha!). We were too nervous for most of the first half (Zinsberger was the exception, I was seriously impressed) but in the second half we relaxed a bit. Subs were key again. I would have started the exact same 11 as Jonas did, but by the halfway point of the first half it was clear it wasn’t working. It’s genuinely been a learning experience… Read more »


Yup, agree that it was a great experience. And that he brought on everyone. Gives everyone a clear idea on the level of intensity needed in uwcl games.


Were the subs REALLY key? When you can’t get the ball out of your own half, the probably isn’t usually with your forwards. Barcelona plays a VERY high line, and that is the problem: The forwards have to track back and help–but how far? If your forwards have to go well past the halfway line to help get the ball forward, there is no one to get the ball forward to. Beyond that, games tend to loosen up when the score is 3-0. I”m guessing that Barca relaxed a bit.


That said, I do think Iwabuchi would have been a better choice. I also don’t think the 4-3-3 is a good formation for Barcelona. I’d rather have 4 mids and two forwards. You’ve got to compete with them and their high line better in the middle of the field.

Peter Story Teller

See you are only “guessing”!
Even in the 90th minute Barcelona were still pushing forward and were awarded a penalty which Manu saved really well.
Yes our substitutes made a big difference and on another day we could have easily scored 3 if not more. I still don’t think we had enough to win the game but 4-3 looks a much closer game than 4-1.
Why don’t you watch a replay of the second half and then we can take your critic of what happened more seriously?


In this game getting ball out of our own half was everything about our fowards. Beth and Katie were our out ball and they couldn’t make the ball stick to them. And they had the room for that, because Barca moves their fullbacks high, but we mostly didn’t bring our forwards down to help out with our fullbacks, but moved midfielders to that space. Reason why Kim was covering for the RB in the first Barca goal and so on. Beth specially stayed high. It is something I have noticed before about Jonas. In City game, Beth didn’t help Noelle… Read more »


Let’s see what Jonas brings to the return leg.

We gotta pack the Emirates full that day, though!

Peter Story Teller

You’ll probably miss the game if you go to the Emirates! 🙂
Even Barcelona will not generate a crowd large enough to make it viable to play there and with only a couple of thousand people in the crowd there will be more atmosphere at Meadow Park.


Really? Tim really sold me on Women’s Champions League ganes being played at the Emirates, as the men’s team aren’t playing midweek.

But hey, let’s pack Meadow Park full then!


The first thing I noticed within the first few minutes of the game is that whenever Barca had the ball, the pitch seemed so wide. Yet when we had the ball, the pitch seemed so narrow. Understand Eidevall’s intention to avoid the first half thrashing Chelsea suffered, but going with a low-lying defense and still ending up this way just proved that no defensive masterclass is going to stop Barca from dominating with their game. The only way to stand a chance against them is to face up with the same thing they thrive on — high pressing and possession… Read more »


We play much better in the second half. I thought we were too passive in the first half, and move the ball too slowly. I wonder why Jonas did not start tobin since the beginning, viv might have few opportunity then.

But Manu is definitely our best player tonight. She saved us from conceded many more goals. I do have few doubts about her, but this season she improved soo much.


Thought Lia and Steph had a particularly bad game. Too many misplaced passes from those two, completely killed our momentum going forward.
Barca targeted Steph’s side all game cuz they’re not getting much joy on Maritz’s side. Can someone explain to me why she’s so highly rated? I really wanted her to be good, but she simply hasn’t delivered for us. Looked like a rookie in both defence and attack against Barca


I have watched Steph Catley with the Australian national team and she’s highly rated because she’s good. Anyone would struggle with the way Barca tended to overload our left flank yesterday, and she wasn’t getting much protection from anyone else. It was just a bad day at the office, doesn’t make her a poor player.


I thought Steph dealt with CGH as good as I have seen any fullback deal with her in last year playing for Barca. She is probably the best dribling widefoward in the world, she will make any fullback look bad. Same as Viv will make any CB look bad. CGH is more dangerous than Mariona, so it seemed like they targeted our leftside, in reality their best winger was on that side. Besides 3 of the 4 goals game from right half-space and only one from left half-space, but that was also Oshoala running away from Beats.


