Steph Catley views Arsenal’s response to injury issues

Steph Catley views Arsenal's response to injury issues

Steph Catley feels Arsenal are not in a rush to complete their 2022 schedule and reach the winter break during an injury-plagued spell, indicating a difference in the team’s mentality compared to the previous season.

Leah Williamson, Rafaelle, Kim Little, Beth Mead, and Lina Hurtig have all missed time due to injury for the Gunners over October and November. However, they have effectively weathered this challenging phase by winning nine of their last eleven games, including a 5-1 triumph against Thursday’s opponents, European champions Lyon. They are starting to welcome back essential players.

Injuries and absences plagued Arsenal at a similar point last season, causing them to falter in the WSL and Champions League.

Steph Catley reminisced, “When I remember back to last year, that’s how the team felt; we were anxious to cross the finish line and reach Christmas.” “This time, I believe everyone feels somewhat revitalized; we are all in excellent spirits.

We’ve experienced a little drop in form but are regaining our footing. We’re scoring goals again, and players are returning from injury, revitalizing the team. I believe everyone is in an excellent situation.

Catley has had to adjust during this era due to injuries to Leah Williamson and Rafaelle, the team’s first-choice central defenders.

The pair was out for two months but returned to the lineup against Everton in early December. In their absence, Catley, a left defender by trade, filled in at center-back.

The fullback said, “It’s been an exciting time.” “Physically, playing center back was easier for me than playing fullback, but psychologically, it was challenging.

“When you are at center half, organizing and constantly thinking is half the battle, and when you play at the highest level, there is so much going on that it is mentally exhausting. However, when I made my way back to my left back, I felt physically good, like I was ready to step it up again and return to that full-back position.

“I believe it is a great strength of our club that we have had to make many personnel changes because we have lost many talented defenders to injury. Even with their return and gradual increase in playing time, Lotte [Wubben-Yoy] will play at right center back, she will play at left center back, Jen [Beattie] will come in, and Rafaelle may play here.

“There are a lot of changes occurring, and I believe it says a lot about our players and our club that whoever comes in can do a good job and that the whole backline can remain a powerful unit”