Chelsea snatched a 1-1 draw with Arsenal as Sam Kerr’s late header cancelled out Kim Little’s second half penalty.
The Gunners were the better side for the majority of the match – played in front of more than 46,500 fans at the Emirates – but were left to rue missed chances as the visitors struck in the final minute to retain their place at the top of the WSL table.
Here’s what Jonas Eidevall had to say in his post-game press conference.
On what he made of Arsenal’s performance…
I think even in the first half we were the better team. We created more goalscoring opportunities than Chelsea did. All in all, if I look at the whole game, I’m happy with the performance, both subjectively with how we played football but also objectively in the goalscoring opportunities that we created. That means I’m obviously disappointed with the result because it’s a draw. It’s one of those games that when you’re retrospectively looking at it, could we have been even more active in the last 15 minutes of the game? I don’t think they created a lot, Chelsea. Normally, we would have defended that game to a victory but they had a moment of brilliance; it’s a very good pass, it’s a very good run, a good finish. Yes, we could have done better but that’s what happens when you’re playing top opposition.
On Arsenal being ready for Chelsea’s high press…
I think we executed the game plan very well today; both in build-up and in the way that we pressed. The players did that very well but I also did it well with the way I set it up.
On Chelsea claiming the foul for Arsenal’s penalty was outside the box…
When I see it back, the referee is in a very good position to spot it. I haven’t seen it that much in detail but what’s important with the rules to understand is it’s not where the first contact is made on a foul, it’s where the foul ends that the foul should be given. If that’s in any part touching the penalty area line then that’s a part of the penalty area and it should be a penalty kick. The referee is in an excellent position so it’s one of those where you have to trust her decision.
On the more than 46,000 watching at the Emirates and the atmosphere created…
It’s also impressive that it’s the third consecutive WSL game that has drawn these big attendances, it’s my hope going into this game that we can start playing better with the crowd. The more we experience it, the more come here and do that, the more we can turn this into our fortress and to create this great Arsenal atmosphere around it. You can also see where the players are getting more comfortable with engaging with the crowd. We will need to create that bond together in order to make the Emirates as difficult as possible for opponents to come and play at.
ADVANTAGE ARSENAL!! 🔴
Kim Little gives her side the LEAD from the penalty spot! ⚡ pic.twitter.com/C9u4eyC8nS
— Sky Sports WSL (@SkySportsWSL) January 15, 2023
On whether he’ll be even more animated on the touchline (to engage the crowd)…
I think I was very calm today, to be honest. I was composed. If I did say say something, it was because I had an idea. It wasn’t my emotional response. I was happy with that.
On how this game compares to the level in other European leagues and big tournaments…
You have two teams who won their groups in the Champions League, there are only four teams in Europe that did that and they played against each other, here now. I think both teams have the potential to reach the semi-finals in the Champions League, so potentially this is two top four teams in European club football and because European club football is the best, it’s two top four teams in a global perspective as well. The level is very high on [the] playing [front] and that’s why every situation can be decisive. That’s what I think when you see our performance today against Chelsea, it’s a strong performance. I know I got asked about the record before the game – someone said something about seven – but for me, I see that we’ve played against them three times in the WSL, since I came as coach, and we’re undefeated in the WSL against Chelsea. I think that is strong when you see for the last five years in the league not many other teams that played them three times and are undefeated in the league. Maybe there is, I don’t know. From our perspective, it’s strong and in each one of those games, we could have won the game. Those performances and the way we are developing gives me a lot of confidence, hope and belief for the future.
SAM KERR WITH A HUGE GOAL!! 💥
The delivery 🤝 The header pic.twitter.com/uhglYClOdw
— Sky Sports WSL (@SkySportsWSL) January 15, 2023
On how the dressing room is coping with the disappointment of conceding so late…
Listen, you have to be able to keep two thoughts in your head at the same time. You can be happy with the performance and disappointed with the result. But, long-term, it’s more important to get the performance part right because that’s what is going to drive the results. We know it’s a league with small margins and we know that everything can be decisive about it. That part there, we’re disappointed with but going forward we need to draw strength from the performance.
On not using the new faces on his bench…
You have to look at it very realistically. The way it works with registrations and work permits and so on, these players have not had a lot of training with us. These players were only registered here as a last minute thing for the game here today. Like I said, it’s always easy to be thinking about the game in retrospect and being the Monday morning quarter-back for it. I thought we had control of the game, I was confident that we were going to defend the game home to a victory and I didn’t feel then that there was any need to change. I told the players after in the huddle, this will be really good for us, we get another week of working together, it will prepare the new players even more and hopefully then they can come on and make a difference.
1.Zinsberger, 26.Wienroither, 6.Williamson, 2.Rafaelle, 7.Catley; 13.Walti, 10.Little(c), 12.Maanum; 17.Hurtig (15. McCabe ’80), 19.Foord; 25.Blackstenius.