Arsenal Women head coach Jonas Eidevall has suggested Chelsea re-arranged fixtures in January to avoid playing without star striker Sam Kerr while she was away at the Asia Cup.
WSL leaders Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1 on Thursday night to move four points ahead of Arsenal in the title race with just a few weeks left of the season.
But Eidevall, whose side have a game in hand and three matches left to play in the league, says he did not watch Chelsea’s game and aimed a dig at Arsenal’s title rivals.
He said: “I think for me I didn’t focus on Chelsea when they were rearranging all their fixtures in January, so Sam Kerr didn’t have to miss any games because of the Asia Cup.
“I don’t focus on them now, either. I just focus on Arsenal, getting as many points as possible, and then we see where that leaves us in the table.”
Chelsea asked to have a match against Tottenham postponed in January due to a high number of Covid cases and injuries in their squad.
Their match against Everton was also pushed back, but that was at the request of the opposition, also due to a high number of Covid cases and injuries.
Arsenal were without Lydia Williams, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Mana Iwabuchi due to the Asia Cup in January, and subsequently lost to Birmingham during that period while other games were postponed.
“We were one of the few teams who chose to play that weekend,” added Eidevall.
“I am very disappointed with the lack of transparency in the reasons behind postponing games and how long they take to reschedule.”
Will Birmingham or Man Utd do Arsenal a favour?
Arsenal can close the gap on Chelsea to one point with a win against Aston Villa on Sunday, but are relying on Birmingham and Manchester United to trip Chelsea up in their final two games.
As the Gunners have a game in hand, they just need Chelsea to draw one of their final two games, should Eidevall’s side finish the season with three wins.
“I’ve seen both teams Birmingham and Man United and everyone who has followed our season knows that they have both been beating us,” said Eidevall.
“I’ve seen their qualities on those occasions. I’ve also seen that when Birmingham was playing at home against us, and I saw it happen to us in the County Cup, when United was playing away against us. So it’s two very capable teams and in a very tough league.”
Could the Champions League decide the WSL title winner?
Sky Sports’ Karen Carney:
“The Champions League might be a factor come the end of the season. Chelsea went out early, they could focus on the league. Arsenal were still in it and playing against real top opposition and had to focus on that. Their squad rotation had to change, they had injuries and that might be a factor.
“I think the Birmingham game [for Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports] is hard… Birmingham are fighting for it [to stay in the WSL] and everyone thinks they’re down but internally, they don’t. Going there is going to be tough and you have to stay concentrated.
“But with the squad Chelsea have, with the way they’re going and having to go through resilient moments this week, I think it’s Chelsea’s Arsenal Women head coach Jonas Eidevall makes Chelsea dig about WSL fixture postponements | Football News.”