Impetus’ Johnathan Stack was in Arsenal‘s media conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League opener at defending champions Olympique Lyonnais. Both Caitlin Foord and head coach Jonas Eidevall are expecting the hardest possible challenge, but are looking forward to analysing where they stand in comparison to Europe’s best (19/10/22).
Above: Caitlin Foord (left) and Katie McCabe train at the Groupama Stadium ahead of tonight’s big Champions League game with Olympique Lyonnais. Photo: Arsenal WFC.
Arsenal begin their UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign tonight as they face the defending champions of Europe, Olympique Lyonnais in France.
The Group C opener at Groupama Stadium will be a fascinating encounter because Lyon who beat Barcelona in last year’s final, have several major players missing for this evening’s clash. The likes of Ada Hegerberg, Catarina Macario, Dzsenifer Marozsán, and Matilda Ellie Carpenter to name just a few. The total number of absentees for the Champions of Europe runs into double figures. However, the French masters have options aplenty due to a combination of their strength in depth and strong youth set-up
Despite the French club’s injury list, Arsenal and Australia attacker Caitlin Foord still views Lyon as the ones to beat in the UEFA Women’s Champions League this season.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s game, the New South Wales native gave her thoughts on Lyon saying: “Regardless of whether they have injuries or not, the squad they have is very strong. “The starting eleven that they put out (in their last match) is a world-class team so it is going to be a good challenge for us, I’m excited to play against them. We have a team of world-class players ourselves, so I think it is going to be a really good match.”
The Gunners are not new to facing the champions of Europe in the group stage of the competition as last season they faced the previous defending champions FC Barcelona and lost heavily in both group games. Foord reflected on how the North London side must be ready for their next big challenge.
“We definitely had a lot of learnings from those games, and we have obviously looked at those matches a lot heading into the big games. It purely comes down to us. I think we must be up for the challenge and ready for these games because in the previous games that we have had, we have seen what can happen and we don’t want that to happen again. We want to learn and improve from what went wrong in those games. This game will be a big challenge for us to see how far we have come.”
Head Coach Jonas Eidevall spoke straight after Foord and he gave his views on the challenge his team faces saying: “I think we have a pretty good idea of what kind of opposition we’re gonna play at the top level in Europe, both from playing some of those teams that are in our domestic league but then also from our experience playing Barcelona and Wolfsburg last season.
I still think it’s always a really good opportunity to get that reality check to see where we are at this moment. So I definitely look forward a lot to it. It is always very exciting to see because no matter what, you will know exactly where we are at, what we need to continue to improve on, and what we are already good at. So, I’m really looking forward to seeing where we’re at.”
Arsenal’s game at Olympique Lyonnais is live on DAZN with kickoff at 8pm. Impetus’ Jean-Pierre Thiesset will be pitchside at the Groupama Stadium, his photo gallery will be on the site tomorrow.