Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Jonas Eidevall happy to lean on experience of Jen Beattie, Jodie Taylor and Kelly Smith

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall says the experience brought into the group by players like Jodie Taylor and Jen Beattie, as well as Kelly Smith who has joined the coaching staff until the end of the season, is invaluable.

Captain and vice-captain Kim Little and Leah Williamson will miss the rest of the season, while experienced players like Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead have also been long-term absentees. Jen Beattie has recently come into the starting line-up while 37-year-old Jodie Taylor was signed as a free agent in March.

Eidevall says it is not only Beattie and Taylor’s qualities as players that are paying off during a crunch part of the season. “I am happy to be more specific about what leadership means in these situations,” Jonas Eidevall told Arseblog News during his pre-Brighton press conference.

“For me, when you have external factors like pressure to get results, you will look at players who might lose focus on what we are going to do as a team. Players with leadership and experience will be able to stick to the game plan and they will often lead by example and by the way they communicate.

“Both Jen and Jodie are great examples of players like that. They have a really clear understanding of what the team needs to do and they understand their own roles within that and they live it 100%. That is so important.”

Club legend Kelly Smith also recently joined the coaching staff and Eidevall says he wants to tap into her experiences as a player and spread those qualities to his squad. “Kelly (Smith) combines everything we want to be. She had this great technique, vision and game intelligence as a footballer. But she also played with her heart on her sleeve in every situation. She embodied as a player everything this team should have the vision to be.

“It is great to have her inside our environment and culture to try to shape that and not having a coach that is just about the tactical or the technical but can have a holistic view and everyone that knows their Arsenal history knows she lived that day in and day out on the pitch.”

The Gunners travel to a revitalised Brighton side on Wednesday evening after a tough 1-0 victory over Leicester on Friday night. Eidevall says his team will have to show the same qualities to beat Brighton that they showed in overcoming the Foxes on Friday.

“I was so happy, I watched Leicester’s games against Liverpool and Reading and I knew it was a totally different Leicester team to the one we played earlier in the season when we played them away. Of course, you start in your mind worrying about coming from the Wolfsburg game on Monday with the application we showed and everything it meant.

“We played an opponent who had really changed so it would have been easy for the players to have expected something else. But I think we prepared really well and sold in the narrative about what kind of team we were playing against and what kind of game it was going to be, players were there mentally and able to execute that.

“That was never an easy task, I am glad that we solved it. But now we have to go onto the next one because tomorrow is the same because it is going to be a really tough game again.”

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Fun Gunner

I’m very happy with Jodie Taylor’s contribution on the pitch, I must say. Exactly the sort of canny, efficient play I was expecting from her.
And yes, Jonas, we would all love the team to be the embodiment of Kelly Smith!
I also agree about the mental flexibility the team has shown. It’s a big part of the reason why we have been able to cope with all the injury absences. Which doesn’t mean, should the injury gods be listening, that we would not like some of our players back.

Tim Stillman

When I watched the Leicester game back, I was amazed at how many throw ins we got out of Leicester deep in their half simply cos Jodie chased the ball down the channels. I mean, I don’t want to pretend this is some kind of world class quality but a) that was what was needed in that game state and b) I wasn’t expecting it from Jodie when we signed her given that she had been clubless for a few months.

Peter Story Teller

Thing is quality players never lose quality. They might get a yard or two slower and have a few more aching muscles after the game but they don’t forget how to play and that quality is extremely important as we head into the final few games with a team, by necesssity, made up of younger and lesser experienced players. This season has already been a huge turning point. If, going into the season someone had told you that we would beat Lyon, beat Chelsea in a cup final and only miss out on a Champions League final due to two… Read more »

Little Cubby

Yes l agree with your sentiments
And to think they did away with their women’s team not so long ago

Little Cubby

So well put 👍


It’s a strange thing that four of the ladies first team have suffered ACL damage – which is generally considered a reasonably uncommon injury in the men’s first team.
One ACL injury is unfortunate, two would be rare but four?
I hope they make a fast and complete recovery.

Tim Stillman

Unfortunately it’s not that rare. Barca and Lyon had three over the last year, Spurs too, Villa had four. In the women’s game it’s a far more common injury.

Little Cubby

The mental strength and determination showed by this squad is nothing less than phenomenal, every single one of them injured or not through all the adversity they’ve still battled on and played their part on or off the pitch. Im so very proud of my club. What a great idea to bring in Jodie Taylor, lve been very impressed by her

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