Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall says his team needs to get better at appreciating Nikita Parris’ off the ball movement. Since signing from Lyon in the summer, Parris scored twice in Champions League qualifiers over the summer and against Koge in the Champions League group stage and bagged a goal against Tottenham in the FA Cup.
She has not scored since and is still yet to score in the WSL for the club. Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Liverpool in the FA Cup, Arseblog News asked Eidevall why he thinks she has not been as prolific at Arsenal as she was at Lyon and Manchester City.
“One aspect to always credit Nikita with is that she is incredibly hard-working,” he explained. “She provides a really, really good defensive solidity when she plays. You can see that at club and international level.
“Nikita is a brilliant off-the-ball player, one thing that has been troubling me a bit is that we have not been able to use that better as a team. We are still in the process of other players learning how Nikita is moving off the ball.
“She obviously needs to perfect those moments within how the other players play as well. There are so many times when you see the game from a tactical point of view that she has really good ideas.”
Eidevall went on to explain that space has been at a premium for Parris and her and the team need to perfect their understanding of how and when to open that space for her.
“It’s about finding the triggers for it within our system, so when does the space open up for her to run in behind? What action proceeds that, so everyone has a collective understanding of it.
“I am so confident that once we get that right, Keets will naturally produce a lot of goals and assists. That is what you saw at City and at Lyon, she is an excellent off-the-ball player, she is excellent at making runs in behind.
“But other players need to see when that run happens and the space needs to open up as well to be able to exploit it. I see her more as a second runner than a first runner.
“Some players will do the first run and either get the ball or create space, the strong point for Keets is to exploit space so someone else needs to open up that space first.”
Eidevall also confirmed to Arseblog News that centre-back Lotte Wubben-Moy won’t be available for Sunday’s trip to Liverpool after pulling out of the England squad with a muscle injury but he doesn’t believe her absence will extend beyond this game.
“I think the game on Sunday will come a little bit too early for Lotte. We could maybe push it but it would be a risk so I am not counting her in for Sunday. All the rest of the players should be available.”