Jonas Eidevall spoke to the media at Arsenal’s Sobha Realty Training Centre on Friday morning to preview the upcoming Adobe Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round match against Manchester City. After a week that has seen the Conti Cup quarter-final tie against London City Lionesses postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, this will be Arsenal’s first game after last weekend’s disappointing loss at West Ham – and a chance to progress in a tournament that may be their best chance at silverware this season.
Eidevall confirmed that Emily Fox would be meeting with the USA squad for the Gold Cup following this weekend’s fixture, meaning that she will be unavailable for the rearranged fixture against London City Lionesses and the following WSL match against Manchester United.
In more positive news for Arsenal fans, Eidevall confirmed that Leah Williamson has reacted well to the minutes she’s had since returning to the squad and that we are ‘much closer’ to seeing her return full-time to the starting eleven.Embed from Getty Images
Prior to the loss to West Ham, Arsenal’s last defeat in the Barclays Women’s Super League came in their final game before the five-week winter break, and Eidevall was asked if he prefers to go straight into the next game following a defeat.
‘I’m adapable,’ he said. ‘If you have more time then you work with that, if you have less time then you work with that. It’s not about what you prefer, it’s about how you adapt and deal with that situation.’
After Stina Blackstenius’ comments in the week about finding her role in the squad now that she isn’t starting as often as last season, Eidevall spoke on the importance of having a competitive and capable squad.
‘We’ve built our squad for all our competitive games this season, it’s not only 22 league games. We hope to be involved deep in all four competitions, but we went out early in Europe so that shaved off a couple of games for us, but we built the squad to be able to compete to be able to compete in all four competitions. That means that the competition is tough, but it also means that there is a clear reason why you are in this squad, and why we want you in this squad.’
Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Manchester City in November was a game decided by mistakes and Arsenal’s ability to capitalise on them – and Eidevall explained how this may play a factor in his side’s preparation for the cup fixture this weekend.Embed from Getty Images
‘It will be a game decided by small margins. The thing in football is you never know what moments will provide those small margins. That’s what makes it such an intriguing and fascinating game.’
‘If you knew what moments to switch on, it would be easy – but there are hundreds of potential situations that can be game-deciding, and you need to treat each one of them that way, otherwise you aren’t doing the upmost of the things you can control in order to get the result.’
When asked whether his side prefers playing against a side like Manchester City, who seemingly refuse to just sit back and defend, Eidevall was cautious of his opponent’s attacking talent and flexibility.
‘There is not a way where you can play against Manchester City in just a low block because they are a very good crossing team – probably the best crossing team in the world at the moment, so if you allow them to cross the ball too many times against you, they will score. We need to restrict those moments in some way, which means we need to spend more time defending higher up the pitch.’