Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Jonas Eidevall reacts to draw with Manchester United

Arsenal snatched a late 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the WSL on Saturday thanks to a Stina Blackstenius equaliser with the Gunners down to ten players after Katie McCabe’s second half red card. Jonas Eidevall spoke to the press post-match, the first three questions are from Arseblog News.

On taking a while to deal with United’s set piece threat…
We did make an adjustment to deal with them better. But I think it goes into us not having those relationships on the pitch, I think that’s why we didn’t start the game better today. That’s the disappointing part of the game.

On Miedema and Blackstenius combining for the goal…
Very pleasing, the way we structured after Katie was sent off was to drop Viv a little and play Stina as a 9 and manage the game with wing-backs and three central defenders. Then we scored and we changed again to something more solid. The goal was a perfect example of both players showing some of their best abilities. Viv’s pass and Stina’s ability to make off the ball runs.

On playing around United’s pressure leading to the best chances of the game and why Arsenal struggled to do it more often…
I am (disappointed Arsenal couldn’t do it more often). I don’t know how much you can see that the pitch didn’t make it easy. I am very, very disappointed with the pitch today. It’s a major disadvantage for us and the game we want to play to play on a pitch like this. That was one part of it.

The other thing is, should we be better in our positioning when we they are stepping onto us and we want to change the point of attack? Yes, I think so. It was one of the things we spoke about at half time, we improved in that in the second half. Like you said, every time we played through them, we created something. With a better pitch and better positioning we would have done it more and then I think there is no question that we win the game.

On what can be done about the poor playing surface…
It comes down to the scheduling and the priority that Arsenal Women has. In January, there were a lot of games on the pitch so it won’t be good. When you look at the number of games there have been here in the last month, that is the reason.

On the title race…
I am optimistic about the future but we need to get the players together to practice together. Today we had 19 players in the squad, which is great but we haven’t had 19 players practicing with each other. There have been a lot of players managed so they can be in the match squad. It has sometimes shown in the relationships when we play and that’s a massive part for us to spend time together and get that collective understanding. The players do incredibly well with their determination and commitment but we need that time together and that consistency in the squad to build those relationships. I am optimistic but we need to be able to do that soon.

On Stina Blackstenius scoring her first Arsenal goal…
It’s her birthday today but that goal was a present for all of us! It was generous of her! I’ve told her that I have coached against her many times and i know what it feels like to concede a crucial goal to her so I’m happy to benefit. She times those runs really well.

On Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy being unavailable…
They were unavailable today but we’ll see during next week whether they will be available for Chelsea.

On Tobin Heath coming off at half-time…
At the moment all I know is that Tobin couldn’t continue for physical reasons but at half-time, I need to work with the team on tactics and focus on the players that can play. I haven’t spoken to the medical staff yet but I will do that after this press conference.

On Beth Mead coming off towards the end too…
I didn’t take her off because she was injured, I took her off because we changed formation and she was struggling a little bit but it wasn’t an injury really.

On Arsenal starting games slowly…
I don’t think it’s been a consistent theme, I think it has been different in different games. When a team press higher like Man United do you become so dependent on knowing your teammates positions and relationships and knowing the angles of the passes and to trust them. Today, it was down to that I think. Then you need to grow into the game doing it and I think the players did that well. We adjusted a few things at half-time to help that.

On whether this is a pivotal week in the title race…
I don’t know, i can’t see the future. For me, every game is a pivotal game. That’s why I am optimistic about the spring because I think we are the team most likely to develop the most and we will be the team that gets better. I think the other teams at the top are consistent with the players they are playing and reaching that peak, I can see us becoming better and better and I think time can be a positive factor for us.

1.Zinsberger, 16.Maritz, 5.Beattie (25.Blackstenius ‘57), 7.Catley (2.Rafaelle ‘69), 15.McCabe; 13.Walti, 10.Little(c), 8.Nobbs (12.Maanum ‘57); 9.Mead (20.Boye ‘83), 77.Heath (19.Foord HT), 11.Miedema.

