Friday, April 12, 2024

‘We keep on working to find the best formula’ Jonas Eidevall on finding new chemistry in attack

When Arsenal lost Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema to ACL injuries in November and December, they didn’t just lose their two most productive attackers, they lost two players who have started over 90% of their games over the last five years.

With that, has been a loss of chemistry in the front four, as well as the face value loss of two Ballon D’Or nominees. Miedema’s position has been resolutely covered by Frida Maanum, who has started all but one game (in which she was rested against fourth tier opposition) in Miedema’s number 10 role.

The right-sided forward role held by Beth Mead has operated on a timeshare basis, however. Katie McCabe, Lina Hurtig, Caitlin Foord, Victoria Pelova and Katherine Kuhl have all played there in recent weeks as Jonas Eidevall searches for a solution on the right wing.

Arseblog News asked Jonas Eidevall whether he wanted one of his forwards to really stake a claim to the role or whether he was happy to continue to adopt a ‘horses for courses’ approach.

“We have players that are capable of playing on the right hand side, it’s more to see how we get the best out of the team. You have seen all the Arsenal games under my management and, for me, the connection between the full-back and the wide forward is very important.

“For me, it is about getting that co-operation. It changes a lot when we don’t have Beth because she is such a dominant one v one player, so a lot of times it was better to leave her alone so she would have more space to use that.

“Now, the players we have, it is not as much one v one players so it’s going to be more combination players and we need to think more about the personnel and positioning behind to see which relationships will be the best. We keep on working to find the best formula.”

On that subject, Lia Wälti will probably return to the starting line-up at Chelsea in the FA Cup this weekend. The Swiss was not fit enough to start the recent WSL defeat at Manchester City where Arsenal lined up with a back three, though she came on at half-time and Arsenal switched to a back four.

Arseblog News asked Eidevall whether his decision to start with a back three was influenced by Wälti’s absence. “It’s a good question but maybe it’s a bit too revealing for me to answer!

“Football is never only like a chessboard, the formation itself is pointless if you don’t have the right players for it. It’s about the combinations to see what makes sense from a positional perspective.

“And even more importantly, from a relationship perspective between the players we have so they can perform their roles and responsibilities in the best possible way.

“What can be the best formation can change depending on the players you have available, definitely.”

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