Sure, no doubt she’s a decent player, but she was totally out of her depth. Even worse was how she became totally flustered and couldn’t even string together a few passes. Good player, yes, but after last night, that word “good” has been put into perspective for me.


I think this was a great game from Arsenal, why? Barca hardly scored from any of their orchestra goals ….
I think we are facing a hierarchy problem with the starting 11 team selection. And talking about too much respect, Maanum failed to inspire tonight.
Ithink we need to beat down on the star-craze and have more professional behaviour in the setup.
The last bit is about having lesser of the one-dimensional players.


Personally I thought Maanum was the only one who stood her ground in midfield while our more experienced players went missing. And Jonas showed he had no problem making necessary changes early on. The only question mark for me was why Heath didnt start the match but that’s in hindsight. All in all we had an encouraging second half so let’s progress from there. Oh and what an infuriating referee, probably non of the yellow cards were justified, and the only one that was wasn’t given.


I have no doubt the girls give their best. But Beatie’s lack of pace and poor positioning was exposed. Our full backs didn’t do well either. Hope Jonas gets a solid partner in January or figure out who partner’s Leah in the knockout stage. The reason why Lyon was so successful is because they always have solid defence.


I agree with this a 100%. I watched a bit of the Lyon game before ours started, and loved the look of Kadeisha Buchannan up against a tricky customer in Blackstenius. I have been impressed with her since I first saw her at the World Cup in 2019, watched her at the Olympics and my admiration for her increased.

Think we can upgrade in the CB area if we want to be world beaters


I thought the 3rd and 4th goals were as a result of Leah being pulled wide, leaving Jen exposed. Perhaps Leah should have stayed rather than committed.

Curious to see how good simone boye is, and whether she can step up in CB. Otherwise, the future for me really is LWM and Patten. Both quite tall, quick, and have decent technique.


Great effort, team👏👏👏 Personally felt that it was a treat-to-the eye game instead of an embarrassment…..the team might be overly cautious in the first half, or might be testing waters, and unfortunately got trapped in own field by Barca’s pacey aggression…. However, it was this game that displayed a trustworthy backline, clearing countless waves of attack despite the scoreline….just remember Chelsea swallowed 4 goals in the first half, and scored none having Pernille Harder, Sam kerr and Fran kirby in the attack…. True enough, Barca is awesome!! But, without disrespect, to say they totally outclass Arsenal (from Guardian) is not… Read more »

Viv the 🐐

It reminded me of PSG v Arsenal officially 2 seasons back, where we looked unsure of what has hit us. The pressing of Barca was unreal, but we also made it easy for them. We found very little options of beating them and attacking the space with also getting people forward, because we sat so deep. Barca looked like they could run a marathon whilst doing keepy uppies. And our midfield could not cope with the movement and space they found. It is a long rough list of what went wrong. T tells us, that we still have some way… Read more »


I think most of us that watched all games so far this season wont feel too discouraged about the result. This season feels like a great journey and I already feel excited about the rematch, and to see how much we progressed by then. And I think there is one thing we all can take positively from this match, the performance from our substitutes. There is some serious competition heating up and if handled right we will be an entirely different prospect by end of season.

Peter Story Teller

Hear hear! Positive vibes is what we need.New manager still settling in and we are still improving. If we had tucked away a couple of the chances we did actually create,Viv’s scuffed shot, the clearance off the line from Keets with their goalie beaten, we would all be raving about only losing 4-3 to the best in the world! Yes it was hard work but what would you expect against Barcelona? If we play like the 2nd half when we meet them at home with the benefit of an extra couple of months of Jonas training there is a result… Read more »


I agree, but I’d add that on Saturday evening we were still in Birmingham having just played a WSL match. There was then a coach trip, presumably back to London Colney. From there the players would have driven home. I don’t know where they live but I doubt if they were asleep before midnight. Then on Monday they flew out to Spain with more coach trips to training and the match. However fit you may be, don’t underestimate the debilitating effects of such an intinerary.

