Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall believes that West Ham United are something of a sleeping giant in the Women’s Super League, ahead of his side’s game against the Irons on Sunday afternoon.
West Ham sit second from bottom in the table after picking up a crucial victory against Bristol City, who are now three points behind Rehane Skinner’s side at the base of the WSL.
Eidevall believes that the league table is perhaps not representative of West Ham’s performances. “I have a lot of respect for West Ham as an opponent,” said the Swede.
“I think you can see the league table and see two different things. One is the points and the goal difference and that paints one picture, but remember we’ve only played 12 games, which is more than half in the WSL but if you compare that to another league where you would play 38 to 46 games, it’s not a lot of games in a low-scoring sport like football.
“And West Ham from an xG [expected goals] perspective is number five ranked team in this league. So I think that’s the team that has massively underperformed for points compared to their performances so far this season. For me, West Ham’s performances in a lot of games have been really strong, and they made a really strong transfer window as well.”
West Ham fans can argue that their January transfer window was as impressive as any rival side. Established internationals Katrina Gorry and Kristie Mewis, as well as Swedish midfielder Marika Bergman, all signed for the Irons. Shelina Zadorsky, capped nearly 100 times by Canada, joined on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
“Of course their process is going to be quick here now and they’re going to work with their relationships and they’re probably going to evolve their way of playing,” Eidevall said on West Ham’s incomings.
“They remind me a lot of how they looked in their first season when I was here, when Oli Harder was the coach. They play a very similar type of football, both from a style and formation perspective. They have a lot of players that are well suited in doing that.
“I think people say that maybe they had a more quiet transfer window in the summer, but I think they brought in some really high quality players, like Ueki for example, the nine, is a really really good nine. This window here, bringing in players like Gorry and Kristie Mewis who have had tremendously good international careers as well.
“They’re a really strong team, they have a strong squad and like I said, the only thing that is missed for them is that they haven’t really got rewarded for their performances in points, but as a team you see they keep on going, they keep on believing and that’s usually a very good sign, for them.”
Arsenal will have the same squad available from last weekend’s 2-0 win over Liverpool, with the exception of Katie McCabe, who is suspended after receiving a fifth yellow card of the season.
“Of course, I think she’s had a really strong season for us, but we have a strong squad,” said Eidevall. “We have a lot of very capable players, so we focus on what we have available.”
West Ham confirmed that Sunday’s match at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, home of Dagenham & Redbridge FC, has sold out. Arsenal were allocated 1,450 tickets by the home side.