Despite the early Champions League elimination, Arsenal still have three competitions to win and managing the players’ load will be key to that.

Arsenal exit the Champions League on penalties [image via Arsenal]
Arsenal exit the Champions League on penalties [image via Arsenal]
Amidst an arduous season with international commitments and injuries almost guaranteed, Arsenal face the crucial task of balancing their 27-player squad across three competitions.

As international weeks leave their training ground almost deserted, the London club’s management is in a race against time to maintain peak fitness levels without overburdening the players.

We have to remember that some players haven’t had a summer break since the pandemic began. Under Covid, training and games were not at full speed, which certainly impacted the players’ health.

Then came the Tokyo Olympics, also played under Covid’s oppressive health regulations.

The following summer saw the Euros and Copa America.

Last month was the Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, scheduled late in the season due to FIFA’s warped reasoning. Next summer will be the Paris Olympics, followed by the Euros in Switzerland.

As we approach the newly created Nations League, where teams will now only play those ranked in the same bracket, you have to wonder how clubs will manage players’ workload.

We currently have a squad of 27 players and four of them are at various points of their ACL rehab.

Beth Mead is close to returning to play; the expectation is she could get minutes against Liverpool in the league opener.

The squad has 18 fit players who are regularly called up by their countries and are therefore at risk of being overworked.

During international weeks, London Colney is nearly empty. Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie, both retired from the Scotland team, are alongside Gio Queiroz and third goalkeeper Naomi Williams.

Beth Mead hasn’t been called up by England yet but is expected to be back in the October/November or December squad.

So, that’s 15 players who will be gone for nearly two weeks, and then the season opener at home against Liverpool will come quickly.

As usual, Arsenal will hope that the international curse will not strike and that all players come back from international duty with no injuries.

Therefore, if everyone comes back fit, Jonas Eidevall will have a tough choice with 22 players available for selection.