News that the young striker, Beath Mead, has been signed by the club has been welcomed by all the fans as she is a player with a great future ahead, but will she get any game time?
Looking at Arsenal.com, the forward list has now five centre forwards: Carter, Taylor, Kelly, Oshoala and now Mead. While there are also three wingers, O’Reilly, McCabe and Devlin. Van De Donk is a midfielder who can also play in the three positions in attack as well.
There were rumours that the club had been pursuing Mead for a long time now. A bid was reportedly rejected in the previous transfer window a year ago, straight after a wonderful season that saw Mead top the FA WSL goalscoring table.
With Sunderland reverting to part-time football, and Mead having finished her degree at University, it was clearly a good time to sign her and offer her a contract as she has great potential.
The biggest question is how will she cope going from starting every game to being used in a squad rotation system like we saw at the club last season. Unless Pedro Losa decides to stick with his best 11 for the Spring Series rather than experiment in preparation for the real season in September, this is likely.
Let’s have a look at the multiple systems and how Beth Mead could fit in:
4-3-3 would see the five centre forwards fight for one position or if you count the three wingers registered as midfielders on Arsenal.com, eight players for the three positions up front.
4-4-2 or 3-4-1-2 would see the five forwards fight for two positions, discounting the fact that Kim Little can also play up top as she is extremely efficient in the final third.
I was reading Pep Guardiola: The Evolution and he used the 2-3-5 system with Bayern Munich and this is probably the best solution to use all the attacking players.
The line-up could look like this- Van Veenendal, Rose Wubben-Moy, Janssen, Nobbs, Little, O’Reilly, Carter, Taylor, Mead, McCabe. With a high pressing line to win the ball back quickly and launch the attack, it could work, in theory.
Profile-wise, Beth Mead is small and quick centre forward, lethal in front of the goal. She was mainly used by Sunderland to run behind the opposition defence using her pace. Obviously, she was used in a counter attacking team with a lot of space in front of her and it will be interesting to see her develop her game with a team that has a more possession-based philosophy like Arsenal.
The biggest worry at the moment is just the overcrowded centre forward position. We saw last season that the squad rotation system did not work as many players under-performed, so it is a big risk to do it again this season.
Obviously the Spring Series does not count and will hopefully be used as a testing exercise to fine tune the team in preparation for the new season and Beth can be integrated swiftly.
Source: Arsenal Ladies sign Beth Mead