Emma Hayes bizarrely recited part of a poem after Jonas Eidevall branded her accusation against him of male aggression “irresponsible”.

Eidevall’s Arsenal defeated Hayes’ Chelsea 1-0 earlier this month in the Continental Cup final but the result was overshadowed by a spat between the two managers.

Hayes took exception to a touchline altercation between Eidevall and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and appeared to push the Arsenal boss after the match.

Both managers were speaking for the first time since the contest ahead of matches this weekend, and Eidevall did not hold back in criticising Hayes for her remarks.

“I thought the comments that I heard after the game were very irresponsible and they were not mirroring the conduct that I had in the technical area,” Eidevall said on arsenal.com.

“I think always when you make comments about other persons, you have to take into consideration what effects that may have. That’s why you need to be, especially when you’re a leader, you need to be very good with words.

“You need to understand the consequences of both your actions and your language and that’s why I think it’s really, really important that we treat each other with a lot of respect and that we stay at facts as much as possible and don’t get too emotional.”

Hayes’ response – when asked whether she would change her comments – was to read a line from Robert Frost’s poem Choose Something Like a Star: “When at times the mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.”

Neither manager offered an apology, with Eidevall saying he was “very happy” with the way he conducted himself, while Hayes described a conversation with her young son about responding to aggression.

“My son said to me after the game, ‘Mummy, when you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out’,” she told reporters.

“And I said to him, ‘You know what darling, you can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher’. I thought it was a really good conversation to have with my son.”

Pressed further, Hayes indicated she regretted her reaction, saying: “I’ve had a fantastic break, I’ve already explained an important analogy that I shared with my son and the lessons learned and my focus is on moving forward and I’ve had time to look at my star.

“Of course it’s not right to meet aggression with aggression. I can only control my own behaviours.

“I’ve reflected on that and next time I just need to listen to my son’s advice and I need to go to the teacher if I’ve got anything to say.”

On Eidevall’s branding of her as “irresponsible”, Hayes said simply: “I don’t have an opinion on it.”

There appears no prospect of clear-the-air talks between the pair any time soon, with Hayes, who will not face any sanction for the push, adding: “We don’t play Arsenal, we don’t have each other’s telephone numbers, we’d have no reason to do that.

“But I’m sure when I become the boss of the USA we will have conversations. Until the end of the season, my focus is on Chelsea.”

Eidevall revealed, meanwhile, that Frida Maanum, who collapsed during the cup final in worrying scenes, could return in next weekend’s match against Leicester.

“Everything is looking good and that’s the most important thing,” said Eidevall. “She’s on a graduated, monitored protocol now to return to play.

“She will not be available for selection (against Bristol City) on Sunday but, after that, if everything goes as planned, it looks promising for her to be available to play again.”

Jonas Eidevall believes Emma Hayes was “irresponsible” in accusing him of male aggression in a heated finish to the Women’s League Cup final.

Eidevall’s Arsenal defeated Hayes’ Chelsea 1-0 earlier this month but the result was overshadowed by a spat between the two managers.

Hayes took exception to a touchline altercation between Eidevall and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and appeared to push the Arsenal boss after the match.

Hayes will not face any sanction but, speaking at a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Women’s Super League clash with Bristol City on Sunday, Eidevall criticised the Chelsea boss for her post-match comments.

“I thought the comments that I heard after the game were very irresponsible and they were not mirroring the conduct that I had in the technical area,” Eidevall said on arsenal.com.

“I think always when you make comments about other persons you have to take into consideration what effects that may have. That’s why you need to be, especially when you’re a leader, you need to be very good with words.

“You need to understand the consequences of both your actions and your language and that’s why I think it’s really, really important that we treat each other with a lot of respect and that we stay at facts as much as possible and don’t get too emotional.

“I’m very happy with the way I conducted myself and I wouldn’t do anything differently if I could redo it again.”

Eidevall revealed, meanwhile, that Frida Maanum, who collapsed during the cup final in worrying scenes, could return in next weekend’s match against Leicester.

“Everything is looking good and that’s the most important thing,” said Eidevall. “She’s on a graduated, monitored protocol now to return to play. She will not be available for selection on Sunday but, after that, if everything goes as planned, it looks promising for her to be available to play again.”

Jamaica’s Khadija “Bunny” Shaw could cop March's Barclays Women's Super League Goal-of-the-Month award, as well as Manchester City Women’s Player-of-the-Month award after being shortlisted for both following her exploits throughout last month.

