Top of the Women’s Super League but a club in reverse

If it’s potential for a group to be in a hunch whereas at the identical time being 4 factors clear at the prime of the desk, Arsenal reside via that contradiction at the second following an uncharacteristic run that has seen them lose 5 of their previous six matches in all competitions.The north London club stay in pole place to win their first Women’s Super League title since 2019, but you would not have guessed it if you happen to watched their poor displaying in December’s 3-0 FA Cup closing loss in opposition to Chelsea, nor in their repeatedly off-colour performances since then.They suffered what midfielder Kim Little labelled “an trustworthy slap in the face” when humbled by Barcelona in December, earlier than additional defeats in opposition to Hoffenheim, Birmingham and now Manchester United in the League Cup. Yet this was a group that received their opening six WSL matches of the season and had been unbeaten in their first 9 league video games, which begs the query: What has gone mistaken for Jonas Eidevall’s group this winter, and why?
Why have Arsenal’s targets dried up?
Arsenal are the WSL’s prime scorers, but in their two home video games with out scoring since Christmas, they’ve struggled to create clear-cut probabilities, which is at odds with the free-scoring streak at the begin of the season.In January ninth’s shock 2-0 defeat away in opposition to relegation-threatened Birmingham City, the north Londoners produced simply two photographs heading in the right direction. England ahead Beth Mead, who was in electrifying kind earlier in the marketing campaign, has not scored for her club since November, whereas Holland star Vivianne Miedema has netted simply as soon as in her previous 5 video games.Miedema, the WSL’s all-time report scorer, is out of contract at the finish of the season, and though she is known to haven’t but dominated out staying at Arsenal, she is needed by many of the world’s largest ladies’s groups together with French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Champions League winners Barcelona, and the 25-year-old has not appeared herself in latest video games.
Did accidents unravel Arsenal’s kind?
However, Arsenal’s downturn in kind additionally coincided with the unlucky absence of their talismanic central defender Leah Williamson, who suffered a extreme hamstring harm in November and was not capable of make her return till Wednesday, when she got here on as a late substitute in opposition to Manchester United.The setback noticed one of the club’s most influential figures dominated out for December’s cup closing at Wembley and Arsenal’s subsequent Champions League defeats in opposition to Barcelona and Hoffenheim. As properly as being a chief at the again, together with her expansive vary of passing and clever diagonal balls, Williamson’s attacking contributions as a ball-playing centre-half are key to Eidevall’s desired type.Double World Cup-winning United States ahead Tobin Heath has additionally missed a important spell via what has been described as a “niggling” muscle harm, but the 33-year-old additionally returned to motion from the bench on Wednesday for the first time in greater than two months, to present Arsenal followers hope.
But they’re now with out 4 vital gamers as a result of of the ongoing Women’s Asia Cup, in which Australia trio Caitlin Foord, Lydia Williams and Steph Catley, plus Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi, are all concerned.

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