Jonas Eidevall: Arsenal will give everything against Wolfsburg to repay faith
Jonas Eidevall has vowed Arsenal will give everything to repay the faith shown in them as they prepare to battle with Wolfsburg at a sold-out Emirates Stadium for a place in the Women’s Champions League final.
The second leg of the last-four tie takes place on Monday, with the score at 2-2 after the Gunners fought back from two goals down in Germany a week ago.
And on Sunday morning the club announced that, with over 60,000 tickets purchased, it is the first fixture for the women’s team to sell out the stadium.
For the first time in our history…
EMIRATES STADIUM. SOLD OUT. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/sTUNFjFOVp
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 30, 2023
Boss Eidevall later told a press conference: “It’s a huge occasion for us as a team, as a club. It’s a compliment to a lot of people that have been involved in pushing the sales of the tickets and generating the interest.
“It’s astonishing that it’s happening and we’re going to make our very best to repay all the faith put in us, but also to enjoy the moment.
“I think our fans have been nothing short of brilliant this season, absolutely magnificent, and if they can be just as magnificent tomorrow, that’s going to be a huge boost for the whole team.
“It’s about me and the players believing we can do it, and we’re going to put everything out there on the pitch. It’s one game that separates us from a dream, so let’s bring everything on the pitch and leave it there.”
Regarding the sell-out, Eidevall added: “I don’t see this as an end point for it, and for me this has always been the natural progression, that we were going to get here. If it was this game or not, I don’t know, but I felt the club has had a plan.
“For me, it’s about sustaining, having consistency on it, and I hope when we look back on the day tomorrow in history, we can see that was one of the starting points, where we started making this a regular occurrence.”
Arsenal and England defender Lotte Wubben-Moy said: “I think exciting doesn’t do it justice.
“When you look at the future of sustainability in the game and for Arsenal Women, that’s what’s most exciting for me – not only to play in a Champions League semi-final at a sold-out Emirates Stadium, but the prospect of so many more games there.”
On growing attendances in the women’s game in general, Wubben-Moy said: “I don’t think (when she was younger) I’d ever have dreamed of it (playing at a sold-out Emirates) to be honest. It’s quite an emotional thing for everyone to experience. Maybe it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, that Euros win (for England last summer), and now the floodgates have opened and we’re getting our just deserts.
“Let’s not forget we’re maybe 50-odd years behind the men’s game. I think (former England midfielder) Karen Carney described it as a start-up business.
“Women’s football is in maybe its infant years, we’re walking. But we’re about to start running, and we’re probably about to start sprinting as well. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it, but then I’m also kind of like ‘heck we deserve it’.”
The winners of the tie will meet Barcelona – who got past Chelsea on Thursday – in the final in Eindhoven on June 3.
Back where she belongs 🏡
Club legend Kelly Smith joins our coaching staff until the end of the season 👋 pic.twitter.com/Efr0mXmjPN
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 26, 2023
Arsenal, in the semi-finals for the first time in 10 years, are the only English club to have won the competition, back in 2007.
That team included Kelly Smith, the former England striker who this week joined Eidevall’s coaching staff for the remainder of the season.
And he said: “Kelly provides us with the perspective of being a top player, not only in general, but at this club. It makes us better, it’s definitely something that will improve us.”
Arsenal – missing Leah Williamson, Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead through long-term injury – have the fit-again Lina Hurtig back available, while Caitlin Foord remains sidelined.