Arsenal finished their WSL season with a 2-0 win at West Ham. Despite Manchester United twice taking the lead at Chelsea, the Blues’ victory at Kingsmeadow meant it wasn’t enough to win the title. Jonas Eidevall spoke to the press post match. The first three questions are from Arseblog News.
On whether there was a bit of anxiety for the players in the first half…
We were a little bit anxious, yes. West Ham made it tricky with their positioning in the first half, in build up they would drive us away a little bit in our pressure. We became a little bit too long as a team and lost compactness. It looks like a very nice pitch but it was very dry and you could see the short passes were always tougher to control. You saw us lose some balls there because the ball didn’t quite move as we thought it would.
I think we got a little bit anxious with that. What I thought was important was when Manu went down for treatment, we had to reassure each other and say that we don’t need to panic, we don’t need a Plan B we just need to execute Plan A better. We looked at practical examples at half-time and say ‘here, we need to be more compact and there are spaces we can find.’
First 20-25 minutes of the second half is brilliant and then you could feel the whole stadium had died a little bit. You could feel the energy died when Chelsea were winning and you could see the players had been going hard against Tottenham in midweek and West Ham didn’t have a game so they had extra energy.
On bringing Stina Blackstenius on and scoring with her first touch…
You could see that we were getting a lot of balls played from deep to our nine and one of Stina’s strengths is the finish on the penetration pass, she doesn’t need many chances to score from those situations. When you rewatch you see we broke through a lot through the sides and we didn’t always have a striker in front of the goal. I know I get that from Stina in those situations. The hard part was just who to take off, whether it was Caitlin or anybody else but she had some physical issues coming into the game, so she was the most likely to not be able to go for 90 minutes.
SUPER SUB STINA 🙌
Giving @ArsenalWFC the lead in Chigwell! 💥 pic.twitter.com/gvSDlxxjL6
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) May 8, 2022
On whether there are any regrets from the season…
Of course you play out different details in your head. Maybe we had a goal against Chelsea at the Emirates that was offside but maybe they should have had a red card in that game. Maybe the referee had the best pass of the season away at Manchester City and they scored a goal. If we had won that game we would have won the league. It’s hurtful to say when you are standing on the losing side of it but it’s what makes football great. It’s the human factor, it’s why people are engaged and we love the unpredictability of it so much. I’ve come to a stage where I have to accept that. During the games i want to fight for every detail to go Arsenal’s way but now the season is over I can’t point to one single detail because there are so many, positive and negative.
On where he wants to evolve the team next season…
We need to impose our style better against the better teams, domestically and internationally. We need to start by trying to do that, I was so disappointed with the Chelsea FA Cup semi-final because I don’t think we tried to impose our game on Chelsea. We need to get to that mindset, there are no reasons why we cannot play like that against Chelsea and Wolfsburg and Barcelona. If we want to be the team we want to be we need to get there.
Secondly, we need to improve playing against man-marking, we saw that clearly in Europe. We need to have a good co-operation with the boys’ academy and involve them in our practices so we can play against something more physical and faster than our opponents in the Champions League. That is an astonishing opportunity for us. Can we make our training harder than the games? If we are successful in training there, then the games feel even easier. Those are two things, I have some others I keep secret, otherwise you guys will take my job! I will talk with Per Mertesacker about this.
Sound ON! 🔉
What a strike from @stephcatley! 💥#BarclaysFAWSL @ArsenalWFC pic.twitter.com/E8pT2Lx2PX
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) May 8, 2022
On whether there is any update on Miedema’s future…
No, I have had that question a lot today! We will do our very best to make her stay. She was stellar today in her performance, she moves the ball so well for us. When things got a little bit of tough, she shows that self-confidence to say “give me the ball, I can play out of this.” It was so great to see.
On dealing with the supporters reaction to events at Chelsea…
It was easy to understand what was happening because you could feel it in the stadium, you could feel the energy when it was good for us and you could feel it was dead at the end. I told myself in that time if there is one thing i can do, it is keep up my intensity until the very end, to keep believing and leave with no regrets, so if Chelsea did slip, we would be there to take the trophy.
1.Zinsberger, 16.Maritz, 6.Williamson, 3.Wubben-Moy, 7.Catley; 13.Walti, 10.Little(c), 11.Miedema (12.Maanum ‘89); 9.Mead (14.Parris ‘81), 15.McCabe; 19.Foord (25.Blackstenius ‘59).
Congratulations to the team for getting so close to the title. Feel a little bit hard done by because over the season Chelsea were no better than us. They had a bad loss to Reading, we had a bad loss to Birmingham. It’s the incident in the Man City game with the huge deflection off the ref straight to a city player who scored that sticks in my throat a bit, that goal should never had stood, that would be two more points and we are champions.
Oh well here’s to going one better next season and Viv staying!