Shaw registered the historic achievement of being the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer when she overtook Georgia Stanway’s mark of 67. During that period, the prolific Jamaican had goals against Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester United and Liverpool.

The towering 27-year-old striker now has 70 career goals for the north England powerhouse, which she joined three years ago, and 19 so far this season.

City’s manager Gareth Taylor in a recent interview, heaped praises on Shaw for her record-breaking feat.

“She’s a unique player, not only does she give us the goals, but she’s also a big focal point,” he said.

Shaw, City’s Player-of-the-Year for last season, faces stiff competition for the March award from midfielder Jess Park, who has also been shortlisted for the Barclays Women's Super League Goal-of-the-Month award.

Both players were nominated for finishes in the 4-1 victory at Liverpool last weekend.

Park’s goal, City’s second, came as she danced through a compact Liverpool defence and tucked calmly into the corner.

Shaw’s unstoppable strike from range came just two minutes later and had City 3-0 up in 24 minutes.

After four wins from four across the month, City are top of the table on 46 points having played a game more than defending champions Chelsea, who are on 43 points.

To win the award, Park or Shaw will have to see off six other strikes.

On the list are Hanna Bennison of Everton, Bristol City’s Megan Connolly, West Ham’s Viviane Asseyi, Lee Geum-min and Elisabeth Terland of Brighton and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert.

Erin Cuthbert says Chelsea’s players are “driven” to give Emma Hayes “the send-off she deserves” as they pursue silverware on four fronts.

Hayes’ trophy-laden 12-year tenure as Blues boss is to conclude this summer when she takes charge of the United States national team.

Chelsea play Arsenal – the only English side to have won a quadruple, in 2007 with Hayes on their coaching staff – in the Women’s Super League at Stamford Bridge on Friday, sitting top, level on points with second-placed Manchester City and three clear of the Gunners.

Also before the end of March they face Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals and Arsenal in the League Cup final, while last weekend they advanced to an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

Midfielder Cuthbert, a Chelsea player since 2016, said: “We’ve done everything right until now, but we have the chance to either go on and be great or win nothing. Emma has reminded us of that.

“We really want to do it for Emma – I certainly do. It’s well and good talking about a potential quadruple but we’re at the point where we can still win absolutely nothing, so the main message is less talk, more action, and make sure when the big moments come we’re ready.

“Emma’s done a lot for me. She’s done so much for the club. I will be grateful for her, and the way she’s sort of driven the women’s game in general as well.

“Whatever happens this season, Emma’s legacy will not be defined in the space of three months, but of course, she’ll want to go out on a high, and I think the players are all driven to give Emma the send-off she deserves.

“I’d love nothing more than to celebrate with her at the end of the season (with) multiple trophies. But that’s only done with a process and giving 100 per cent every day, working hard and giving extra, especially when we’re thin (in terms of availability).

“This is the moment where we need to sort of go up another gear, because the games are coming thick and fast.”

Chelsea have been navigating a busy schedule with some big names out injured, including Sam Kerr and captain Millie Bright, nearing a return from a knee issue.

Both Cuthbert and Niamh Charles have skippered the side in Bright’s absence, a responsibility the 25-year-old Scotland international says she has “certainly enjoyed”.

While Kerr and Mia Fishel have recently been lost to ACL injuries, fellow forward Catarina Macario, signed from Lyon last summer, this month returned from one sustained in June 2022 to score in her first two Chelsea appearances.

Cuthbert said: “It’s the best feeling ever to be a team-mate and witness that, when you have seen someone go through absolute hell – there’s been a lot of blood, sweat, tears, I saw her really down many times.

“Moments like (the goals) hopefully make it all worthwhile for her. It’s no easy route as a footballer coming back from injury, but I think she’s had it especially tough, one of the toughest I’ve seen.”

In December Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal beat Chelsea 4-1 in front of an Emirates Stadium crowd of 59,042.

Ticket sales for Friday reached 30,000 on Monday, and Cuthbert said: “We really need the fans. We felt how much fans played a big role in them beating us, it certainly can be the 12th player, and we need to use that on Friday.”

Chelsea are chasing a seventh, and fifth successive, WSL title. They have also won five FA Cups under Hayes, including the last three, and two League Cups, and were Champions League runners-up in 2021.

Manchester City blew the Women’s Super League title race wide open after Khadija Shaw netted the winner in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea that took them level on points with the four-time defending champions at the summit.

