Maanum hoping to keep her place ahead of Miedema in tonight’s Womens Champions League tie

Will Maanum start over Miedema after WSL & UWCL successes By Michelle

At the beginning of last week, the Norwegian international Frida Maanum might well have been wondering when her next start for Arsenal Women was going to come. The 22-year-old had only managed to get less than one hour on the pitch this season, and even then only starting from the bench.  Then Frida was given a surprise start ahead of Vivianne Miedema prior to last week’s UWCL clash away at Lyon.

Manager Jonas Eidevall´s team selection was justified with a goal from Frida and a player of the match performance in a jaw-dropping 5-1 victory over reigning UECL champions Lyon.

Frida´s performance against Lyon was enough to put her in the starting line-up for Arsenal´s next WSL match away at Liverpool, where she once again added to the score sheet. Frida Maanum believes that squad depth and competition for places can only be a positive as Arsenal´s unrelenting fixture list continues apace across their WSL and UWCL campaigns.

Tonight, Arsenal play their 100th match in the Women’s Champions League, under the spotlights at Emirates Stadium.

Can dominant performances and a pair of goals to her name ensure her place in the starting XI ongoing?  Maanum appeared in all but one of Arsenal´s league fixtures last season but her last start for Arsenal came in the Champions League in the Gunners quarter-final clash away to Wolfsburg in March.

When you’re not playing, you always want to play and when you get the chance, you want to take it! Maanum told Arsenal.com. I just tried to do my best and I felt good in both the Lyon and the Liverpool game.

I think it’s really positive that we have a competitive squad. That’s really, really strengthened our team.

Player´s international hopes are reliant on minutes played at club level. Norway’s new head coach Hege Riise has spoken to Maanum about securing more playing time ahead of the World Cup. The Norwegian national side are hungry for improvement after a disappointing Euro 2022 campaign.  Indeed, after being touted as one of the pre-tournament favourites, they crashed out in the group stage, in which the Lionesses defeated them 8-0.

[Riise] had that conversation with me. We have a few players in the national team not playing that much at the moment, which is always hard. We spoke a little bit about it, but I’m just trying to do my best every day in training and we get the results from there.

With the Gunners currently playing two games a week, fitness preservation and injury prevention are more vital than ever.

Managing team selection with a squad bursting with talent such as Arsenal´s is never an easy task, and Maanum appreciates the nuances involved:

When you’re younger, you always want to play. But it’s always important to understand you have to rest as well. Not only for your fitness but also for your health, because it’s really intense to play every third or fourth day. So I think it’s really important we have the depth in the squad that we have. That’s a strength we have.

It’s obviously hard to play games every third or fourth day, but I think I have the fitness to do it. It’s up to Jonas if he wants to play me or not, but I feel like I’m fit to play, she added.

When asked if she’s loving her football at the moment, Maanum replied,

Yeah, I am. I’m really happy to be here at Arsenal and also to get game time, which I’ve waited a long time for.

For the time being, Arsenal´s midfielder has her sights set on the next Champions League test against Zurich tonight:

Every game now is important and we know what we did in Lyon. Then we have to build from there and it’s a completely different game tomorrow against Zurich and yeah, we just have to go out there and play our game. We know what we’re meeting tomorrow.

So will Frida be in the starting line-up in tonight´s UWCL clash with Zurich, at Emirates Stadium?  Will superstar Vivianne Miedema start from the bench once again.  We´ll let you know as soon as Jonas reveals his plans!

Michelle Maxwell

Follow Michelle on Just Gooner Women on Twitter for regular updates on the Arsenal Women´s Team!

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