Draw to City, draw at Chelsea, draw at Spurs and the draw to United. That’s where the league title was lost. 8 points dropped and Jonas was happy with the 0-0 at Chelsea. No. That helped lose you the title. He can focus all he wants on the January covid postponements and the loss to Birmingham but pick up 3 points from one of those four games instead of the single point and Arsenal would have won the league.
Last season we lost those. I say 4 points agains city and chel is progress at least!
*4 points each I meant to aay
Nah we took 4 points off Chelsea this season and 4 off Man City, that is really impressive compared to past seasons. This season we were just as good as them, it was very fine margins. They lost and drew games as well!
Huh? Those are all tough matches. You pick up 3 points by beating the worst team in the league and you win the title. THAT is where the title was lost–that and the tie with Spurs. The big rivals are always going to be difficult games, and we got results in them–whether a win or a tie. You can’t lose to the worst team in the league when you know it’s going to be super, super-tight at the top in the standings at end of year.
Bittersweet feelings here, too. Excellent win against a side that gave it everything, defended with determination and made the game really hard for us. But ultimately we had lost the league before the game began. Chelsea have mental strength and they were never going to slip up. I disagree with JE in that it wasn’t one game against Man City, or Sp*rs or Birmingham City that lost us the title – you always get freak results/decisions for and against you – it was that time when LW was out and we didn’t adapt well. Very pleased to hear about the… Read more »
I agree — Leah Williamson’s injury cost Arsenal Women the league.
The lack of clear rules around rescheduling games for covid might have helped Chelsea avoid playing when they had bad form and players missing. Because the process was cloaked in secrecy we will never know if it was legitimately covid.
Yet it wasn’t Chelsea that requested the postponements in January. It was the other teams.
Chelsea postponed the Tottenham game in January. They had just been knocked out in shock defeat to Wolfsburg in Champions League and they were also missing players due to Asia Cup. Arsenal played despite their Asia Cup players missing. Maybe Arsenal were naive not to exploit the vague postponement rules the way Chelsea did and also the way the Arsenal Men’s team did with NLD postponement.
This isn’t even true though. The chelsea spurs match was postponed due to positive covid cases in the spurs team. The same thing happened with their Everton match which was postponed due to positive cases in the Everton squad. The only game that Chelsea had postponed was a West Ham league match when Chelsea had a covid outbreak. It was postponed to later in Jan and Kerr and Ji So-yun had not returned from the Asian Cup. Chelsea played 4 games in January, Arsenal played 5. As disappointing as this all is, it’s revisionist history to act like Chelsea maliciously… Read more »
Not sure what the rules are for linking here so quoting official Spurs website: “We can confirm that our Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against Chelsea on Friday 7 January at 7pm has been postponed. Chelsea requested for the match to be rearranged following a significant number of positive COVID-19 cases within their squad combined with a number of players unavailable for selection due to injury. The fixture at Kingsmeadow will be rescheduled in due course and all existing tickets purchased for the match will remain valid. Our first game of 2022 will now be at home to West… Read more »
Fake News ?
Here is link: https://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/2022/january/chelsea-v-spurs-women-postponed/
We lost the league because we drew 4 games and lost one. That’s it. No FA Chelsea conspiracy. How many minutes did Rafa play since her January move? 90, 120? Less? Still injury problems at Arsenal that need to be sorted.
It wouldn’t be an Arsenal season, sadly, without a new signee going down after 2/3 games with a significant injury and missing loads of games. It’s been 3/4 years of it, I’m afraid.
Rafa clocked up just over 400 mins total in the end. It’s frustrating that we lost her for the last eight games but I think it only really cost us with the United draw when we were also missing Lotte and Leah. We won all the others. A season of fine margins, I think I lost hope when Chelsea got that last minute winner v Villa. Chelsea sometimes have a bad game against a deep block defence and I felt there might be one surprise result in them. That should’ve been it but it wasn’t to be.
It was the Birmingham penalty for me. Pretty sure not even the most ardent Chelsea fan can pin that on a Hayes tactical masterstroke.
To change the subject, interesting to see there’s potentially a left-footed centre back on the market…
Yep, we still need another centre back as cover given that it appears we are shedding several fringe defenders this summer. Leah, Lotte and Fafa with perhaps Anna who is not a specialist centre back is not enough to get through a domestic season without adding in CL games too.
You would hope that pre-season would give some Academy players a taste of first team action but with the Euros this summer I doubt if there will be much pre-season yet again!
At least Champions League starts slightly later. The Chelsea and Sp*rs friendlies last pre-season gave opportunites to youngsters and those not selected for the Olympics, so maybe we’ll see something like that again.
The obvious Academy player to step up would be Teyah at CB, but…ACL.
That’s the problem, a promising young player but with an ACL is unlikely to be back to her best until the season after next. Look how long it took an established player like Jordan to get some form following a similar injury and by then she couldn’t get a game even against minnows!