The Jamaica international extended her Golden Boot-leading tally to 14 goals in 13 appearances, two more than Chelsea’s Lauren James, who was largely quiet in front of a sold-out Kingsmeadow.

Chelsea had what might have been an all-important penalty shout dismissed before the break and it took an outstanding effort by City keeper Khiara Keating to keep out the Blues in a thrilling second-half stoppage-time surge.

The top two sides head into their last eight matches level on 34 points and even on goal difference, with Chelsea’s 41 goals five more than City’s total, allowing them to remain leaders for another week.

It was Keating, who extended her WSL-leading clean sheet tally to seven, who was first called into action when Nathalie Bjorn nodded Erin Cuthbert’s corner in her direction.

Chelsea fell behind after 14 minutes when Jess Park dispossessed Cuthbert inside the hosts’ half and cut across to Shaw, who blasted the opener past Hannah Hampton, moments later coming close to another but dragging her shot wide before another effort was saved by the Blues keeper.

It was the beginning of a dominant spell for the visitors, who tested Hampton again through Laia Aleixandri’s header before Chelsea finally broke back and Guro Reiten was denied at the near post.

Chelsea wanted a penalty when Alex Greenwood broke up January signing Mayra Ramirez’s run at the edge of City’s six-yard box and in replays appeared not to touch the ball, but with no VAR in play referee Abigail Byrne dismissed the shout.

The Blues continued to apply pressure as an outstretched Keating was just able to get her fingertips on the edge of Fran Kirby’s effort across the face of goal following some excellent work by James in the build-up for the Blues’ best chance of the half.

It was a more aggressive Chelsea side who returned after the break, though it was Shaw who had the best early chance, Leila Ouahabi’s cross coming a bit too early as the striker stooped forward to meet it.

Chloe Kelly stung Hampton’s hands with just under 20 minutes remaining, the hosts then coming painfully close when Cuthbert aimed for the top corner, sending Keating into a dive and fans into a premature celebration as the skipper’s effort ultimately sailed wide.

City needed another goal to lift themselves into the top spot, but if anyone was going to change the scoreline it looked to be Chelsea, who dominated from the final 10 minutes through nine minutes of added time, when Keating made a huge stop to deny substitute Jelena Cankovic snatching a late leveller.

It was all Chelsea in the final, thrilling moments – but it was somehow still the visitors who walked away with all the spoils.

Emma Hayes admitted Chelsea played a boring game against Real Madrid as a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge ensured progression to the Champions League quarter-finals with a game to spare.

In the first half, Chelsea struggled to find a way through against Real, already eliminated after collecting a single point from their four games.

Chances fell to Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert, both denied by goalkeeper Mylene Chavas, while Mia Fishel put an effort wide of the near post from close range.

It took a clumsy challenge from Real full-back Kenti Robles, bringing down the lively Niamh Charles as she darted into the box, to earn Chelsea the penalty from which Reiten finally broke the deadlock just past the hour.

Substitute Athenea tapped in to level as Real made Chelsea sweat on qualification, leaving them facing two dropped points and an awkward trip to play Paris FC next week needing a result to seal a last-eight berth.

But Cuthbert, wearing the armband with Millie Bright unlikely to be back this side of the international break, took charge and within a minute had forced the winning goal, her cross bouncing in off Chavas as the goalkeeper’s concentration deserted her.

“We expect to go through, that’s a bare minimum,” said Hayes. “We should expect to go through as group winners. That’s already a sign of progress, that we expect those things.

“I didn’t think it was a scintillating performance, I thought it was a boring game. Not every game is swashbuckling and dynamic. I thought it was flat.

“I think it was understandable. We had an amazing performance at the weekend against Manchester United. Our league is really tough and I think it showed in some of the flat play for us. But we controlled the game without maybe doing enough in the final third.

“I brought Lauren (James) on at half-time, I thought that helped. Got the penalty, concede a sloppy goal from back to front, a poor goal.

“Then a really good response to go 2-1 up, then managed the game somewhat to the end in what was an efficient performance, but it was boring.”

Hayes said she looked forward to rotating her side in what will now be a dead rubber in Paris next week.

“Managing a squad of players is tricky when you’re making multiple changes,” she said. “I didn’t want to change much from the weekend, I think you need to build rhythm.

“For us the priority has got to be experimenting, giving opportunities in one of these two games coming up; Brighton (in the Women’s Super League) and Paris.

