Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall has described Laura Wienroither’s ACL injury as “a tragedy.” The Austrian ruptured her ACL during the 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg on Monday, becoming the fourth Arsenal player to suffer this injury this season. Eidevall said the club will continue an ongoing process of internal reflection on the injuries, which are a long standing feature across women’s football.
“It is a tragedy for the player and for us as a team, we are very disappointed and sad. It doesn’t change the way that we were looking at that situation, we need to continue to do that and as always look at things we can improve on for the future but also to give Laura the best possible medical care to Laura so she can return as safely and as quickly as possible. Our medical team does a fantastic job with that.”
Laura Wienroither suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament at Emirates Stadium on Monday evening.
We're all thinking of you, Laura ❤️
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) May 4, 2023
Eidevall said that the injury, which has always been rife across women’s football for a long time, is likely to be down to a number of factors, internal and external. “I am afraid there is not one single answer, it is multi-faceted. We need to look at the complete picture and see which factors we can control. What we can learn and what we can do better. We need to look at that internally to see what we can do better in the future.
“Some parts are internal and things we can control, then there are things we need external co-operation with. For example, the playing schedule or the co-operation between clubs and national teams or how and when competitions are played and how the international match calendar is done. That requires governing bodies, clubs and national teams working together.
“There are bits that I think clubs can solve internally but there are a lot of things that require the whole world of football to co-operate, we need to do both. We have done that the last three years, I think I said to Tim before that this is an ongoing process where we continually audit our injuries and benchmark that, how many injuries and what type of injuries compared to match hours and training hours and so on. Of course, to learn from that, to see how we are performing compared to our competitors. None of that changes, we continue to do that and that reflection will make us better for the future.”
If Arsenal were to finish third in the WSL this season (they are currently fourth), they would enter a Champions League qualifying round 16 days after this summer’s World Cup Final. Eidevall says this illustrates issues with the women’s calendar.
“That shows how bad the calendar is. We want to try to finish as high as possible in the table, we want to try to go into the Champions League and we need to do whatever necessary to get there.
“But it highlights a very important issue, if you want to protect players and you want to have importance for the World Cup and the Champions League, but it is impossible for the clubs who are going to play in that playoff round.
“I think there are also qualifying rounds that happen during the World Cup. It really highlights the issues with the calendar, where really important stakeholders like UEFA and FIFA can’t schedule tournaments better to allow players time off.
“It is very evident from this summer that this World Cup (which starts in late July) should have been played earlier. It is evident. That would have meant the players could finish the season, have some time off, prepare for the World Cup without so much time off they lose their fitness, they play the World Cup, then there is a gap so they have time off again and then we can start the Champions League qualifiers and the league openers.
“But they didn’t get it right, hopefully in the future they can do it better.”