Arsenal will be without first-choice centre-half pairing Leah Williamson and Rafaelle for “several weeks” according to Jonas Eidevall. Rafaelle fractured her metatarsal during the 1-0 win over Ajax last month.
Williamson was injured in training on international duty and remains in a protective boot. Arseblog News asked Jonas Eidevall whether there was a more definite timeframe available for the return of both players.
“We expect it to be several weeks unfortunately, but we have to wait for further assessment by consultants before we can put a more exact timeframe on it. At the moment we don’t think surgery is needed on either.”
Jonas also said that Leah had “no chance” of playing in the November internationals for England. Last season, Williamson’s absence coincided with a poor run of results, with the Gunners losing five of the eight games that she missed.
On that occasion, that included games against Barcelona, Chelsea and Hoffenheim but with UWCL games against Lyon and Juventus on the horizon the schedule is no less demanding on this occasion.
Leah Williamson: 'We don't want anyone feeling it's not their game'
Over the past few weeks I’ve been speaking to people about the lack of diversity in women’s football. Grateful to have had some honest and refreshing conversations ⬇️ https://t.co/aBxvf8IXnk
— Miriam Walker-Khan (@mimwalkerkhan) October 13, 2022
Arseblog News asked Jonas Eidevall what he learned from that period last winter and how it might inform his approach this time around.
“What is really important is that we treat every game 100%. We have team values that we want to live and one of those is to be 100% and to be fearless and we want to put the team first. None of that changes if we have one, two, three, four injuries or because we have unavailable players.
“Then it’s about finding the best way together as a team and that might change with the personnel we have available. That doesn’t mean we can play exactly the same way as we can when all of our players are available.
“They have different strengths and different weaknesses. If I learned something from that period last season is is that when we are playing with different players, we might need to tweak some of our priorities in order to be smart to play into player’s strengths and not their weaknesses.”
The Gunners play away at Reading in the WSL on Sunday evening at 6.45pm, with the game live on Sky Sports in the UK. They then travel to Lyon for their UWCL opener on Wednesday evening. That game will be shown live and free on DAZN’s YouTube channel.