“It’s making sure we get Millie Bright back, we get Nat Bjorn registered. Maybe there’s a new player coming at some point (reports say a club record deal has been agreed for Colombia international Mayra Ramirez).

“But we’ve got to get ourselves ready. If we want to progress, we’ve got to get better. I think it was comfortable and measured from us.”

Real boss Alberto Toril reflected on a game that got away from his side despite a spirited performance.

“We played with our strengths, we contained them,” he said. “We restricted them. They’re a great team and we’re happy with the performance, even though we’ve lost. Sometimes you learn from the defeats.”

Chelsea advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a game to spare after an own-goal from Real Madrid goalkeeper Mylene Chavas handed them a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

Emma Hayes’ side looked to be facing the awkward prospect of requiring a result next week away at Paris FC when Real substitute Athenea del Castillo tapped in on the rebound, reacting quickest after goalkeeper Hannah Hampson had beaten out Hayley Raso’s effort with 20 minutes to play.

A penalty earlier in the second half from Guro Reiten had seemingly put Chelsea en route to the win they required.

But after the visitors had hit back it fell to Erin Cuthbert, wearing the armband with Millie Bright still absent, to lead by example, sending over a cross that bounced in off the unfortunate Real goalkeeper.

Chelsea’s first chance fell to the left foot of Cuthbert, drilled low against the legs of Chavas after Fran Kirby had found her with a deft through ball.

Jess Carter drilled a searching pass to the left flank that was helped on by Niamh Charles, rampaging forward from full-back, into the path of Reiten. She hit an audacious, dipping effort that was just clawed out from underneath the crossbar.

Real threatened through Colombia international Linda Caicedo, tricking her way in behind Kadeisha Buchanan and looking to poke it beyond Hampton from a devilish angle. The goalkeeper, making her Champions League debut, instinctively threw up a strong right hand and beat the ball away.

Reiten set up Cuthbert, who swung and missed her kick with the goal gaping, before the Scotland international and stand-in captain crossed to the near post to present Mia Fishel with seemingly an easy finish, but she could only guide it wide.

Hayes sent on Lauren James, fresh from her weekend hat-trick, at the break as her side searched for the goal that would seal a last-eight berth, whilst the precocious 18-year-old Caicedo, injured during the first half, was withdrawn by Real boss Alberto Toni.

Anything less than a win and qualification for Chelsea would go to the final matchday, a result likely needed away at impressive Champions League debutants Paris, twice conquerors of Real in this season’s competition.

The goal to radically alter that equation arrived just past the hour. Melanie Leupolz’s pass split Real’s defence and ran through to Cuthbert, arch-tormentor of her opposite number Kenti Robles.

The full-back’s challenge was a mess, scything Cuthbert to the ground. From the spot, Reiten put one Chelsea foot in the quarter-finals.

James looked to seal it with a goal all of her own making, cutting in from the right and standing up two defenders before racing beyond them and clipping a shot towards the near post that was brilliantly deflected away by Chavas.

Then all of a sudden, Chelsea switched off. There seemed little on for Real when the ball was pinged up to Raso, high up on the right of the box but with Charles in her path and only Athenea to aim for.

Instead she looked to do it herself, blasting low at goal, her shot beaten out by Hampson but into the path of the substitute who tapped home.

Fortune smiled on Hayes’ team almost at once, their lead restored within a minute when Chavas lost concentration at the critical moment and fumbled Cuthbert’s cross over her own line.

Erin Cuthbert’s second-half brace helped Chelsea take control of Group D in the Champions League with a 3-1 win at Hacken.

The two teams had played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge last week, which left the Swedish outfit top after three matches, but Emma Hayes’ side were able to finish 2023 with a crucial victory.

Sam Kerr broke the deadlock with her ninth goal of the campaign and, while Clarissa Larisey scored for Hacken to ensure it was 1-1 at half-time, Cuthbert netted twice in the space of 12 minutes after the break.

It ensured the Women’s Super League champions moved into top spot of the group after four matches and hold a one-point advantage over Hacken while Real Madrid, who they will host on January 24, are no longer able to qualify for the knockout stage following a 1-0 loss to third-placed Paris.

Hayes had warned her players there were no excuses despite this being their fourth match in 10 days but they nearly conceded early on at Bravida Arena.

Only four minutes were on the clock when Anna Anvegard hit the crossbar after Larisey’s cross, but Chelsea regrouped and a Lauren James curled effort signalled their intentions.

