After last season’s top-five results, neither Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal or Carla Ward’s Aston Villa would have expected to see themselves in a relegation zone face-off against the other. Luckily for both, it’s three games into the season and no wins so far is not fatal for either teams’ outlook come next spring.
Instead, Eidevall is full of praise for how competitive the Barclays Women’s Super League is becoming. Having only known Aston Villa since the Villans’ jump to the top flight, he’s watched them come a long way in a short time – he hopes the same good, quick growth can be replicated up and down the league table to see the WSL be ‘the best in the world’ soon.
Speaking plainly but potently ahead of their Emirates home match against Ward’s side, Eidevall pulled no punches on where the other team may have weaknesses, too. When they faced off in ‘an odd game’ in May at Arsenal’s smaller Meadow Park home, the Gunners seemed ‘totally defeated’ – Villa were good, but Arsenal’s energy was not what it is now, Eidevall asserts.Embed from Getty Images
They’ve taken the requisite lessons from that match, though both teams have shaken things up a bit. New signings in both camps may bring another kind of different energy, but while Arsenal are hoping to see a key player in Beth Mead return from injury for the match, Villa may be without some of their midfield assets.
Eidevall isn’t complacent and understands that without all of their midfielders available, Villa can shift to a double pivot. With Ward’s team growing in off-the-ball security, Eidevall thinks they’re as strong as last season and hopes for an exciting game.
A packed-out Emirates is sure to contribute to that, and the pressure of two top teams fighting to stay off the bottom will hopefully add the dynamism Eidevall desires to drive his team forwards.