Since returning from the Asia Cup in February, Caitlin Foord has, arguably, been Arsenal’s form player.
Her ability to play as a left-forward and a centre-forward, as well as her willingness to be direct and drive at full-backs have made her a key component to Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal team.
Foord formed part of the Australia squad that took part in the Asia Cup in January. The tournament started in the middle of the month, meaning that, technically, she was available for the early January defeat at Birmingham.
However, Jonas Eidevall took the decision to allow his three Australia players to miss the Birmingham game and then join up with Australia in mid-January, allowing them extra time with their families over the Christmas break. Most of the players had not been home properly due to the pandemic in almost two years.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League game in Lyon tonight, Foord told Arseblog News that that period at home was a big factor in her current form.
“It was a big refresher for me to be able to go home and see my family. It re-energised me. It also made me really excited to go and play in the Asia Cup.
“And then off the back of that, I was so excited to come back and play for Arsenal and just contribute in any way that I could.
“I started to feel like I was doing that and once you feel like that, you want to keep doing it. I wanted to help push the team forward and they helped to push me as well.”
— Sir Caitlin Australia Fan (@skybluefcs) October 18, 2022
The Gunners take on current UWCL holders and eight-time competition winners Lyon in France tonight and Foord is only too aware of the challenge Arsenal face but it is a challenge her and the team relish, despite the fact that Lyon are currently enduring a lengthy injury list.
“Yes, I definitely think so (that Lyon are the benchmark) regardless of their injuries you see how strong their squad is, you see the starting eleven they put out on Sunday and it’s a world class team.
“It’s going to be a big challenge and we’re really excited to play against them. We have a team of world-class players as well so it’s going to be a great match. It’s our biggest challenge yet. Their trophy cabinet tells you everything.”
Arsenal also drew the holders in last season’s competition, with Barcelona winning 4-1 and 4-0 in the group stage matches against Jonas Eidevall’s team last season.
“We had a lot of big learnings from those games, we have to be up for this challenge. Those games we had last season showed us where we need to improve and learn because we don’t want that to happen again. This game will show us how far we’ve come.
“Every game in the Champions League is tough and Lyon have won it enough times to know what it’s all about. It’s a good game for us, the earlier the better, we want to continue our league form, this game is huge for us to build to where we want to be.”