When Arsenal Women played Brighton at the weekend, Jonas Eidevall made some changes. One big change was that Beth Mead was in Arsenal Women’s starting XI, for the first time since returning from injury. Beth Mead tore her ACL when Arsenal women lost 3-1 to Manchester United at Emirates, on 19th November 2022. Her injury saw her miss the rest of the 2022–23 season.
Jonas Eidevall thought it was “huge” that Beth Mead made her first WSL start for Arsenal. For the 28-year-old, it’s another step toward getting fully match fit again – made all the more fitting as her first start since her return was exactly one year, to the day, since she sustained her injury, on 19th November 2023.
The Lionesses forward has been getting better and trying to get back to match fitness for the last few months after her surgery last year. She still wasn’t ready to be on the show at the start of the season. She did play again, though, on October 15th, when Arsenal played Villa. In fact, she came on as a late replacement and was very important to Arsenal’s last-second comeback. Arsenal were down 1-0 in that game, but Katie McCabe and Alessia Russo scored two goals in the last few minutes to help them win 2-1. Mead set up Russo’s goal.
Mead then played the last 24 minutes of the 2-1 win over Bristol, 31 minutes of the 2-1 win over Manchester City, and 24 minutes of the 6-2 win over Leicester. Then she made her first WSL start against Brighton, in which she played 64 minutes. In her first WSL start (since her injury) against the Seagulls on Sunday, she narrowly missed scoring as her shot flew just a bit too high. She was then substituted on the 60 minute mark.
“Today I took the decision to take her off with my eyes,” Eidevall said
of Mead’s substitution. “Today was 60 minutes, and next time we’ll see. It’s a huge step in her return to play by starting a game. It gives us a really important tool at this point in the season, when we can see that we have great competition in our forward positions.”
Before her injury, Mead had just completed her best season with Arsenal, scoring 11 goals and assisting with eight others in 2021–22. Lest we forget, she also, in the summer of 2022, was a critical player in the England Lionesses victory in Euro 2022, where she won the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament after she led the goal-scorers charts, scoring six goals, which helped the England women win their first major title.
Nice to be seeing a lot more of our Beth on the pitch Gooners?
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