Peter Story Teller

Yes we got the Villa game moved from Sunday to Saturday. Pity we couldn’t have gone with Friday evening but I guess that’s the impact of having TV coverage. Their schedules are far more important than players welfare these days!


Yep; To have to play an away game and then fly to, and play, an away CL match on 2 days rest is more FIFA nonsense.


Just like old times a tonking from Barca.

Peter Story Teller

Yes old times indeed. The last time we played Barcelona Femini we won 7-0!

Peter Story Teller

They have improved a bit in the last few years!

Peter Story Teller





And we all thought they would struggle without Messi!


Those were the days. Champions League nights to look forward to.


I have to say that Steph Catley was really poor in this game. She gave the ball away frequently and often panicked and made bad decisions when receiving under even the slightest of pressure. Most of the best Barca attacks in the first half came down her flank and between her and Beattie, they really struggled to defend against Oshoala. I really think it would have been better to start McCabe at left back and played Heath at left wing. There was just a lack of compusure and calm on the ball and I think having Heath on the pitch… Read more »


Her and Beatie are our weak link. In the WSL, it’s hard to see their flaws because we dominate most teams. I hope Jonas give Lotte more chance as she’s young and the more she plays the quick she learns.

Peter Story Teller

I thought Beats did ok against probably the most potent attacking force in women’s football. Steph did not have her best game but it was certainly no worse than several others and she is definitely not a “weak link”!
How does one undesirable result suddenly make last week’s heroines useless?


Lets leave the Player Bashing for another team.
It’s not like they are getting 15K a week


Is that the threshold?

Karen Ryder

I’m proud of our players too. This was like mock exams, we know how to get better now. Best of all, we looked better than Chelsea against them.


I would love a tactical analysis of this game. It looked to me like out defense got it wrong.

Gunner H

I felt the following key factors contributed to our defeat: Lack of rest after the Villa game including a plane journey Refereeing decisions very much in favour of the home team We were way too deferential, giving Barca far too much respect. Our only outstanding performers on the night were Zinsberger & Heath, who should have started the game, as should Jordan in place of Frida, who has been a revelation so far but showed her inexperience versus Barca. Noelle and Steph are absolutely excellent players, but they had off nights albeit against first class wingers, whilst even the consistently… Read more »

President Eckener

Better than Chelsea! At least, that’s what I yelled when we scored. Still. Brutal, and also very eye-opening. I have to admit I didn’t truly believe all the talk from the experts about how good Barcelona was, but lo and behold it turns out the experts (thank you, Mr. Stillman) actually know what they’re talking about and I should trust them more. Imagine that! I did really like how Heath and Parris influenced the game with their experience. Heath in particular was like an oasis of calm amidst the suffocating Barca pressure. You could really feel the “USWNT aura” emanating… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Precisely! There’s a lot of negativity towards our team on here because of one game against the best in the business. We did better than Chelsea and even better than most Spanish teams that concede 7 per game against them so that tells you something.
I don’t think we were lucky at all at 4-1. We did our best but currently we are not at the same level as Barcelona but let’s face it…Who is?


Eidevall is like 100 days into the job? I think there are more positives than negatives. I think everyone knows there are still many things to work on. Having players like Heath in training day in day out will help to bring up the standards. Lets see where we are in the return leg. But to be honest, our season wont be defined by these 2 games against barcelona. We just need to focus on getting through, and learn the lessons. Dont let it affect the morale for the title challenge and a good run in the uwcl. If we… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Well said mate!
I’d be happy with the 2020 FA Cup and the WSL title this season and a solid platform to build on for European competition in the next season or two.


I thought Zinsberger had a poor game. Her distribution was poor, she looked unsure on the ball when it was passed to her (which arsenal did a lot), and she should have done better for the first goal.
That being said, she was under pressure for large segments of the match, so she would have had to be perfect not to concede any goals.

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