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They had a great start to the seson, let’s hope they can get back to that form.

Onwards and upwards!!!


Four different CB partnerships in one game has to some kind of record and that is never good for the team.


Does Arsenal EVER play with a full squad. It is always something. Heath has been terrible value–just hurt too much. Who knows what was wrong with Williamson and Wubben-Moye today. Have’t seen the first half yet but the Gunners looked pretty good in the 2nd Eidevall seems to have mostly turned the game’s best finisher into a midfielder; Miedema now spends two-thirds of her time in the middle two-thirds of the field. All that said, good to get a result–great pass by Viv and the finish by Blackstenius. Arsenal are a bit fortunate that Toone missed that great chance….Little was… Read more »


Heath was always risk considering her injury record, same time ManC goal makes it worth anyway. She was always bonus player.
We probably brought Leah back too soon. And I don’t see much we can do about Covid. I hope next week Rafaelle can do 90 minutes and at least one of Leah or Lotte are back.

Bill Hall

I dunno what has caused it but the team needs to get out of this rut they are in very quickly because they are in danger of throwing the title away! We were so good at the start of the season but now, well I am dreading the next match (away at Chelsea) Need at least a draw!

A Different George

I don’t want to hijack the discussion of this game to something about the men’s team, but this is an opportunity to thank Tim Stillman directly for his extraordinary column about Aubameyang’s leaving and the relationship of fans, and fans’ lives, to players. Your coverage of the women’s team is always admirable but I thought that particular column was in a different category from almost any sports writing I have seen in years. Thanks.


Yes, was a great bit of writing


Every time I hear these clever explanations from the coach. In reality Arsenal (W) is going backwards compared to our title rivals. Seems to me it’s time to be more critical of the coach and is he actually improving the team


I have a lot of time for discussions about problems with Jonas game plan, but same time I can’t see much more he could have done today. We had 3 first choice CB’s out (ManC fell apart at the beginning with one), Jen hasn’t been fit for months now, Steph is LB and came back from other side of the world thus week. At some point we had no CB’s on the field today. It is impossible to be coherent team with CB situation like that. The way we play needs our backline to be high up, with Jen we… Read more »


Thanks giving some depth explanation regarding defense. I’m anxious every time now when we have to defend a set piece. Hope it settles down quickly cause there’s no more room for slip ups. We’ve used it all up


Sorry, there is nothing this coach has added to this team. There is no new thing. They are making same mistakes under him. He hasn’t improved the midfield either. He is a very poor coach who knows how to use football terminology.




This man is totally clueless. You know the pitch is bad yet you let your players making too many passes at the back especially against high pressing team.The ball is either out of play or hardly get to the final third.
We’ll only create chances or put pressure on the opposition’s defence by attacking.
The way we played in the first half against Man United, if we do that against Chelsea it’ll be FA Cup finals all over again.

Mo Red

Far be it from me to presume, but do the girls ever look back on their tapes and see how to personally improve and not just as a team. Because their decision making is horrendous as compared to earlier on. They had more belief when taking on Players. Especially Mead and McCabe. But these days, they either rush the pass for McCabe or fall down with Beth. I think its mental fatigue. But i could be wrong. And also the team seem to have a depth perception problem, they are horrendous in the air.


I should think that is the job of the coach to call players together and review matches with video analysis and let them know where they have been going wrong. But we see the same thing every day, same mistakes, no improvement. It is on Jonas. He is not improving them.


Why is no one talking about Nobbs form. She has had a decent run in the team and I don’t see what her contribution is in terms of assist, chance creation or goals. We seem to be playing one person short in midfield and our defense is literally terrified of passing into midfield, they keep playing the dreaded donut shape football trying to shift left to right and use wing play which other teams have figured out. Please for Chelsea game, let’s start Viv as 10 and our new signing as 9.


