Saturday, September 30, 2023

Jonas Eidevall reacts to Wolfsburg defeat

A valiant Arsenal went down 3-2 to Wolfsburg after extra time at Emirates Stadium on Monday evening, losing their Champions League semi-final 5-4 on aggregate. Jonas Eidevall spoke to the press post-match. The third and fourth questions are from Arseblog News.

On how much he and the team are hurting…
Quite a bit, it was tough no doubt about it because it was a game of such fine margins and they were not on our side today. We are allowed to hurt and feel empty but we are also allowed to feel proud of the performance and the occasion with supporters that are magnificent. There are a lot of emotions.

On whether the game was a step too far given the injury situation…
We can make up a narrative after you know the result. I prefer not to do that. I think it was small margins. It was a tight offside on our 2-1 goal, it was a close free-kick on the corner when we scored. It was a very close situation on Lina’s chance during extra-time. Of course we hit the crossbar in extra time too. It’s margins. That is sport. Sometimes they are with you and feel that is justified and sometimes they go against you and it’s terrible. But I also choose to look at it that way, as a group, we came to a Champions League semi-final and it came down to the tiniest of margins. With all the injuries and all the challenges we have, we knew that and that is incredible. I am so proud of the players and the staff.

On Arsenal trying to harness the emotion of the occasion to their benefit…
We speak about that the whole season to get used to playing at the Emirates and to use our supporters energy as something to have as a force. The work that I have seen the men’s team and Mikel (Arteta) have been doing has been so inspiring, in how they have been together with the supporters to turn the Emirates around. We learned from that and we see that tonight as well.

But I also think there were a lot of tactical elements in it, we try to tweak things during the game. It was a good tactical decision for us to start chasing the game in the 70th minute and not to wait till the last five minutes, we started creating opportunities and we equalised. There was a lot of work we have done before to get the benefits tonight. We have young players coming on, playing in different positions, it’s a huge occasion and they are doing so well. It’s a real privilege to see them handle that.

On getting transitions through the middle and whether that was part of the plan…
Yes, we knew that was the space in transition. I wasn’t that happy with our defensive organisation in the later part of the first half. I think we collapsed back too much and we were too passive, we needed to work much more actively with our wide forwards. We did that in the second half and in extra time and we were a lot more in control and we got better space control after that. It was important to manage the ball well, Wolfsburg press very intensely. But we managed to do it well a lot of times. I might be biased, I try to see it objectively, I think it is a very even game when I see the goal scoring opportunities. I think we did as well as we could.

On how Lotte Wubben-Moy feels after the error for the late goal…
I told her to keep her head high and there’s no need to apologise. Mistakes happen in football, we win as a team we lose as a team, we are there for each other. We learn. It is inevitable that it happens. They also made mistakes and we were close to profiting so it is part of the game. She was absolutely fantastic as a total performance, she has been fantastic lately as well. We are there for each other when we get success and when we experience failure.

On whether Arsenal can win the tournament when they have big players fit…
I think first we need to try to qualify for the competition next season. It is a tough WSL and we are in a tough situation, we have to get our feet and heads back after this because we are hurting tonight. But on Friday we have a really important game against a Leicester team who have really picked themselves up and I think the way the team works, if that can be the standard for our teamwork, that is a really strong foundation for future success.

But, we need to focus on the next game, we need to focus on finishing the WSL season as strong as possible. We have done some great things this season, we have won the Conti Cup, we were so close to a Champions League final but you guys know me well enough to see that I am thinking of the next game. That is what we need to do, I need to push and everyone needs to come together and we need to finish the season as strong as possible and that is going to be a tough challenge with all the players we don’t have and we need to attack every game 100% like we did today.

On injuries to Stina Blackstenius and Laura Wienroither…
I don’t know any specifics yet, so we have to wait. You can see that Laura is on crutches and that is probably worse than it is with Stina.

