Arsenal: What has changed for Women’s Super League leaders?

Arsenal: What has changed for Women’s Super League leaders?

by Emily Smith
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Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall is the first to admit his approach to the season is “very boring” in some ways.

A meticulous manager, he seems focused on the smallest details, building game by game through what he hopes will be a winning campaign for the Gunners.

But the results of his efforts are not sending anyone to sleep any time soon.

Arsenal maintained their perfect start to the Women’s Super League with an entertaining 3-0 win against Everton on Sunday; Frida Maanum’s stunner from 25 yards was perhaps one of the goals of the season so far.

The north London side lead the league after five wins from five, and are three points clear of Chelsea, the 2020 and 2021 champions.

But Eidevall will not look ahead to a possible first league title for Arsenal since 2019, keeping himself firmly in the here and now.

“It’s always game by game,” he said on The Women’s Football Show.

“I’m very boring in that aspect. The only thing we can control is the next opponent, so it makes sense to put all your focus there.”

‘I thought I’d signed her!’ – How Maanum stung Everton twiceArsenal maintain perfect start by beating EvertonAlthough he may think his approach to the season behind the scenes is dull, the Swede is determined to see Arsenal turn on the style on the pitch.

“I would say getting results without good football is boring and playing good football without results is pointless,” he said.

“We are happy to be able to do both.”

‘Aggressive and unpredictable’ ArsenalArsenal have definitely been doing both.

With a more direct style of play this season, they have scored 19 goals and conceded just two in the WSL so far.

“He’s trying to get them more aggressive on the front foot, making their play unpredictable at times,” former Arsenal captain Kelly Smith told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily.

“It’s certainly working. He’s brought a new energy and a new buzz to this team. He loves his team and his players. The players love him.”

That gameplan has only come up against one obstacle so far: Barcelona in the Champions League group stage.

Forced to defend rather than play on the front foot, Arsenal struggled against the Spanish side and fell to a 4-1 defeat.

Eidevall’s response to this is to double down on his aggressive strategy, with the side back in Champions League action against Hoffenheim on Thursday.

“It’s hard to defend against Barcelona but the more you have to defend, the harder it is,” he explained.

“We have to be better with the ball so that we don’t spend so long defending.”

‘Arsenal have to be at the top of every game they play’ – SmithRegardless of what happens in Europe, Smith believes the domestic league is Arsenal’s to lose.

The WSL’s first champions in 2011, Arsenal retained the title in 2012 but then had to wait seven years to be crowned again. Now they are looking to break the dominance of a Chelsea side who have won the title in four of the past six seasons.

Eidevall fell to his knees in celebration as Arsenal held on for a 3-2 victory against the defending champions in their opening match of the season.

Eidevall did not hold back in his celebrations after Arsenal’s win against ChelseaThe Gunners’ trip to Kingsmeadow on 13 February may yet prove to be the league decider and a lot could depend on how far the teams go in the FA Cup and Champions League.

The WSL now takes a four-week break until 6 November, but both sides will play in last season’s delayed cup semi-finals before then.

“This league is so competitive now,” said Smith.

“Arsenal have to be at the top of every game they play if they’re going to win this title this season.

“I’ve played in a number of Chelsea-Arsenal games. It’s fierce. It could potentially come down to that game.”

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