'It wasn't perfect': Eidevall on Arsenal’s opening day win over Chelsea

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game - Credit: PA

Jonas Eidevall says there were some "nice aspects" in Arsenal’s 3-2 Women’s Super League victory over defending champions Chelsea on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.

Beth Mead struck twice, after Vivianne Miedema had opened the scoring, to seal the three points for the Gunners. 

“In some respects it was a statement win, the way we played out from their pressure in the first 30 minutes and the way we defended in the last 30, those were nice aspects," Eidevall said. 

"We know we have a good squad and we are a big club, for us it’s about performing in every game. We will learn and develop during the season, it’s just one game out of many.  

"It wasn’t perfect, I am new to English football and I made some tactical mistakes, I need to learn from this game too.”

Arsenal's Leah Williamson challenges for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at the Em

Arsenal's Leah Williamson challenges for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday September 5, 2021. - Credit: PA


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On Mead scoring twice and Arsenal having brought In Nikita Parris and Tobin Heath this summer, the new head coach said: “It’s not a problem, we need to rotate, we want to play a lot of games and we want to make substitutions in games too.  

"I am not a fan of thinking that playing lots of games is a problem, the best teams play lots of games.

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"If you want to be a top player you need to play a lot of games. I loved her first goal as well because it was an unselfish finish that was the selfless action.  

"It is easy in that situation to look for the pass but it wasn’t on and she took responsibility. It was the correct, brave decision.

"Everyone here is competing for spots, Beth has had a really good pre season, she has been dangerous offensively and she works hard defensively.”

Katie McCabe pushed higher up with Frida Maanum, who impressed on her WSL debut tucking in behind her on that tactic. 

“We wanted to create more space and time for ourselves in the build up to pin some of their players who we knew would want to press," Eidevall said. 

"They pressed and we didn’t have much time in the build up play but we were able to exploit the space in behind the players that pressed.  

"That worked really well as long as we had the runs in behind, which we had for the first 30 minutes. 

"We stopped doing that at the end of the first half and then we ran into problems.  

"But I was very pleased with the first 30 minutes and I think that was an example of us being better at playing out from the back against a team that presses you.”

Arsenal's Leah Williamson challenges for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at the Em

Arsenal's Leah Williamson challenges for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday September 5, 2021. - Credit: PA

Chelsea caused Arsenal several problems from crosses, however Eidevall revealed they set up to allow the Blues to put balls into the box. 

“Chelsea are very good at attacking space between full backs and central defenders, they do that constantly," the head coach said.  

"They don’t want to cross the ball, they want the full-back to commit and play the ball in behind. We covered that space with our midfielders in the first half, but when we tired we conceded some chances in that respect. 

"We chose to stay narrow and say ‘let them cross.’ We know that’s not their preferred option but we knew we had a lot of players in the middle to stop the cross.  

"We looked comfortable with it and made good decisions under pressure. Sometimes you need to clear the ball and not play yourself into trouble and we did that when we needed to.” 

Eidevall said he was nervous for the final 20 minutes, saying: “It was a learning opportunity for us, if we want to be a great team we need to be able to defend as a unit when needed, even if we are tired and we need to make substitutions because we are forced to and we need to stay organised.

"We need to be clever and calm enough to protect the spaces that we choose to protect.

"I am not nervous in those situations because I am looking to see how the team is doing and that’s where my focus is. I don’t think it’s possible to be nervous and to be focused on a task at the same time, I have to stay task focused.” 

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