Jonas Eidevall labelled Arsenal’s first half performance against Manchester United ‘disconnected’, as the Gunners fell to their first WSL defeat of the season at the Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal had trailed 1-0 at the break to an Ella Toone volley and had struggled to create any clear cut openings, before goals from Frida Maanum and Laura Wienroither left the Gunners leading with 10 minutes remaining.
However, Millie Turner levelled in the 85th minute, before Alessia Russo headed home in stoppage time to give United a 3-2 victory and end Arsenal’s 100% start to the WSL season.
“I thought in the first half it was a lot to do with our positioning,” said Eidevall. “We were too disconnected, we didn’t provide enough short passing options around the ball.
“In the second half, our decision making let us down at times. The positioning was better but we ended up taking some strange decisions with the ball. The outcome of that was that we didn’t have a lot of times when we had 45-60 second spell in United’s half and sustain attacks.
“We were poor in the first half because we were disconnected because we didn’t have enough short options for the ball, we positioned high too early and we were not compact enough. That meant I didn’t recognise us as a team.
“I told the players that I understand that we can win or lose football games but I don’t think anyone here should accept that we can lose not looking like Arsenal. We had to turn around. United are a good team and they can score from set pieces and so on but I still believe if we had played the way we did in the second half in the first half, that would’ve been good enough to win the game.”
United’s equaliser and winner both came from teasing set piece deliveries from Katie Zelem; Turner headed in off the underside of the bar from a free kick, before Russo rose highest to head home from a corner. Eidevall admitted disappointment in the manner of which his side conceded.
“We need to do that better,” the Arsenal boss added. “It’s two uncontested headers and we know they have good service and they have good target players. There is no way somebody should head the ball uncontested in our penalty area.
“If they score from a first contact and they are being contested and challenged to our limits, then we have to accept that. But we can’t accept uncontested headers. That I am disappointed with; we need to look at that separately and do better next time and try to keep some of the good things we did in this game.”