Impetus’ Johnathan Stack was in Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall‘s media conference for us ahead of the Gunners’ opening WSL game against Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow night (15/9/22).
Above: Jonas Eidevall at this week’s Arsenal media conference. Photo: Arsenal WFC.
After an exceptional summer of women’s football that gripped the nation and ended in Euro’s glory for the Lionesses, the Barclays Women’s Super League returns this weekend.
Starting a week later than planned out of respect due to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the WSL has seen a soar in popularity and ticket sales off the back of England winning UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
At Arsenal, they have sold out of season tickets for the 2022/23 campaign and over 40,000 tickets have already been snapped up for the WSL North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on 24th September.
The Gunners were supposed to get their season underway against Manchester City away at the Academy Stadium in the live TV game, but with all football being postponed last weekend, Arsenal will now get their campaign started at home at a sold-out Meadow Park against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Head Coach Jonas Eidevall gave his thoughts on Friday’s opponents saying: “I’ve been very impressed by Brighton during the pre-season because I also saw that they had a huge turnover (of players). I’ve seen them play against Bayern Munich, I’ve seen them play against us, I’ve seen them play against Manchester City and they looked like a good team in those games.
“I think that some of the players they have got in over this window are of a really high quality, so we are expecting and preparing for a competitive game here on Friday.”
The 39-year-old Swede also gave his thoughts on how the WSL is going to respond to the increased interest after the Euros: “I’m sure that the players will respond in a way that will be excellent because of the quality on the pitch and we see that the sporting product is of high quality.
“We just need to make sure that we now find stadiums that allow all attendances to come in and watch. I think that will be the problem because we have a very low number of medium-sized stadiums in the country.”
“You either have smaller stadiums or really big stadiums and our game that didn’t go ahead against Manchester City is a perfect example of that. We’re two good teams with a lot of interest which is going to be a sell-out in their academy stadium, so the question is: if so many more people want to watch the game, where do we play that? So we really can have all the people who want to come to the game and make sure they have access to it.”
He also gave his thoughts on how the WSL can maintain the levels of interest from the summer “In the end, it’s about creating a product that means so much to people that you go there and you watch the game even if it’s a snowstorm! You go there and watch even if it’s not convenient because you care so much about the team and you want to be there so much. We try to do our best on the pitch to create that.”
“Of course, if I speak just about Arsenal, as a whole club, we try to work together with all the departments so we can reach out to all our potential audiences and bring them to the stadium so we can experience that together. That’s not a quick fix just to do one thing, but it’s about creating that connection with people so they want to go and they feel that they have to go because it’s their first priority and then you don’t have to worry about the weather in January when you have created that.”
When asked about his Matildas pair of Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley, Eidevall confirmed that both are fit and available for selection.
Arsenal take on Brighton and Hove Albion at Meadow Park tomorrow night (Friday), 7:30pm.