By Sumaiya Vawda

Over a month because the Arsenal Ladies ended their WSL marketing campaign, the ache of the ultimate day has subsided, contract uncertainty has cleared, and objectivity reigns. So let’s (lastly) get right into a complete evaluation of the 2021/22 season.

The instances are a-changin’

The arrival of Jonas Eidevall marked a brand new starting within the staff’s storied historical past. Whereas the Swede has maintained the significance of possession, tactically, he launched larger emphasis on counter-pressing and extra selection in assault than his predecessor. The statistics present that the facet tried fewer passes per 90 in comparison with the 20/21 season whereas enhancing their pressures per 90 and crosses per 90.

Head begin

Notable incomings of Nikita Parris, Frida Maanum, Mana Iwabuchi and Tobin Heath stirred pleasure for the brand new marketing campaign. Arsenal performed 5 Champions League qualifiers in August, which ensured they have been fired up and able to blaze Chelsea within the season’s opener. A considerably improved report in opposition to the massive sides within the division (together with a 5-0 romp of Man City) helped the Gunners keep high of the pile for big swathes of the season.

The right storm

In January, accidents and the appearance of the Ladies’s Asia Cup led to a barely altered XI going through Birmingham City. The house staff scored early, and a panicked defensive exhibiting handed Arsenal their only defeat of the season. The end result was adopted by extra rattled performances within the Champions League as any defensive mixture with out Leah Williamson struggled.

The shock defeat to a now relegated Birmingham could also be seen because the flashpoint of the season. Even a attract that fixture would’ve re-routed the title to North London. An earlier draw within the North London derby, the place Arsenal hit the submit thrice, was additionally significantly disappointing and handed the impetus to Chelsea on the high of the desk.

Fairly good however not fairly

Stina Blackstenius arrived at Meadow Park throughout the mid-season transfer window. This noticed a marked change in play from Eidevall’s facet as Vivianne Miedema dropped into the quantity 10 position, and Blackstenius grew to become the point of interest up entrance. Miedema’s technical high quality, coupled with Blackstenius attacking the penalty space, proved a fruitful mixture within the latter levels of the marketing campaign.

Twenty-five minutes into the ultimate fixture, perception started to simmer that the WSL title could don red and white ribbons in any case. Nonetheless, Chelsea prevailed over Man United and Arsenal have been left second by one point- so shut, however no cigar.

Cup performances have been largely underwhelming, and Eidevall has admitted that additional physicality and endurance are wanted to essentially compete in opposition to the very best in Europe.

The only approach is up

On the finish of the 20/21 season, Arsenal have been 9 factors off the leaders; thus, the narrowing of the hole is clear progress. Player of the season, Beth Mead, registered 14 targets and 19 assists in all competitions in a season the place she may do no improper for club and nation. Kim Little stays as elusive as ever, whereas January arrivals Blackstenius and Rafaelle Souza offered an thrilling glimpse of what they may provide subsequent season.

Jonas Eidevall’s first season in cost didn’t yield a trophy however was seen worthy of a contract renewal. In a stunning twist, 25-year-old Miedema has dedicated herself to Arsenal for at the very least one other season. That is a reasonably resounding endorsement of the progress made and a coup for the club to retain her providers. Key performers Caitlin Foord, Noelle Maritz and Steph Catley, have additionally been tied to new offers. A settled core together with high quality additions will maintain the squad in good stead for the longer term. A number of video games on the Emirates is an exhilarating upcoming prospect for followers. Here is to the subsequent!

Author: Londonlad

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