Hypocritical response? Chelsea coach Emma Hayes cites male aggression, then shirt-fronts Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall


The coach of the Chelsea women’s team Emma Hayes has had a tough time of things this season.

With her time at the club coming to an end in a few short months, star striker Sam Kerr out for an extended period of time and her Blues now three points adrift of Manchester City in the league, it appears a rather nasty side of her character has emerged.

Chelsea lost the Continental Cup to Arsenal over the weekend, with the Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord and Kyra Cooney-Cross fuelled Arsenal too good over the long haul, winning the match 1-0 in extra time.

During the match, Hayes became upset at the passion and energy exuding from the Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall, with post-game statements from her suggesting that he had been a little too macho in the technical area and, in her opinion, crossed the line during the tense final.

Her solution to the alleged grievance, prior to speaking to the media in the post-game, was to march towards her Swedish opponent and shirt-front him as the Arsenal man offered his hand towards her for the customary handshake.

Frankly, it was a bad look for Hayes, especially in light of the comments she made soon after the match, where she clearly stated that she was “not down for male aggression on the touchline. I told him this”.

Fair enough I guess. All of us would probably prefer the folks in the technical area to keep calm at all times during football matches. Of course, we also know that tensions can rise and emotion will sometimes bring out the worst in people.

We are all humans and mistakes have and will continue to be made by parents, players and coaches alike when it comes to the competitiveness that builds in sporting contests, particularly as the stakes get a little higher as the standard improves.

Yet Hayes, after her rather strange comments back in mid-March when she claimed that player-coach relationships and player-to-player relationships were “inappropriate” and hard for coaches to navigate, seems to have once again suffered a PR stumble.

Seemingly, brought on by the fact that her team is looking trophy-less the longer the season goes.

???????? Chelsea football club has not yet issued any club statement or apologies regarding Emma Hayes misconduct towards Arsenal’s women coach Jonas Eidevall


— Out of Context EPL (@Out_contextEPL) April 2, 2024

Hayes’ comments in regards to the relationships that exist within women’s football teams reek of high hypocrisy considering the number of players that have featured in the trophy-winning campaigns under her watch.

Even after apologising in the days that followed, the question as to why she made the remarks in the first instance, remains unanswered.

Frankly, she appears like a grumpy and frustrated manager, on a gender-based mission to prove something as a female coach, as opposed to a football coach.

The latest incident presents her in an awful light; one where her apparent disgust towards her coaching peer, and the claim that he became aggressive in a male fashion, whatever that means, was responded to by Hayes calling the proverbial kettle black and physically challenging the Swede.

To his credit, Eidevall seemed stunned and almost comically palmed off the rather pathetic physical intimidation that Hayes appeared to attempt to use against him.

He is a quality coach and like Hayes, a passionate leader of footballers.

There have been moments where he has toed the dangerous line of appropriateness on the sideline whilst attempting to lift Arsenal into the championship race over the last four seasons.

Emma Hayes, Manager of Chelsea, walks away from Jonas Eidevall, Manager of Arsenal, following an altercation between the pair. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Hayes’ claim was that Eidevall’s yellow card received during the match after a brief altercation with Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert should have seen him dismissed from the sideline and banished to the stands.

Of course, passions ran high and the referee was apparently forced to take some action, deeming the yellow to be sufficient.

Yet in the moments after defeat, Hayes chose to add gender to the matter and in the greatest of ironies, to employ a tactic that she would then call out in her opposition coach.

After winning many a trophy with a number of players in her team engaged in relationships with teammates, Hayes realised the stupidity of her comments in regard to the challenge of ‘dealing’ with them.

I’d suggest she might be in line for another apology, another based around the hypocrisy of her thinking.

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One can only imagine if Eidevall had roughed Hayes up in the same manner as the coaches approached each other following the final whistle.

I would argue he may have been labelled a misogynist and sacked. Perhaps Hayes should be as well.

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