After more than 10 months out with a ruptured ACL, Vivianne Miedema could make her long-awaited return from injury on Sunday when we face Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Our No 11 was named in the latest Netherlands squad yesterday for the upcoming international break, and on Friday morning Jonas Eidevall revealed that we've been in close communication with Andries Jonker and his medical team to ensure Miedema's return is handled correctly.
"They know that Viv is really close to returning to play and maybe she can make the squad here on Sunday as well for Arsenal, which would be a big thing for for us as well" said our head coach during his pre-match press conference. "That still makes her a doubt if she could play competitive games for Netherlands, of course, because we still don't know how she would react.
"But they have very much taken her under that assumption and with the dialogue that they understand that could be the case, but they are happy to just be providing her with an optimal training experience and that's a win-win also for Arsenal, because that means that she will come back before the City game in a better condition than I think would have been possible at Arsenal with only three players at home."
Eidevall was then asked whether Miedema has picked up match minutes against our youth teams, after she suggested it was a possibility during a recent column.
"So we play our home matches on 3G turf with our under-21s, and of course, that’s not ideal for Viv to go and play on that turf, which makes it really complicated. Something that looks really good on paper that she can start playing with reserves now becomes really complicated in reality, because we’re not playing on natural grass pitches.
"So what we have done instead is that we have played internal games and we have referees coming here to London Colney to help us midweek and we have been doing that consistently during this block. That's been really important for the whole team, but also for Viv that she can be integrated into something that reminds her a bit more like a competitive game. But just behind closed doors."
Finally, with Alessia Russo settled in the side and looking sharp in attack, our head coach was asked where Miedema's best starting position will be.
"I can see that working in different combinations and that's very exciting. We could see Alessia starting the game against Aston Villa as a 9, but we switched her to a 10 when Stina was coming in as a 9 and we worked on that partnership.
"What does that tells us? Miedema can play both as a 9 and as a 10. I think Alessia can do the same, she can also work as a 9 and a 10, so when we see them play together, when they do, what will bring their best qualities out of each other? We will have to see.
"That's the exciting thing in football, I have an idea in my head. But that doesn't count for much until it transpires out to the pitch. And I'm very excited to see them working together on the pitch, but we haven't had much time to do that so far."
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