Arsenal Women coach Jonas Eidevall says he and his team are not dwelling on the absence of Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema through injury. The Ballon D’Or nominees both suffered ACL injuries shortly before Christmas.
Since the turn of the year, Arsenal have struggled for goals in their absence, scoring only two goals in their last four games (and one of those during a period of extra-time following a goalless draw on 90 minutes).
However, the Arsenal manager says he and his team are not spending time ruing their absence, rather they are looking to establish new connections in the final third.
“It’s about not focusing on problems but focusing on possibilities,” Eidevall said in his Friday press conference. “You can’t change certain things and one thing we can’t change is the squad when the transfer window closes. But what you can change is the way we attack together and see these possibilities.
“We see from Sunday (the FA Cup defeat at Chelsea) there are really good things but we also see ways in which we can work together better and get better use of our strengths on the pitch. That’s what we as a team need to utilise and that is what I am thinking about. That is what can make us better in the future.”
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Eidevall went on to explain that he and his squad are working on chance conversion in training after missing some presentable opportunities last weekend but he suggested it would be a mistake to devote all of their preparation time to it.
“In football, the easiest thing to do is to say ‘we have one problem in the last game so now we focus 100% of our time on it.’ I’ll tell you something, if you do that, next time you will have another problem. In football, everything is connected, it is a whole. It is not only about executing, it’s not only about shooting.
“It is still about creating chances, it is still about pressing, it is still about defending and building up. Everything is connected. 80% of our work is about working on that connectivity and all the facets. 20% we can look back and see ‘are we making the most of our situations in the penalty area?
“Are we encouraging players to take chances? Are we making these things a habit? Of course, we can put a little bit more focus on that. But that is the only thing, there have been no big changes in training.”
Eidevall also suggested that his team cannot run the risk of over analysing the game between the teams last weekend, “It (playing one another twice in a week) can make things more difficult too because there is a risk that you think this game will go in exactly the same way as the next one. We will change but they will also change.
“It’s two systems that will adapt towards each other and, as a manager, the most important thing is trying to predict how they will change and adapt so you know what the reality will be on Sunday. I like that challenge and I hope we have focused on the right points.
“It is important to talk about the things we can control. The result is something I very seldom speak about because it is to do with the way we are playing. I don’t go into games thinking ‘we will beat this team’ or ‘this game will be very hard’ because it’s about how we play, how we do things and what level we do them too. That’s the standard we have.
“Every game is new, new players will come in, maybe some players will play who have never played Chelsea before so why would they have a history with them? It’s about the team looking forward.”
Eidevall also went on to rally the Arsenal supporters, who travelled in big numbers to West Ham, Manchester City and Chelsea in recent weeks, ahead of Sunday’s Conti Cup Final against Chelsea at Selhurst Park.
“If I think we were dominant on the pitch, it was the same story off the pitch. Because I could only hear one side and that was ours. Our fans have been phenomenal. They are loud, passionate, they give everything for the team. I feel that, the team feels that.
“We want to do everything to give that back to the fans. I hope they are as loud and they come in large numbers again as always. They are as passionate about the game as we are, so let’s do our best to achieve this together.”