Jonas Eidevall: Emirates Stadium ‘should be a very unwelcoming place to come as an away team’ ahead of North London Derby

As Arsenal prepare to seek revenge for the slender defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before the Barclays Women’s Super League winter break, Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall addressed the media at Sobha Realty Training Centre on Friday morning.

Arsenal are expecting to welcome another sell-out crowd through the turnstiles at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, which would mark the first time they have achieved that feat in back-to-back matches. 60,160 fans attended their previous home fixture there against Manchester United, and Eidevall told reporters on Sunday that ‘there are 166 tickets left, so whoever can rush and be lucky to get those last tickets! It’s incredible. It’s great, it’s very much not a one-off. It’s less than twelve months since we sold out the stadium for the first time for the women’s team in the Champions League semifinal and everyone felt what a huge achievement that was.’

The club are keen to develop consistency and sustainability with these sizeable attendances, and Eidevall added that ‘this shows great progress in doing so. We know we all need to play our part in that, and especially us as a team to deliver a performance that matches that great support that we get from the fans and I think we can lift each other to new heights.’

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‘I think [the crowd] is something we can really use as a strength, as a home team and make that our fortress together with our fans and it should be a very unwelcoming place to come as an away team. We need to create that with the way that we are playing, our fans need to create that with their passion and their energy and if we both can do that, I am sure we will give ourselves the best chance of a great performance on Sunday.’

Asked for updates on injuries within the squad, Eidevall detailed the varying situations with individual players – but expressed optimism that Leah Williamson, Victoria Pelova and Katie McCabe are all ‘very much in contention for Sunday.’

For Amanda Ilestedt though, Eidevall told reporters that ‘the game here now on Sunday will come too early,’ but added that ‘she is back with us here now, back with the squad.’

Lina Hürtig remains absent from the squad, with Eidevall explaining that ‘there is not any clarity on it which makes it hard to predict when she will be able to return to play, so potentially she won’t be returning this season but we don’t know.’

The news is just as damning for Viv Miedema, who has ‘required a minor knee surgery and that is going to have her off-pitch for several weeks. We will have an update on that after the surgery and when we see how she is progressing.’

‘She doesn’t need the surgery because of those 45 minutes she played against Spain. She would have needed the surgery anyways for it, so it was nothing that the Dutch team did that complicated this or made the situation worse. It was a situation that needed to be fixed anyways, emphasised Eidevall.

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‘We have a good communication with all the national teams that we work with, but we also have to have a lot of respect for the autonomy in the decision making. The Netherlands were playing some really important games for them, both for a Nations League trophy and maybe more importantly for Olympic qualification.’

Asked to discuss Caitlin Foord’s excessive game time in recent weeks, Eidevall brushed off the idea that she had been overloaded ahead of the international break at Arsenal. ‘I think Caitlin was used in the first game for Australia, I think she played 45 minutes and she played 15 minutes against Manchester United,’ he told reporters.

‘I think if there was any club that was de-loading the player, it was Arsenal. She played more minutes for Australia than we did play her in the last game so that’s sometimes the decision that we need to take as a coach.’

Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on Sunday 3 March, with kickoff at 12:30 GMT.