After Arsenal’s 1-1 UWCL Quarter-Final draw with Wolfsburg at Emirates Stadium, Gunners defender Leah Williamson admitted that Arsenal needed time to grow into the game and believe they could compete with two time Champions League winners Wolfsburg.
Arsenal had a good enough first half but in the second half they went through the gears and pinned Wolfsburg back into their own half, earning a late equaliser through Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Speaking to Arseblog News post-match, Leah said that it was the least Arsenal deserved from the first leg. “We definitely deserved something from the game, they are a great team. I think it was a good game to watch, it was certainly a good game to play in. I would have been very disappointed had we come away without at least a draw.”
Williamson said that coach Jonas Eidevall called for greater intensity in the second half and showed the team clips of where they had gotten into good situations in the first half but lacked conviction with the final action.
“Those were the final words of the half-time teamtalk, go out there with intensity. We knew we had the tools that we needed to do it. Maybe we took a bit of convincing that we could compete. I think the second half performance showed that change.”
The equaliser came about from an unorthodox free-kick, which saw Lotte Wubben-Moy control Tobin Heath’s low drilled effort, before smashing the ball home. Williamson says the routine wasn’t entirely planned.
“It was a little bit off the cuff but we have worked a lot on setpieces in training and being creative with routines. When we got the free-kick, I looked at Lotte and said, ‘go on, this is you.’ I don’t think anyone was going to stop her once she had that chance to shoot. It felt like forever between her taking the touch and shooting but it was a lovely finish.”
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) March 23, 2022
Like Williamson, Wubben-Moy is a lifelong Arsenal fan. Born in Stoke Newington, where she still lives, the goal meant a lot to Lotte, as fellow Arsenal fan Leah was able to appreciate.
“The last thing I said to Lotte when we kicked off was ‘we’ve come a long way from playing on the fields at the back of Hertfordshire uni (where Arsenal’s youth teams play). You could see what the goal meant to her and I love the way she celebrates and as a fan, you want to see that, you want to see a goal mean that much to someone.
“I’m buzzing for her. Sometimes at the beginning I found playing as a fan a burden because you’re so emotionally invested but once you get that balance and you’re in a situation where you need to fight, everyone else on the team knows you’re going to fight because you care so much.”
This is the fourth time that Arsenal Women have played at Emirates Stadium since August, with a North London derby in the WSL on the horizon at the stadium this Saturday. Williamson says it is beginning to feel more like home for the team.
“The girls feel comfortable here, the club have made sure of that and when we come here, they make us feel like it’s ours. Considering that’s only my second time kitting up to play here, it didn’t feel like a hindrance at all. Sometimes playing in a bigger stadium can feel like playing in a neutral venue but this does feel like home.”