Monday, March 20, 2023

‘I am so happy to be in my first final with this team. We deserve it’ Rafaelle speaks to Arseblog News

Arsenal were the victors over Manchester City in the Conti Cup semi-final on Wednesday night thanks to Stina Blackstenius’ extra-time winner. While much of the focus recently has been on the Arsenal attack, the defence has been quietly doing its job having conceded only one goal so far in 2023.

A game against Manchester City means trying to keep their front three of Bunny Shaw (the WSL’s top goal scorer), Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly quiet. Jonas Eidevall switched to a back three in acknowledgement of this threat and while the defensive structure was strong, so too was Rafaelle at the heart of the back three.

The Brazilian blocked, intercepted, headed clear and drove the ball out from the back in an absolutely dominant defensive display. Speaking to Arseblog News post-match, Rafaelle said she always expected a tough night against Bunny Shaw. “Playing against her is always a battle, she’s a really good player and very strong. We had a good team defensive performance, not conceding a goal against them is really hard.

“We did a great job as a team and not letting her score is especially hard but we have to do it again on Saturday.” It’s the first time Eidevall has played a back three since joining the club in the summer of 2021. “We started working on it this week,” revealed Rafa, “But I don’t think it’s just for this game.

“We want to be able to play in many different styles. It was work we did this week, for sure, but I don’t think it will only be for this game.” The system certainly kept Rafaelle busy, she started on the left of the back three, then to the middle when Steph Catley came on on 63 minutes.

When Jen Beattie came on later in the game, Rafa moved to the right of the backline. “Jonas wanted me to go inside with the ball a bit and find the outside wingers. I played on the left, in the middle and on the right and that’s really good for me.

“I need to be able to play all over the pitch but it doesn’t matter where I play, I am always going to give my best.” The victory means that the Gunners will face Chelsea or West Ham United in the Conti Cup Final at Selhurst Park on Sunday, 5th March.

“It feels so great, I am so happy to be in my first final with this team. We deserve it, we worked so hard and we worked the whole year so hard, we really deserve it.

“We had to keep going at the end and keep our energy as a team. As a defender, I had to be concentrated- especially after we scored when they were putting more pressure on us.

“But it wasn’t just the defence, the forwards and the midfielders did a really strong job too. We know we have another tough game on Saturday, to rest, have a good sleep because on Saturday it’s going to be another big fight.”

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Peter Story Teller

Let’s hope Rafa can stay fit. She stopped some world class attacking players in their tracks!


I thought that the defence was excellent last night, but not so the attack. We are missing Beth Mead and Viv Miedema, a lot! Lia Walti’s absence is resulting in Frida Maanum playing further back, too, and that’s our three biggest goal threats gone. Although Citeh had more shots than Arsenal, you’d have to say that the goalie would have been disappointed had any of them gone past her. On the other hand, some of our missed chances were worrying. Thankfully, Maanum stepped forward to win the ball in midfield and moved it on quickly and accurately to Hurtig for… Read more »


I thought the 3 at the back system impacted the ability to get the ball forward at times, resulting in City getting the ball back too frequently, but they seemed to get increasingly rattled as the game wore on – quite a few of their shots seemed to stem from that. Also, agree about Rafa having a good game, but I’d add that Jen Beattie has been excellent every time she’s come on this season.

Finally, does that corner flag have a squad number? Great tackle on Chloe Kelly…


She was fantastic. As were Lotte, Leah, Jen and Step as fellow alternating “back threers “. It worked because they are all such intelligent footballers. A mention for the wingbacks Laura, Katie, Noelle. Equally brilliant last night.


Congratulations in advance for winning the first trophy of the season, if your coach Eidevall doesn’t fvck it up with his silly poor coaching decisions.

Satoshi Nagamoto

Why are you even commenting here if you aren’t a fan and would be so negative?


Because Arseblog as a media entity is irresistible? 🙂 . Call me biased but this is the best fan-site in the world. I’ve been visiting since the mid 2000s.

Peter Story Teller

Because that’s what Gary does. He is a one man Jonas out movement!

Teryima Adi

A big congratulations to the girls. Well done.


For the first hour Lotte marked Bunny Shaw out of the game, and Rafa did the same for the second hour! (Now to do the same for Sam Kerr, a more difficult task).

Peter Story Teller

Watched the highlights of the West Ham demolition. Were we playing the same team last weekend? Kerr isn’t exactly a giant and yet she was heading in unopposed in the six yard box! Jonas is right about one thing!

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