We have problem that we don’t try to pass to midfield enough, but the solution isn’t removing midfielder who has most touches, most passes, most progressive passes and most progressive passes recieved in midfield. Jordan’s timing for shooting is kinda off at moment, but she isn’t the one who players are afraid to pass to. Jordan has average 59 passes per 90 this year, Kim and Frida 39. And while lower than ever before, her creative numbers are also better than rest of them.

Tim Stillman

Her contribution is about the same as her CM counterparts Little and Maanum, which I think suggests the issue is a wider one.


Midfield seems to be non-existent in recent months. Really have no idea what the issue is, since these are good players on paper.


The only midfielder who seems consistently influential is Little.

Salvador Berzunza

Reckon Nobbs was in a huge pressure about been selected by Sarina, seems to me she was more concern to score some goals by herself instead of share, and look after her position on the field, but I hope from now on she can perform better without that pressure.


When you consider the circumstances (no fit CBs, down to 10), the draw felt like a win. In fact i thought we were really galvanised by the equaliser and could have nicked it.
That said, said circumstances are really frustrating since it has been the case for weeks now, and we havent been able to sort out a backup plan.
Personally i think Lia was the solution, as she showed yesterday and time and again last season as an emergency CB. But that then creates problems in midfield…


If Leah and Lotte are not available for Chelsea game I would also like to see Lia at CB with Rafa. Midfield won’t be sorted out anyway before we sort our defense out. With Lia we at least have some ability get ball out from defense faster. Rafa seems quite strong to make up losing Jen’s aerial abilty.


Agree. Not sure if Boye in theory may know Harder better though. I also think the need to play Lia at CB may be less pressing if Rafa is playing.


What a game. Tho I appreciate the spirit and the fight, please don’t make it difficult from the start again🥲 What I am sure is the mentality of the team is definitely at a different level this season by going through all the challenges and losses together. I treat all the recent battles and losses as a blessing than a curse. Hope the injuries and illness can settle down soon so the squad can bond more and train more together more often. Sure this team has far more to give. They just need to build the mutual understanding in the… Read more »


Yup, would be exciting to see how the team plays with rafa and leah at CB, and the ability to bring attacking players off the bench to make an impact like how it was earlier in the season.

But this moment needs to come sooner rather than later, so we dont end the season empty-handed.

Fingers crossed that City can get a result today.


A City result would have been nice–but, alas, they didn’t get it: Got beat by Chelsea 1-0, leaving Arsenal 2 points up on Emma Haye’s group, with a showdown looming. Gunners need a result, obviously.


Watching ManC playing Chelsea is a bit like watching us playing Barca – the team seemed intimidated by their opponents – passes don’t work out, attacks falter by the half-way line etc. Chelsea is a better team than ManC at this match and they also seemed to be faster. This last point is something I worried about our defense: we do not seemed to have the speed of many of our opponents.

Salvador Berzunza

I reckon they lost because bad selection of players, Janine Beckie or Raso should played better than young Park, then they brought in the new signing Blackstad, out of harmony with the rest of the team, at the last quarter with Vicky Losada Man City recover the midfield and start creating opportunities, Chelsea was packed inside the own box defending the advantage. Anyway we are now in our own to recover three points from Chelsea.


Because of rearranged fixtures and family commitments, I’ve missed a few games. Having been to the Brighton and United games, I’m reminded how difference the experience is compared with watching on TV. You’re watching some parts of the action in close-up and other parts at a distance. I couldn’t see why we conceded two headed goals at these matches, but I was right behind Viv’s fantastic pass to Stina and could follow it’s flight. Similarly, because I was in the west stand, I had a brilliant view of Beth’s free kick against Brighton. One of the most interesting things yesterday… Read more »


I grudgingly have to admit that Mary Earps is a much better goalkeeper than I’d given her credit for, but there’s no apostrophe in her name!


Surely the poor conditions of the pitch affects both teams – so it should balance out. Furthermore, it is the home pitch, can they not prepare it better?

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