This tactical analysis originally featured on our network site wearethearsenal.uk

Over the weekend, England began their World Cup warm-ups with a 1-0 victory over Brazil Women. This tactical analysis piece will show what the Arsenal Women players within the side have to offer the Lionesses ahead of the Women’s World Cup in the summer.

In Phil Neville’s England squad, this time around there were three inclusions from north London. The two that featured against Brazil were Jordan Nobbs and Beth Mead who will be the focus of this piece. Leah Williamson was also in the squad but didn’t play.

The Lionesses play Australia tomorrow where she may get some minutes.

Jordan Nobbs

Being the most established Arsenal representative in the England squad, we’ll start with Jordan Nobbs. With Neville playing a 4-2-3-1, Nobbs offers something different but very important for England compared to at Arsenal.

At Arsenal, in Joe Montemurro’s 4-3-3, she plays as a more advanced midfielder joining attacks very often. However, with England, she’s used more as a holding midfielder where she can also bring a lot to the game as seen below.

Arsenal Women England Women Jordan Nobbs Beth Mead Tactical Analysis
As a deeper midfielder, Nobbs can find great pockets of space easily and give her teammates an option to relieve pressure.
Arsenal Women England Women Jordan Nobbs Beth Mead Tactical Analysis
More effective than it first looked, from Nobbs’ position she can now spread the play which takes half of the Brazilians out of the game and allows England to attack down the less crowded flank.
Arsenal Women England Women Jordan Nobbs Beth Mead Tactical Analysis
Now Brazil’s left flank is exposed as their players aren’t as organised as those who were pressing the ball on the right. Nikita Parris sees the resulting gap left between the left back and centre back and attacks it.
Arsenal Women England Women Jordan Nobbs Beth Mead Tactical Analysis
Having easily beaten her marker, Parris then floats the ball into the box where Chelsea FC Women’s Fran Kirby nods the ball home for the only goal of the day.

Here we saw how subtle, yet effective Nobbs’ role for England can be. Rather than just being that ‘free option’ she can act as the link between England’s wings which can ultimately make the difference in games.

However, its also important to note that she was able to spot when the right time was for this type of switch. With Brazil lopsided, this ball killed them time and again and if she’s able to replicate this, she can be a valuable weapon for England moving forward.

Beth Mead

Not as established as Nobbs, most of Beth Mead’s England appearances have come from the bench and that was the same on Saturday. Despite this, she can also bring something different to Phil Neville’s side.

Known mostly as a striker, Mead came on to occupy the wide areas for England. This is something that she’s also been doing at Arsenal, especially towards the back end of last season. Despite coming on out wide, it was clear where Mead wanted to get herself. In the box.

Her directness was on show as soon as she came on the pitch and almost resulted in another England goal.

Arsenal Women England Women Jordan Nobbs Beth Mead Tactical Analysis
Here, Mead pulls out to the left where she stands up the defender well before bursting towards the byline showing good acceleration.
Arsenal Women England Women Jordan Nobbs Beth Mead Tactical Analysis
Having beaten her marker, Mead the crosses into a great channel to create chaos at the back for Brazil. If the England striker had been central and in the box, the ball would most probably have been turned in.

This injection of energy late in games, as shown above, could be a difference maker when it matters for England. It might not be the role Mead may want to be in at the moment, but all she can do when she comes on is impact games like this.

Whether Neville will continue to play her in that role for the same effect or choose her to start, that’ll be down to him.

Summary

Even though the current Lionesses squad isn’t littered with Arsenal players, that doesn’t mean those at the club can’t have a big effect on the team’s fortunes.

In the game against Brazil, we saw the different ways that Arsenal players can impact England. From Jordan Nobbs who may end up going under the radar in the more controlling midfield role she played to the more in your face inclusion of Beth Mead, both look like they can be the cause of even more goals for this England side in the future.

It’ll be interesting to see if these are themes that continue to crop up in the build-up and at the World Cup in France next summer.