Arsenal's Jonas Eidevall slams Chelsea for WSL match postponements

Arsenal Women manager Jonas Eidevall

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall has suggested Chelsea requested the postponement of a Women’s Super League match in January because their star striker Sam Kerr was playing at the Asia Cup.

With just three matches left to play in the WSL this season, the tension in the title race is reaching new heights.

Chelsea currently top the table but are just one point in front of Arsenal. To be in with a chance of clinching the WSL for the first time since 2019, the Gunners need to win all of their remaining matches and hope The Blues drop points. 

The hopes of Arsenal fans were briefly raised when Tottenham Hotspur equalised against Chelsea during their match yesterday, but these were dashed when Sam Kerr scored what turned out to be a winning goal just minutes later. 

Eidevall told reporters today that he did not watch the match, claiming his focus was not on Chelsea. 

“I didn’t watch it. I didn’t focus on Chelsea when they were rearranging their fixtures in January so that Sam Kerr didn’t have to miss games because of the Asia Cup and I don’t focus on them now. 

“I focus on Arsenal getting as many points as possible and seeing where that gets us in the table.”

Players from Australia, Japan and South Korea featured at the Asia Cup in January, missing the majority of Women’s Super League matches in that month.

Chelsea had two matches postponed during that period. The first match, against Tottenham Hotspur, was rearranged due to a significant number of positive COVID-19 cases within the squad and a number of players unavailable for selection due to injury.

The second match was postponed due to a number of positive COVID-19 test results and injuries at Everton.

Arsenal, who lost Lydia Williams, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Mana Iwabuchi to the Asia Cup, did not have any games in January postponed. 

They were defeated by Birmingham during that period, a result which could cost them the WSL title as it stands. 

“It was a very, very difficult game for so many different reasons with players coming back from holidays and COVID, players leaving for the Asia Cup, new players not being eligible yet,” Eidevall said.

“We were one of the few teams that chose to play that weekend whereas other teams got their games rescheduled.”

When asked whether he regretted not requesting a postponement of the match against Birmingham, Eidevall said he still would have wanted to game to take place as scheduled.

“We should play matches. When you are a football club, it is your business.

“I have said this before, I am very disappointed with the way, as a league, this has been handled. The lack of transparency in the reasoning behind rescheduling games and, also, how long those games take to be rescheduled.

“There is a massive need for improvement there to make the league more fair and more competitive and that there are rules that are stuck to. 

“That has been a big surprise for me, personally, coming into this country this season. I think we have been doing the right thing and it’s the league that should change. Football teams should play football matches.”

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