In recent games against Hoffenheim, Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs, Barcelona (away) and Aston Villa, Jonas Eidevall has selected a midfield three of Frida Maanum, Lia Wälti and Kim Little, all of whom are excellent players with outstanding qualities.
With Maanum and Wälti playing in a double pivot, the idea has been to give the Gunners security and physicality in the middle of the park before unleashing one or both of Jordan Nobbs or Mana Iwabuchi later in the game.
That balance has come at an attacking cost, however, with Wälti and Maanum playing a little deeper and much of Kim Little’s best work performed in deeper areas, where her ability to dribble away from pressure is a huge boon in the middle third.
However, the Scot has registered 0.7 XA (expected assists) this season in the WSL, suggesting Arsenal need a more ‘between the lines’ type like Iwabuchi or Nobbs in the team to boost the creative output.
Arseblog News asked Jonas Eidevall for his views on this midfield combination and whether he has been happy with the balance between structure and attacking output, with Arsenal scoring once in the 379 minutes that the trio have been on the pitch together over the last six games.
Kim Little = the complete midfielder 🔥
— Her Football Hub (@HerFootballHub) October 2, 2021
“I think you are right from a stats perspective,” Eidevall explained. “I think we have to see it in the context that those three have played together against good opposition. A lot of the minutes they have played have been the toughest minutes that we have played so far this season.
“I think we saw against Hoffenheim, in the first half, we got it to work nicely. But I think also in the part of the process where we are at, when we play with two sixes like Frida and Wally, it’s about recognising the moment to say ‘when can we push higher up? When do we need to be available in the build-up phase?
“Obviously that’s a question of timing and decision making and that is something that we need to keep on practicing to get it right.” Arsenal play their last game of 2021 at home to Brighton on Sunday evening in the WSL.