Former Arsenal boss Akers backs ‘tightknit’ Gunners to battle for trophies for injured team-mates
VIC AKERS is backing Arsenal to rally in their fight for silverware after losing two of their most feared forwards to injury.
The ex-Gunners Ladies chief, 76, says Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead will be “a big miss” for the side with the duo currently injured.
GettyVic Akers says Vivianne Miedema being sidelined by injury is a big loss for Arsenal[/caption]
PABeth Mead and Miedema netted 26 goals combined in the 22 WSL games they played last season[/caption]
Akers, whose Arsenal side became the first English team to win a Women’s Champions League in 2007, was among the guests watching the Gunners’ clash with Lyon at the Emirates on Thursday.
Despite their 1-0 loss, Jonas Eidevall’s players claimed their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
But their qualification was overshadowed by the serious injury sustained by Miedema, with the WSL’s record scorer carried off after falling awkwardly while reaching for the ball.
Akers said: “Vivianne will be a big, big miss for the team.
“I could see when she went down it was quite serious with Gary Lewin (Arsenal women’s head of medicine) coming out on the edge of the pitch.
“Looking at the expression on Gary’s face I knew it was serious. Let’s hope it’s not an ACL injury. It did look ominous.”
Miedema’s injury comes a month after her team-mate Mead ruptured a knee ligament during Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at the Emirates.
Timescales on how long the England ace will be sidelined by her injury are, as yet, unknown.
In a statement last month the club said Mead would be ‘set for an extended period on the sidelines’.
Last season Mead and Miedema notched up 26 goals combined in 22 WSL games with Miedema finishing as the league’s second highest scorer.
And Akers expects Leah Williamson, Kim Little and their team-mates will be more eager to succeed for their injured pals.
He added: “This group is a tightknit one and similar to the all-conquering one I had back in 2007.
“They will want to succeed for the girls who are out and injured.
“I believe this motivation will carry them through this season.”
Vic Akers believes Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal side has a similar camaraderie to his 2006-07 quadruple-winning squadGetty
Arsenal, currently second in the WSL, face league leaders Chelsea at the Emirates in their first game in the new year in what could be a pivotal match in the title race.
That January 15 derby duel will come a month on from defenders Williamson and Rafaelle Souza returning to action from foot and knee injuries.
And skipper Little is back in training following a knee problem.
Akers added: “It’s massive to have those characters back in.
GettyAkers says the creativity of Kim Little, who has out with a knee injury since October, has been missed in Arsenal’s midfield[/caption]
“Kim Little has been one of the biggest misses and I felt they were crying out for her creativity against Lyon.
“I know Leah really, really well and she’ll definitely step up to the mark and make sure everybody is on the same page.
“I’m certain they’ll want to fight for trophies for the girls who are out injured and for themselves.”