Arsenal came from behind to secure three points as Villa Park hosted the final match of Women’s Football Weekend. The Gunners were forced to regroup at half-time after going down 1-0. Galvanised, they upped their impetus in the second half and Victoria Pelova, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Stina Blackstenius all made the scoresheet.

Arsenal manager, Jonas Eidevall, spoke to the media following the victory over Aston Villa. 

  • "We were unlucky to go 1-0 down"

The Gunners lacked fluidity and composure throughout many periods of the first half. Play was scrappy and Arsenal required some half time inspiration.

Ebony Salmon's goal ahead of half time set the visitors 1-0 down and forced the side to re-group and make changes during the break. 

"Me and the assistant coaches took some time before we went into the dressing room at half-time," Eidevall said. "The first half was not a bad performance, it is a bad result."

"It was a result that goes against the state of play, we had control even if we didn’t create so many chances. We were unlucky to go 1-0 down. We changed two things. Villa were really, really compact in their organisation in their 5-3-2," he added.

"It was really important to attack on one side with a structure and start dragging their 10s out on that side and then, with speed and determination, go over on the other side. That was where we would open them up."

  • "Let’s not review what happened in the first half, let’s look into the future"

Eidevall was keen to stress the importance of moving on and focusing on the second half rather than reflecting on the errors of the first half. 

"Once we got that clarity in the second half, we dragged them out and changed the point of attack and started to create some really clear chances," Eidevall said. "The other thing we spoke about was that Villa really wanted to play out from the back."

"When you win the ball in those moments against a low block, we needed to be much more forward oriented when you win the ball in these pressing situations and try to create from that."

"We did that really well in the second half as well. At times when you are 1-0 down, you want to try to put over so much information but I think experience told me and the team, in these situations, it’s important to get the details right that we really need to focus on what is going to make a difference."

"We said, let’s not review what happened in the first half, let’s look into the future and paint a picture of what is going to be for us to be successful," Eidevall explained. "I think we did that well, big credit to the players because they problem solved, they were solution oriented, cool under pressure in the second half."

"We were so methodical and we kept on believing if we didn’t convert, we would create more chances. That was a really high performing team in a pressure situation."

  • "It's a conscious choice I make to stay optimistic"

Arsenal's 13 shots on target at 37 shot at goal were stats which reflected the relentless attack from Arsenal. 30 of those 37 shots came before the second and third goal, the side becoming more clinical as the game progressed. 

"I make a conscious choice to think ‘on the next chance, we will score'," Jonas said. "A conscious choice I make to stay optimistic, if it is 1-1 in the 92nd minute, I make a conscious choice to believe we will win the game and believe 100% in that."

"I want the players and the rest of the staff to believe the same way. I don’t think you should accept any other way of thinking in those moments."

"That can be hard in those moments because your mind might go into that, to say, ‘it’s one of those days.’ You don’t let the mind go. Always stay positive, positive reinforcement because that maximises the chances of winning," he added.