Teamwork makes the dream work

Mead backs Arsenal to beat Chelsea in Conti Cup last

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Beth Mead has mentioned she believes Arsenal can bounce again from their defeat to Chelsea within the Ladies’s Tremendous League (WSL) earlier within the month and retain the Conti Cup once they face the identical opponents within the last on Sunday.

The 2 groups have one of many longest-running rivalries in ladies’s soccer and their assembly at Molineux is a repeat of final yr’s Conti Cup last, by which Arsenal strode to a 3-1 victory over Emma Hayes’ facet at Selhurst Park.

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Within the league, Arsenal handed Chelsea their largest league loss in 5 years in December with an emphatic 4-1 victory on the Emirates Stadium. Nevertheless, Chelsea outclassed the North London facet within the return fixture to win 3-1.

“We have each punished one another this season,” Mead mentioned forward of the ultimate. “We did it within the dwelling, like they did it of their dwelling leg, and possibly each groups did not fairly flip up.

“It’ll be a recreation of which group turns up greatest, which techniques come off greatest for every group. As a group and people, it’s on us to get that proper however as effectively, the managers will attempt to outsmart one another, they usually have each carried out that in opposition to one another this season.”

The Conti Cup represents Arsenal’s final likelihood to clinch a trophy this season after being knocked out of the Champions League in September and the FA Cup final month. Their hopes for the title are additionally on skinny ice — Jonas Eidevall’s facet are six factors adrift of leaders Chelsea and second-place Manchester Metropolis, who’re stage on factors.

In the meantime, Chelsea stay on monitor for a home treble and are by to the semifinal of the Champions League after defeating Ajax 4-1 on mixture within the quarterfinal.

With this being Hayes’ final season at Stamford Bridge earlier than taking on her new position as supervisor of the USWNT, Mead believes it is going to be a extremely contested match-up.

“The [final] goes to be extensive open,” Mead continued. “I believe whilst a participant, you again your self and also you again your group. However finally, it is a group that will get it tactically proper and turns up on the day.

“We’re very dissatisfied with [the loss to Chelsea]. However trying ahead to the Conti Cup, we have got quite a lot of learnings to take into that recreation, and hopefully we will use them to our benefit. We are attempting to be taught from the method and holding ourselves accountable and we have to ensure that would not occur once more.”

Mead suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage in November 2022, leaving her sidelined for 11 months. After claiming the Golden Boot throughout England’s win on the 2022 Euros, she was dominated out of the 2023 World Cup in Australia, the place the Lionesses reached the ultimate.

The 28-year-old, who missed a majority of final season as she rehabbed her damage, did not characteristic in final yr’s last the place Arsenal claimed their first piece of silverware for the reason that WSL title in 2019 and first trophy below Eidevall.

She marked her comeback in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory in opposition to Aston Villa in Oct. 2023. Nevertheless, the 28-year-old acknowledged that not being a part of Arsenal’s on-field triumphs final season has fueled her willpower to complete the yr on a excessive be aware.

Regardless of initially displaying promise by turning out key outcomes in opposition to their high rivals Chelsea, Man Metropolis, and Manchester United, Eidevall’s facet have struggled to keep up momentum, leading to a uneven season marked by dips in kind and inconsistent performances.

“There’s quite a lot of causes and elements in soccer as to why issues do not work,” Mead mentioned. “I believe firstly, as people and a group, we have all the time held ourselves accountable, and we wish to be the very best model of ourselves. And that is not all the time the case; it isn’t all the time that simple. System modifications, personnel modifications — it is all elements which are laborious.

“I continuously attempt to converse in conferences and say that we must be higher at bringing every of our strengths out on the pitch, nevertheless it’s more and more altering. You’ve got tried to get a rhythm on one particular person, then it modifications, and this and one other participant comes again. It is harder than simply being on the pitch and it simply clicking like that.

“We have a bunch of wonderful gamers that may do wonderful issues on the pitch, nevertheless it’s now knitting all of it collectively. I believe at instances this season we in all probability struggled with that. We have to discover a good stability and be extra constant in modifications of system and personnel and attempt to click on it collectively a bit faster.”