“It is a very special moment being a childhood fan, being at the Emirates and scoring an important goal like that. You work with a player every day and they get to live a moment like this. We’re all very happy for the goal as a team but also for Lotte as an individual and understand that it’s a special moment.”
As Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall alluded to, football has a habit of tugging at those heart strings. Those special moments it creates were no better illustrated than when Lotte Wubben-Moy found herself in space in the box to hammer home a valuable equaliser for her side. Having come through the Academy and an Arsenal fan through and through, it was the perfect script for the young defender’s first start at the Emirates.
“I love the group stage. Such a great idea. It was so needed, and it’s really helped. I think it will help every team and develop the pool of quality teams across Europe.”
As the Champions League returned for its final two match days in the Group stage, Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes, made a ringing endorsement for the competition’s new format. Drama, high quality football, big stadia, increased visibility and much more – the Champions League Group Stage has had it all. As the final games of this new addition come to an end, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on what a brilliant adaptation it has been.
It’s the nature of football at this time of year that as soon as one game is done, the following one is no more than 72 hours round the corner.
And so it is for Chelsea this week. Sunday’s FA Cup winners move swiftly onto the next challenge with the arrival of Juventus and a chance to qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League. It is a situation this team and their manager, Emma Hayes, are very much used to and at this point comfortable with: “We’ve been here so many times and because of that, we just know how to do it. It’s not unusual for us anymore to be in a Cup Final at Wembley and play three days later. This is normal for us, so I think it’s just business as usual.”
Grant Scott cut a slightly frustrated figure after his Glasgow City earned a solid, if at times unremarkable, victory over Birkirkara in the Champions League. It wasn’t that the manager was particularly unhappy with his side, it was more that he expected them to kick on after a dominant first half display, which they struggled to do.
At 8pm tonight, Chelsea will step out at the Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg on the brink of something very special. Barcelona are their opponents in a Champions League final like no other to end the most unique of seasons.
“I’ve faced that opponent so many times and felt humiliated and lost. And I always thought they were the benchmark for women’s football alongside Lyon. So, it’s a really, really proud day for English football.”
Emma Hayes was full of praise for her side following their emphatic performance in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final against Wolfsburg. The enormity of this win is not lost on us. Having travelled to see Chelsea play in each of their last meetings with the She Wolves in this competition, it seemed like it was never going to happen for them. They had become Chelsea’s bogey team, and it felt like a cruel joke that they were drawn against them again this year.
Champions League football returned to Kingsmeadow last night with a bang. In a match that had everything – from red cards to penalty saves – Chelsea hosted Atlético Madrid in a testing Round of 16 fixture.