While Hacken goalkeeper Jennifer Falk was equal to James’ 20-yard strike, she had no answer to the prolific Kerr minutes later.

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd was the architect of the opener after she outmuscled Elma Junttila-Nelhage on the right before she cut back for Kerr, who fired into the roof of the net from close range in the 14th-minute.

It was a much-needed opener for the WSL champions, but they were caught out with 26 minutes on the clock by a slick counter-attack.

Jusu Bah showed great speed out wide and crossed in from the left where Larisey powered home a header.

Chelsea could have retaken the lead before half-time, but Falk pushed wide a firm strike by Sophie Ingle.

It was a different story after the break with Anvegard firing against the woodwork again for the hosts after linking up with Larisey, which proved a crucial moment in the group fixture.

Minutes later and Hayes’ team were back in front when Rytting Kaneryd’s cross was cleared to Ingle, who showed her composure to pick out Cuthbert and the Scotland international rifled into the bottom corner to make it 2-1 after 52 minutes.

It was Cuthbert’s first goal in this season’s Champions League but she doubled her tally again with 64 minutes played.

Kerr’s smart pass sent Cuthbert away and after she fooled Filippa Curmark with a fake shot, the midfielder’s low effort was too powerful for Falk.

Hacken pushed for a response and substitute Molly Johansson found the net in stoppage-time, but it was ruled out for offside and Chelsea earned a crucial three points.

Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert says a sense “everybody’s been against us” has “added fuel to our fire” this season as the Blues hunt down more silverware.

Emma Hayes’ side will on Sunday bid to secure the Women’s FA Cup for a third successive season, facing a Manchester United outfit at Wembley looking to claim their first major trophy.

Chelsea are currently also vying with United to win the Women’s Super League, which would be a fourth title in a row, and there have been two League Cup triumphs as well for the club since their trophyless 2018-19 campaign.

Cuthbert, who helped Chelsea achieve a league and FA Cup double in her first full season after joining in late 2016, said: “I feel like everybody’s been against us this season, so it’s just added fuel to our fire.

“I think everybody expects the winning team to slip up all the time. So it’s our job to keep proving we are still at the top, and to try to remain there is probably the hardest thing.

“It requires a lot of psychological training, mental toughness – but that’s drilled into us in training every day, about being winners.”

Asked if she felt it was getting more difficult to win trophies domestically due to the competition of other clubs, Cuthbert said: “It is getting harder, for sure.

“But it feels like the very first time – I still get the same excitement and feeling. It feels like I’ve not won the league. I still feel the same way how I did winning the first title with Chelsea. I’m still as driven and as motivated as ever.

“If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be at this club any more. I still feel I have more to give and like the little flame inside me is still lit.”

Chelsea were beaten by Arsenal in the League Cup final in March – something Cuthbert says left her “raging” – while their bid for a first Champions League crown ended last month in the semi-finals.

A 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp saw Hayes’ side lose 2-1 on aggregate, and Cuthbert said: “We were absolutely gutted to go out. But as soon as we were in that dressing room, everybody said, ‘This is time to go and try to get two titles now’.”

Chelsea defeated Marc Skinner’s United 3-1 and 1-0 in their two WSL encounters this season and Cuthbert says that while “of course mentally (that) does play a part” it is “difficult to say if there is a favourite”, regarding the sides as “fairly evenly matched”.

Sunday’s showpiece is the first Women’s FA Cup final to have sold out Wembley, with the attendance record set to be smashed. That came last season when Chelsea beat Manchester City 3-2 after extra time in front of 49,094 – a game that saw Cuthbert score with a stunning strike in normal time.

Reflecting on an occasion she felt summed up Chelsea’s “resilience”, she said: “What a moment that was for myself personally. I don’t normally score a lot of goals – and when it hits off the crossbar, comes down and hits the net, I was buzzing with that!

“The experience of playing at Wembley is certainly a day to remember. It’s a big occasion and my family always come down for it, so for me, that’s really special.

“My mum described it one time as one of the best days of our lives. That is also my motivation to get there – give my family a day to remember, after so much they’ve given for me.”

Cuthbert in November signed a new contract with Chelsea running to 2025, and when asked if she had thought about the possibility of a future move abroad, the 24-year-old Scotland international said: “Of course you think about it.

“But I wouldn’t have signed my deal if I didn’t want to be at Chelsea, certainly for the next couple of years. What I do after that is a different conversation, but nothing is forever.”

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