After a disappointing 2019/20 season, Arsenal look completely revitalised as they continue to climb the gears in what already looks to be a thrilling Women’s Super League title race.
The Gunners managed to scrape a qualification spot for the Champions League last term, but were ultimately out of contention for any trophies early on.
Since their third-place finish, there has been a poignant changing of the guard, which could be the answer to Arsenal’s rediscovered dominance.
The baton changed hands when Joe Montemurro stepped down from his role before joining Juventus. Jonas Eidevall arrived in North London as his successor and is yet to lose a single game in his maiden WSL season.
The Swede has already made a big impact on the club — orchestrating landmark summer signings including Nikita Parris and Tobin Heath.
But not only has he brought in his own players, he is keeping a happy dressing room with the personnel he inherited from Montemurro.
Shifting the landscape
Katie McCabe recently discussed how the team is adapting to Eidevall’s methods and admitted she is enjoying playing under the former FC Rosengård manager.
“As a whole, Joe Montemurro set the foundations of getting the Arsenal identity back in terms of possession and free-flowing football,” the defender explained. “And ever since Jonas has come in, he’s implemented his style and philosophy where we counter-attack, we press high up the pitch and we’ve added different dimensions to our game.”
Eidevall himself has described his style of play as a “high-paced possession game”, which has certainly clicked well with his new squad.
Arsenal have scored 24 goals in just seven league fixtures already this season, the most in the WSL. They have also conceded the least amount of goals with just three, and sit at the top of the tree, ahead of reigning champions Chelsea.
McCabe has played a huge part in both Arsenal’s attacking and defensive displays this season. As well as her hard work across the backline, the Republic of Ireland captain has popped up with a number of goalscoring contributions.
McCabe boasts three goals and four assists so far — the most of any other defender in the WSL.
Both her and Eidevall scooped the Barclays Player of the Month and Manager of the Month awards for October.
The modern day full-back
In both the men’s and women’s games, it’s become almost customary for full-backs to drive forward and contribute to their team’s attack. This is something McCabe can do with ease. So much so that she discussed the idea of potentially being converted into a winger.
“I don’t mind where I play,” she admitted. “Ultimately, if I’m playing on the wing I’m more than likely tracking back, and if I’m playing at left-back, I’m most likely going forward to try and create some goalscoring opportunities. I’ll play anywhere for the team and give it 100 percent.”
McCabe has established herself as one of Arsenal’s biggest assets under both Montemurro and Eidevall. After signing a new long-term contract extension in the summer, Gooners will seek comfort knowing their Irish talisman will be putting in power shifts for more years to come.
“As a team we’ve improved as a whole,” McCabe reflected on the last few months. “Individually I’m really enjoying it [Eidevall’s system] and it suits me, so I’m happy.”