Friday, February 3, 2023

Jonas Eidevall talks to Arseblog News about opponent analysis and match preparation

With a Champions League group stage this season for the first ever time in women’s football and the final rounds of last season’s FA Cup finishing during this winter, there are an unprecedented number of games for Arsenal Women until Christmas. That has a physical impact on the players of course and the summer appointment of Gary Lewin as Head of Medicine and Sports Science will go some way to addressing the increased physical load on players.

How about the preparation for coaches, though? With three games a week, it must be increasingly difficult to conduct detailed preparation on each opponent. Arseblog News asks Jonas Eidevall how he and his staff manage the backlog when it comes to preparing games in a condensed schedule.

“Right now we have two people who work specifically on opponent analysis, Jonny Dixon and Donna Newbury and they alternate so that they prepare every other opponent. If we look at this week where we have Barcelona and Aston Villa, they will have started to look at them around two weeks ago during the international break.

“They will start to build up a picture of them and then for me and the coaches, we get involved a little bit before we play those teams. So, for example, just before we played Tottenham, they (Johnny and Donna) will share information with me about Aston Villa and I started looking at them in the two days before we played Tottenham to decide what will be important for us to work on after the Tottenham game.

“We will only present it to the players probably the day before the game, they were off on Thursday so they are in today (Friday). We will never present anything to our players until we have played, so they only get the information on the next opponent. The coaching staff know how we are going to prepare before the Villa game, like the information we want to give them and how we plan our practice.

“Then we will meet on Sunday to do some recovery but only then will we do a walk through with the players about our tactics for the Barcelona game. We train on Barcelona’s ground on Monday so we can’t show them anything. That session will be more about activating the players and getting a feeling for the pitch.

“It’s a process where, for me as a coach, I need to have two games in my head at once, the analysts need to have more than two, the players though only need to think about one.” Eidevall was also amused to hear that Aston Villa coach Carla Ward said she had been preparing her players by asking them to defend against 12 players in training.

“That’s funny because when I started out and I wrote my coaching thesis, the name I gave it was ‘the 12th player,’ because my aim is always to make the opponent feel like they are playing against an extra player. That is the basis of my football but if she is setting up her training like that, it’s a really nice compliment.

“When you have results like we have had, you have to be prepared for the fact that other teams will prepare for you very hard and we have to train for that. But unless they trick the referee to get an extra player on the pitch, I am pretty sure it will be 11 v 11 on Saturday.”

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Cool beans

Ickenham Gooner

Seems a very intelligent young coach. Wonder if he would ever transition to the men’s game?

Ickenham Gooner

It was an honest question, don’t get the negative marks, or see the need for them to even be needed for posts. Just a way of bullying I guess. Won’t bother in the future.

Peter Story Teller

I don’t think it is bullying so I would concern yourself with that but this is a blog about the women’s team and comments regarding the men’s team often get downvoted especially when the guy has only just arrived and turned the team into winners.
I believe he has coached men’s teams in the past anyway if you read his profile.

Peter Story Teller



I suppose wrapped up in the initial question is the implication that mens football is superior to women’s which isn’t very appreciated.
While that view may be true in terms of prestige, etc. etc., there are many working hard to raise the profile of the women’s game, and some prefer the women’s game for various reasons.


I have a vague memory he has been assisting coach to Henrik Larsson(!) at Helsingborg in the swedish league but I can’t find any info about it.

Anyway when you are coaching Arsenal, you don’t get much higher in womens football. Maybe one of the top nations national teams or one or two european top clubs. So who knows?

The way he has started here we should hope he stays for a long time.


With every word he utters, I’m a little more impressed with him. Seems to be not only brilliant, but really grounded too. And with a sense of humour. Let’s make the world sit up and take notice with a win at Barca!


He really seems to know his stuff,and the players we’ve bought in all seem to really add to the team, has there been any kind of invincibles season In women’s football, cos this looks like a team that might do it

😇🚗Zola already achieved invincible status having been unbeaten for almost 6 seasons


Which included a Quadruple (the only British club to have won the Champions League) and a 51 game win streak


This man knows what he’s talking about and I really like that. He has definitely given this team that extra bit tenacity required to compete at the elite level. We were very good before, but he has made us better. Nothing will change that, however, I think the Barcelona game will be a real defining moment of where we’re at. I’m so looking forward to that game.

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