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Arsenal’s Jonas Eidevall concerned over player workload after Beth Mead injury

Jonas Eidevall (right) with Arsenal’s Beth Mead (Isaac Parkin/PA)
Jonas Eidevall (right) with Arsenal’s Beth Mead (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall believes the heavy fixture schedule could be putting top players at greater risk of injury.

Gunners forward Beth Mead ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United and faces an extended spell on the sidelines.

Mead, named player of the tournament after England’s Euro 2022 triumph and Ballon d’Or runner-up behind Spain’s Alexia Putellas, is the latest in a long list of leading women’s players to suffer a long-term injury.

Eidevall will be without half-a-dozen key players for Thursday’s Champions League group game in Turin against Juventus.

When asked if player fatigue had been a factor in Mead’s setback, Eidevall said: “It’s hard to answer of course because you don’t know all the variables.

“Player loading and fatigue is obviously something we constantly monitor and we’re concerned about it.

“So if that had been a factor, it would have been obvious to us leading up to this game and then we wouldn’t have played her.

“But it can still happen, which makes it so difficult. When you see the amount of injuries, yes I think the schedule of games, especially for players playing in tournaments, it doesn’t help with the injury situation.”

The Gunners’ 14-match winning run in the Women’s Super League was halted by United on Saturday and Eidevall’s side are bidding to bounce back against Juventus.

Former Arsenal coach Joe Montemurro is now in charge of the Turin giants, who sit two points behind the Londoners in the Group C table.

Eidevall added: “They’re a very competitive team. I think Juventus as a club in the Women’s Champions League have shown that consistently over the last few seasons.

“They can compete with any team in Europe and have been doing it very well, so we have a lot of respect for them.

“We understand and we’re fully aware of that. It will take a very good performance from us in order for us to get the result we want.”

Arsenal forward Katie McCabe said Mead, who faces a race to be fit in time for next summer’s World Cup finals, was a “massive loss” for Arsenal.

“For us as a team, she’s going to be a massive loss, but we’ve got a fantastic medical team around the club and they’ll be doing their utmost to try and get her back,” the Republic of Ireland skipper said.

“But yeah, massive loss. We’re devastated for her, but she’s got great support in our team and we’ll be rallying round her for sure.”