Arsenal Women

Jonas Eidevall wants Arsenal to play against boys' academy to prepare for Champions League

Ali Rampling
Eidevall hopes his Arsenal side can test themselves against the Arsenal boys' academy to better prepare them for tough Champions League opponents
Eidevall hopes his Arsenal side can test themselves against the Arsenal boys' academy to better prepare them for tough Champions League opponents / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Jonas Eidevall hopes his side can train against Arsenal boys' academy teams next season to better prepare them for tough Champions League fixtures.

Playing against male academy sides is not unusual among top clubs in the women's game. It has been highlighted as one of factors in Barcelona's recent success, and the imperious USWNT have long since tested themselves against similar opposition.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals this term, having suffered heavy defeats to European champions Barcelona in the group stages.

Eidevall plans to coordinate with the Gunners' Under-15 and Under-16 on the men's side to provide his team with the kind of physical test they are not frequently exposed to domestically so that they are over prepared when they come up against European football's elite.

"We need to improve playing against man-marking, we saw that very clearly in Europe," Eidevall explained. "We need to have a good co-operation with our academy on the boys' side and involve them in our practices and internal games so we can play against something that is more physical and faster than we would ever play against in the Champions League in order to set the benchmark.

"That is an astonishing opportunity that I think most football teams around the world would do everything in order to do. Can we make our training harder than the games? If we are successful in training there, then we will for sure be successful in games as well and the games will even feel like we have a little more time and a little easier."

Eidevall confirmed that this would likely involve a discussion with Per Mertesacker, Arsenal's academy manager, with the ideal age group to play against in terms of physicality being the Under-15 or Under-16 teams.

"We'd speak to Per Mertesacker - in my experience it would be Under-15, Under-16," he said. "Usually a good age group where the physicality hasn't grown so much on all the players and they are a little bit faster than our players but not impossible to play against."

facebooktwitterreddit