On whether the decision to chase the game on 70 minutes was a player change or a coaching change…
That was a coaching change, players have freedom within a framework. But to change formations and positions, that is not within that framework. That is my decision.

On the performance of Victoria Pelova…
She has been incredible. It is not easy to move to a new country, to a new team and if you see her today, she is one of the best performances on the pitch. She plays as a wide forward, then she comes in to play as a six and is very good there as well. It looks like she has played for Arsenal forever. She has been so good and that has been important to handle these changes that have been forced on us.

On the difference between the performances against Wolfsburg this season and last season…
It is day to day work, it is nothing magic. It is a group of players and staff really applying themselves every day and working on details and trying to get better. We are learning and trying not just to be one day older but one day better. Over time that makes a difference. It is also a stronger Wolfsburg side than it was last year, they have recruited really well. You could see the depth of their squad, it is very strong. That we can push them like we did today it is very good for us.

On better handling swings in momentum in the future…
Every experience you get you can learn from. Playing in games like this with high emotions, you see the decision making has to be so quick but it is also when you are tired and those are the most challenging times to do it. Both teams were exposed in that today and we can learn from that, whether we won or lost, we could learn from it and if we do, we can do it better next time.

1.Zinsberger; 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie (59.Agyemang ‘119), 2.Rafaelle; 16.Maritz (26.Wienroither ‘63, 22.Kuhl ‘81)), 12.Maanum, 13.Walti, 7.Catley; 21.Pelova, 15.McCabe(c); 25.Blackstenius (17.Hurtig ‘64).

Unused: 14.D’Angelo, 18.Marckese, 29.Goldie, 60.Harbert, 62.Reid.

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Immediate thoughts while waiting for my train at St Pancras. Firstly pride in this team to have got so close with so many injuries. Over 120 minutes I think it was the relative strength of the benches which just tipped it. My heart did sink when I saw Jule Brand come on (let alone Waßmuth and Bremer). And finally I thought Lotte had a magnificent game.


Man… Fa youth cup loss, arsenal men letting the title go and now this…. Why you hurting me like that arsenal 🙁


We’ve already overachieved. Super proud of the team!

Jeremy Coker

The girls were fabulous tonight. Sorry for Lotte. She will learn.
Everyone played so well.

Lia Walti is a goddess. She deserves more protection from refs.

Rafaelle is top top quality.

Small margins. Bettere refs needed.

Peter Story Teller

Fine margins indeed. To run Wolfsburg so close with the squad we have left you have to be in awe of the players over those two legs. And to think we made two defensive errors and were punished for both so the Germans are not that great if you take those goals away we win 4-3! They couldn’t beat us without those handouts!

Little Cubby

Absolutely spot on 👍

Kennington Gunner

Just back from the match. Huge credit to a depleted Arsenal for a close match – fine margins as Jonas said. They all looked pretty knackered by the end. Captain Katie was immense: everything, everywhere all at once – even shrugging off a very physical hit from behind. So frustrating not seeing the VAR replays in the stadium. Want to see that tight offside against us at the start of the second half – it was a great through ball and finish. Also don’t know how their No.2 (Wilms?) didn’t get at least one booking. Gutted for Lotte at the… Read more »


WOB were there to be beaten in front of a massive crowd. Focus has to be on finishing 3rd in the WSL and honestly I’m worried.

Fun Gunner

Focus does indeed have to be on CL places, but don’t forget we have Jodie Taylor and Gio to help there. Caitlin Foord may be back in a week or so and Hurtig is back already. Also if Agyemang can be thrown on in a must-win CL tie, she can definitely start, or at least play a part, in the league games.


My comment seems to have disappeared! Essentially it was the same as others have said. Over 120 minutes what I thinked tipped it was the relative strengths of the benches. I was very worried when I saw Jule Brand come on (not to mention Waßmuth and Bremer).


