Jonas Eidevall has explained that Arsenal must start building from the basics in order for the team to cope with the long-term absence of Beth Mead.
The Arsenal forward has been instrumental for club and country after enjoying a stunning 2022, but is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering what was later found to be an ACL tear in the WSL clash with Manchester United on Saturday night.
Mead is one of a number of key first team players currently out injured for the Gunners, alongside captain Kim Little and first choice centre back pairing Rafaelle and Leah Williamson.
Injuries around this time last year had a detrimental impact on Arsenal’s 2021/22 campaign, and Eidevall has said previously that the lessons he learnt from this injury hit period was to be prepared to make small tweaks to how his side play according to the personnel available – and he reinforced the importance of adapting depending on the individuals he selects.
“One of my biggest reflections from the Manchester United game was that; when you change players, you are not only changing one player, you are basically putting a new team out there,” the Arsenal boss explained.
“And that means everything you now do has to start from the basics. And you can’t take for granted that just because we did something three weeks ago that that will automatically happen again. So that’s where we need to work with and don’t forget the basics so we’re building block by block and don’t think that we can build on something we had five weeks ago.
“I think I made a mistake before the United game with that, even if time was short. Now we’ve put that right here for the Juventus game.”
Mead is one of numerous high profile players in the women’s game currently sidelined with a long-term injury, with many of these players – including Alexia Putellas, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Catarina Macario – also suffering an ACL tear.
WSL rivals Chelsea recently lost Pernille Harder for a ‘significant period’ due to a hamstring injury, and Emma Hayes was critical of the relentless footballing schedule and the impact this has on player welfare. Manchester United boss Marc Skinner has spoken about the need to protect players and Eidevall also noted the congested international football calendar when discussing Mead’s injury.
“Player loading and fatigue is obviously something that we constantly monitor and are concerned about so if that would have been a factor that would have been obvious for us leading up to this game then we wouldn’t have played her,” Eidevall added.
“But then it still can happen which makes it difficult of course. When you see the amount of injuries – yes, I think the schedule of games, especially for players playing tournaments, it doesn’t help with the injury situation.”