It’s no longer an experiment but a wonderful winning formula found by Jonas Eidevall, instead.
I want to give credit where due, because the Swedish coach turned it around beautifully since the turn of the year and it shows, week after week.
The new setup and the different roles, coupled with the smart January recruitment, has made this team more fluid, more aggressive and more threatening, without sacrificing the balance or stability, which is a very big win for Jonas Eidevall. The former Rosengård coach found a way to reinvent himself and the team after a very sluggish period, reminding everyone why he is so highly-rated and how strong this team can be.
At some point, between December last year and the early days of 2022, the players and the coach seemed to have lost their way after a sensational first half of the season: attacking indicators were going down, the defensive ones start to look worrying, some players looked a bit frustrated and questions were asked whether our scintillating form between August and October was a fluke.
Last night’s impressive win at Brighton is the fourth on the trot in all competitions and stretches our unbeaten run to nine games, during which the team scored twenty goals and conceded only five – numbers that are very comparable to those we were able to produce at the beginning of the current campaign. We know it wasn’t a fluke, then: our four-games winless streak between December, 15th and January, 23rd was.
There were a lot of positives from our dominant performance, mostly the same ones that I highlighted from our previous wins: the quick counter-pressing, the fast start, the fluidity in our setup when not in possession and the importance of Lia Wälti in our build-up play, even more evident at Brighton with Rafaelle not in the squad. I feel like I repeat myself a lot recently, which could be interpreted as a confirmation of the team’s progresses in absorbing Jonas Eidevall’s ideas and transpose them to the pitch.
The plan, with its little twists and tweaks depending on the opponent, is working very well and it is being implemented very smoothly, a very positive indicator of its reproducibility and repeatability. Any process that has a potential for efficiency and sustainability must be repeatable and Jonas Eidevall’s definitely is, today.
Lia Wälti obviously wasn’t the only standout player last night, with Stina Blackstenius bullying the Brighton defenders’ all night long and Caitlin Foord delivering another excellent performance.
The former Häcken forward scored a brace and combined very well both with Vivianne Miedema and the wide forwards, often creating spaces for her teammates to dart into the box and test the excellent Walsh, while the Australian showed once again to be one of the most in-form players of this team and delivered two beautiful assists for Stina Blackstenius, showing great awareness and selfness.
Caitlin Foord has been in great form ever since coming back from the Asia Cup and could become an invaluable asset for the second half of the campaign. Her movement and ability to both provide and finish make her very difficult to mark for any opponent but her strongest point seems to be her ability to play on either flank, which adds flexibility and unpredictability to the team’s attacking movement and offers more options to Jonas Eidevall, both to setup his initial XI or change the formation during the game.
Our race goes on then, next stop is going to be the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium: by then, Chelsea will have played against Everton away and Tottenham at home, catching up on the games in hand they have. By the first kick of our home games against our neighbours, will we know whether or not Chelsea were able to leapfrog us or, fingers crossed, if the title is very much into our own hands.
Before that, though, we have the FA Cup quarter-finals against Coventry at home and a very difficult away game at Wolfsburg, in the Champions League.
One step at a time, Gooners. The race is on! We’ll talk again next week.
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.