Last modified on Wed 18 Aug 2021 05.11 BST
The Arsenal women’s head coach, Jonas Eidevall, says he aims to win the Champions League during his time at the club, and that the challenge was fundamental in his decision to join from the Swedish club Rosengard.
Arsenal return to the top table on Wednesday after missing out in six of the past seven seasons. They will face the Kazakh side Okzhetpes in the semi-final of a mini play-off tournament staged in Moscow; the winners will face PSV Eindhoven or Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday for a place in the second round of qualifying, which feeds into a new-look group stage.

Eidevall, who will oversee his first competitive match since taking the role in June, believes Champions League football is integral to his and the club’s ambitions.
“It’s very important,” he said. “I think it’s what attracts people to the club in one way, to compete for the biggest trophy there is at the top level. It’s one of the reasons I came to Arsenal: that I want to see if we can win the Champions League with this club.
“I also think it’s a very exciting time for the Champions League, having a group stage for the first time. I think it’ll impact this tournament very positively so of course we would like to be historic and be a part of that for the first time ever; get that international experience and compete with the best, which I’m confident enough we can do.”
Arsenal were quarter-finalists in 2019-20, their only appearance since 2013-14, and Eidevall was unwilling to set limits on what realistic expectations might be for this season’s performance. “I don’t care so much what is realistic or not, I care if there is a chance to do it,” he said.
“Nobody would say we are out of a chance against any opponent in the Champions League. It’s not going to be easy, but we will have a chance against any team in the world and we are going to do our best to grab that chance in any given game.”
Arsenal are expected to beat Okzhetpes, whose direct style Eidevall pinpointed, but they face some selection issues. Jordan Nobbs remains absent with the ankle injury sustained in pre-season against Chelsea, while Lia Wälti also misses out and Leah Williamson was forced to stay behind because of a family issue. Williamson is the only player of Arsenal’s nine Olympic representatives not to have travelled to Russia.


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