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Jonas Eidevall expects a ‘reality check’ for Arsenal in clash with record Champions League winners Lyon

JONAS EIDEVALL is relishing the “reality check” awaiting Arsenal when they take on Lyon in their toughest Champions League test yet.

And the Gunners chief, 39, hailed Beth Mead’s deadly finishing after the forward was narrowly pipped to a Women’s Ballon d’Or gong.

Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal face a Lyon side who have won their opening five games in France’s top tier this term
Lyon are contending with injury issues with star striker Ada Hegerberg one of eight players crocked

Tomorrow (Wednesday) night Eidevall’s side head to the Groupama Stadium in France for their first group-stage game in the contest.

There they face French football juggernauts who are the Champions League record trophy winners with eight crowns to date.

Eidevall said: “It’s a very good reality check to see where we are at the moment.

“That is always very exciting to see we will know exactly where we are at and what we need to continue to improve on.

“When you play in the Champions League, it is a little bit different when you’re playing really good teams like Lyon.

“You can’t think that you will play a game where you will be in total control.

“We have to expect that we will be in control in some parts of the game but so will Lyon.

“We need to deal with facing more shots on target than we have been doing recently, facing more set pieces than we have been doing recently.”

April 2011 was the last time the Gunners faced the French giants in the tournament.

Back then Lyon sealed a 3-2 semi-final victory over two legs against the WSL side that included current skipper Kim Little.

Arsenal, currently second in the WSL, go into the game without crocked centre-backs Leah Williamson and Rafaelle.

However, their hosts are battling with an injury crisis with several aces out of action. 

Players sidelined include star striker Ada Hegerberg and midfielder Catarina Macario who both netted in Lyon’s 3-1 Champion League final defeat of Barcelona last term.

Despite their lengthy injury list Caitlin Foord reckons the French giants will pose a considerable threat.

The Gunners forward, 27, said: “Regardless of injuries or not the squad they have is very strong and the starting eleven they put out will be a world-class team.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

Arsenal’s Lyon trip comes two days after Beth Mead, 27, finished as a runner-up to Alexia Putellas in this year’s Women’s Ballon d’Or.

The player, who won the Golden Boot at this summer’s Euros, finished just one point behind the Barcelona star in the Ballon d’Or rankings.

Beth Mead’s performances earned her a second-place finish at this year’s Ballon d’Or awards

Eidevall added: “I know the goals and assists that Beth provides are absolutely world-class.

“I also see other things in her as a person and as a player that are so valuable to us.

“When you see her reactions when we lose the ball for me she is the fastest player that I ever had the privilege to coach in reacting to those situations and to be able to be first to those balls.”

Arsenal will play Swiss side Zurich at the Emirates next Thursday in their second Champions League group-stage game

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