I really feel for Wubben-Moy for (what looked to me like) a fatigued decision, as she’d had a great game up to then – I had in fact been thinking she was a contender for player of the match. Otherwise, it is hard not to think that with more options off the bench we might have been able to change the game, with some players not really getting into things (e.g. although she had a bit of joy on the right wing in extra time, I thought for a lot of the game Manuum struggled to find any space to… Read more »

Little Cubby

Yes and her ball to Jen for goal was magnificent


There were three Wolfsburg players on the ground when that ball came to Wubben-Moy, and I think she noticed as much, and rather quickly and smartly sent her cross into the box. And then the topper was that Beattie, after scoring, turned and crashed into Popp and knocked her to the ground as well….It was funny.

Little Cubby

Yes, l love that. It looks to me like popp tried to shoulder charge Jen and came off worse 😂🤣


Unbelievable courage from this team. In over half a century of supporting this Club I cannot re-call a braver performance from any group wearing the R & W.
Exhaustion beat them. Not the opposition.

Little Cubby

I agree


All our teams, be it youth, man or woman seem to play in the same way and seem to have that talent of finding the self-destruction switch when we’re on top. We completelly dominated Wolfsburg for the whole extra time just for our best player on the night to try dribling the high-press in front of the box in the 119 minute. Somebody, sometimes, somewhere has thrown a nasty curse on Arsenal.


Disappointed as this might have been the arsenals best chance at CL glory. Going to be missing it next season if the team don’t win the rest of the games. Head up and Jonas work at it!


First time I’ve seen the women’s team live, a real shame about the result but the support was fantastic and the future of the team is very bright!


I’m gonna say it: Vicky > Jill

It warms my heart to see this team together. All players rallying together. Leah giving Teyah a peptalk, Beth at the sidelines as Laura goes down, Viv walking out with her, Kim still giving team talks. It must be an amazing feeling to be part of this group right now. I really hope these girls feel that love and they all sign new contracts when the time comes. A fully fit team, with his mentality can take on the world.

Little Cubby

Sky’s the limit with these girls if they’re all available at the same time. What an amazing mentality they have !


So proud of tie efforts of this team. Let’s finish as high as we can and get everyone fit to go again


Pelova looks to be a very special player

Little Cubby

So very, very proud of this team and staff. Against so much adversity they kept 60’000 of us singing till the end 💪
My only reservation is : l wish they’d stop messing about with the ball across our back line, we conceded in both games from this practice. Why do they do it ? 🤔

Fun Gunner

Or at least realise that sometimes you just have to boot it upfield. Zinsberger and Austria conceded a late goal to Germany in the Euros in a similar way. And being caught out at the back twice in succession to the same team is very galling.


Gutted for them as they’ve been amazing considering the injuries they’ve suffered and to world class players too. Need to pick themselves up and make sure they qualify for next seasons tournament and if they show the same spirit I’m confident they will

Fun Gunner

The injuries did for us in the end. We needed to win that game in normal time. Janssen said pre-match that WOB knew from the first game that they were the better side. They’re not. This CL run has shown us that there is no gap between us and the top European sides anymore and that we are CL champions material.
That offside goal of ours was an absolute peach, as well. (sigh)

Little Cubby

She’s just jealous she doesn’t still play for us !! Lets face it, it must be a come down playing in front of 60’000 people then going back to Germany and playing in front of one man and his dog 🤣

Fun Gunner

Yes, I think there would have been some very envious eyes looking at the support our women’s team could garner.

Adrian Scott

Our girls played their hearts out and fully deserved to win. Poor Katie she was the most fouled against player on the pitch and the bravest. The last minute goal by Wolfsburg was really crushing but that didn’t stop us trying for another equaliser. Well done ladies you fully deserve the respect of every fan.


Another very gritty, gutsy performance by the Gunners….Who knows the reasons–maybe just bad luck–but Arsenal have been THE most injury-prone team in the league for at least 5 years.

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