Saturday, June 15, 2024

Jonas Eidevall discusses midfield balance

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.

“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.

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I can see the reasoning behind this starting combination against the top teams but it has only really worked in the games against MankU and Villa which were two of the weakest on the list anyway.
Simple in my book. If Jordan is fit she starts.


I can see the reasoning behind the hypothesis, but if it doesn’t work then it’s can’t be continued.
I feel similarly about Catley at LCB, I see exactly why a left footed ball player would be wanted but it hasn’t worked at all. So maybe a 3 of Beats, LWM and Catley, with Katie and Martiz playing as WB tucking in when the other side is attacking.


You need players in the back who are confident with the ball and can at times beat a mark and dribble up the pitch, in the way Bronze does. Find space and thus help break down the opponent. Who does Arsenal have who can do that–or who does it? Williamson does it some, but she’s the only one. Arsenal have some overrated players, let’s just say. As for Nobbs, yes, if only she started, I’m sure Arsenal would beat Barcelona 8-0 and everybody else by more than that! Seriously, given how things have gone lately, she should start–but this idea… Read more »


Who do you think is overrated in this squad may I ask? I agree with your opinions on Nobbs. She is great and deserves a start based on current performance but people saying like she alone is the only key to a win is insane even when the whole team isn’t performing well. And they cried for why not start her every match when she was just back from injury and she was not in her best form. It also applies to Williamson’s case. I know how important she is to the team but people is acting like every problem… Read more »


They also used this combination in the ManCity game? correct me if i am wrong. But in that race it kinda work despite city’s horrible defence? The team seemed in momentum and the attacks were smooth in that match. If that’s the case dunno why it’s not working recently. Maybe the team and players are tired?


I like how Jonas played different combinations depending on different opponents in the beginning of the season. But he kinda stop and keep playing these three in the midfield again and again from some point onwards. And this combination is not working or not good enough at both defence and offence recently. Dunno if the team is just tired or what. I just hope he is right and if not I hope he is willing to accept it and soon enough to make changes.


Wolfsburg ripped Chelsea apart yesterday with a midfield 3 of Roord, Huth, and Oberdorf. The key difference between that and ours is that Huth really pushed high up the field with Oberdorf sitting back and Roord playing a B-2-B role.

I was hoping we were going to replicate something like that, with Maanum playing B2B, Lia sitting, and Kim pushing high. But it hasn’t been the case.

As an aside, I would take Oberdorf in a heartbeat if we had that chance — she’s going to be some player.


Actually wolfsburg’s midfield trio was lattwein-oberdorf-roord. Huth dropped back to pick up the ball and then drive forward, becoming the extra player in midfield chelsea didnt pick up/couldnt deal with.


Thank you for the correction.


Still a good reference as to how we could definitely use (1) the physicality of oberdorf and lattwein; (2) more dynamism in general.


Individual dynamism is definitely missing, along with, some tactical issues, I’m sure. The players all shrink against good competition.


But Jonas has to understand whenever this midfield trio is on the pitch, build up from the back is just a disaster and hence leading to most of the conceded goals past weeks. IMO frida shouldnt be starting for most games and Wally should be sitting in front of the back 4 instead of pushing her higher up the pitch. Poor Wally was lost playing with two pivots.


I do think tiredness has played a role; there were the preliminary rounds of the UWCL, plus some of our players had been in Japan for the Olympics. I like it when Frida plays further forward, as we saw with her two goals against Leicester. It’s very important to get 3 points against Brighton. They’re a solid well organised team but don’t have anything like the attacking threat of Chelsea, Barcelona or Hoffenheim. Our defence shouldn’t therefore be too vulnerable. I want to see Lotte back as she hasn’t been the worst of our CBs. Any news on Noelle as… Read more »


Yea I think we haven’t seen the entire impact of this combination yet cuz it only has been used at a point where the team started to be tried. The individuals also have not been performing well to their standards due to tiredness and form. On the other hand, the team and Jonas haven’t had much time adjusting things off pitch or in practice but they have to do it during matches which makes the combination harder to come together. Idk but I still can’t make a conclusion about this combination yet.


It doesn’t matter how well he makes the trio work together, in the end it will come at the cost of creativity from the central area.


Whike I appreciate the effort and time you take to down vote my comment I would appreciate it more if you could share your opinions in the matter. I’m sincerely curious. Personally I think a great majority of our opponents will come out defending against us. When we play frida/lia/kim we tend to rely on our flanks and diagonal passes from deep to attack which is ill suited against deep defensive lines. The inclusion of jordan or mana centrally offer more options to penetrate the lines. What’s your take?


Idk. Just need more time to observe how these three work together especially when the team is not that tired and the players are in their form again. But I don’t think these three are not creative and intelligent enough to create chances. Idk why they keep only passing diagonally recently. I believe we have seen what they are capable of doing and the recent matches can’t really reflect their qualities. maybe it’s tactics, haven’t got used to their roles or tiredness. I just think they are better than what they are performing now. With that being said, I agree… Read more »


Thanks for sharing your thoughts, appreciate it.


I think it’s because the team had been doing so well since Jonas took charge and everyone expects so much then everything turned suddenly after that international break. It’s like day and night. They are still the same team but the performance is so different. I think tiredness really takes part in the discrepancy which disappoints all of us. If they weren’t doing that good at the beginning of the season, I believe this combination or the team would not be criticised this hard.


To be fair, i thought it worked well in the first half against hoffenheim, probably complemented by iwabuchi’s creativity. We did carve them out quite easily with sharp movement and passing.
Overall, we were undone by individual errors at the back in a very short spell, leading to questions asked about mental toughness and the confidence of the defenders.


Exactly. too many individual errors and miscommunication which make me unable to say if the combination works or not and how it’s working. Individual errors have shadowed the good stuffs done by the midfielders.
I hope we can at least minimise those individual mistakes and have a good match.


Simple. Lia Walti is just not good enough. We need big and strong defensive midfielder to break the opponent attacks. If we have good CB, I definitely play Leah in that role. Perfect. She will challenge anybody who comes in the middle.She will break anyhting. Please sll beattie, Sorensen and Schnaderbeck. We need younger big, quick and robust world class CB. These slow CB not gonna good enough to play in Champions League at higher level.


Seems to me the team needs to do more small field possession drills, like the ones you see in the Arsenal men’s team training videos, for the whole team to gain more confidence in passing in tight areas to teammates between opponents.

I would think Hoffenheim probably do those drills a lot how they were less hesitant to go through central midfield and how surrounding players try to provide immediate outlets to mix in some one-touch passes.

Peter Story Teller

I still believe we have too much distance between our players if we want to play patient possession build up. Just look at how we set up for a goal kick. We have a player on each edge of our box and a CB standing next to the GK. What is the point of that? You have already taken one of your defenders out of the equation as she is covering the same space as the goalie! Because the next pass has to then be half the width of the box it gives enough time for a pacey press that… Read more »

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