Following a series of injuries to pivotal players, Arsenal Women switched from their usual 4231 system to a 3223 shape in April. The Gunners have used Lotte Wubben-Moy, Jen Beattie and Rafaelle as three centre-halves in order to cope with the losses of Leah Williamson and Kim Little in particular.
Arsenal used the back three formation in two games against Manchester City in February and switched to it in-game against Gareth Taylor’s team in April. However, after Leah Williamson ruptured her ACL in April, Arsenal have permanently adopted the formation.
Jonas Eidevall revealed that he first started to train the team in that shape back in January after being given an unexpected weekend off due to inclement weather.
“In January we had the Brighton game called off, we had good time between games,” Eidevall explained in his pre-Chelsea press conference. “We used that time to say ‘ok, let’s train a different formation, let’s train in a back three.’
“We weren’t going to use it in the game after but as a group of players we need to understand the principles and why we might want to play with another formation so we can change between games or in games.
“Us investing that time gave us a point where we could change formations much more easily.” The Gunners boss also says that a change of furniture at London Colney has promoted a more collegiate approach between him and his coaching staff.
Joining us as an Assistant Coach…
Welcome to The Arsenal, Lydia Bedford 👋 pic.twitter.com/wwoVdhonzE
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) February 24, 2023
“You need to get other people’s input if you are going to get new ideas,” he explained. “I don’t believe that I am just going to go on a walk alone and generate all these great ideas in my head. When we went to Germany in pre-season at the Adidas training camp, they had a really good setup in the technical office with a good table that everyone could fit around.
“We could sit there and generate training ideas. So when we changed our new building here (at London Colney) we changed the technical office straight away to make it more like the adidas technical room. At that big table, we have generated a lot of great ideas from the whole technical team.
“Listening to everyone’s ideas. A lot of the times it has been the combination of ideas that has been successful. It has not been my original idea but when we start to combine ideas the principles mean together we find good solutions.
“That has been really nice working with a group of people who can have that input and we can have that dialogue. That is new to me, I have not been used to that in football. I have either just been working on my own or with one person. It has been very nice and it is very nice when you build that feeling that you’re in this together.”
Arsenal are away at Chelsea in the WSL on Sunday at 12.30pm and the game is live on BBC Two in the UK.
Interesting! So that’s why the move to a back three was relatively smooth.
Love the big table approach, too.
Why does Jonas have a torch sticking out of his flies?