Women’s FA Cup final: Superstitions, nerves & a ‘celebration’ of women

Driving a few extra miles to avoid a black cat, thinking about “everything that could possibly go wrong” and skipping the emotional rollercoaster – Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall is meticulous in his preparation for Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The two sides will go head-to-head at Wembley Stadium (14:00 GMT) in front of more than 45,000 fans in last season’s delayed finale.

“These are the games we want to play in or coach,” said Eidevall, who said earlier this year the closest he had come to being at Wembley was when he and his wife had tickets to see Adele perform but they could not make it.

He added: “We all wish it could be like this every week if it could be possible. I hope we can embrace, live the moment and be present in it. That would always be a good start.”

It is a meeting between the top two sides in the Women’s Super League, with Arsenal a point clear of their London rivals.

Swedish coach Eidevall said he will be “panicking” about whether Arsenal have done enough preparation until on the day itself.

“On game day I feel very, very confident. Before it, I think about everything that could possibly go wrong because I need to prepare for it,” said Eidevall.

“I have to do everything and rewatch all the videos two or three times again before we start working on it with the group. Then when we reach gameday, I am 100% sure that we are ready. I know I will reach that point on Sunday.”

Eidevall recalled a night in Germany a few years ago when he received text messages saying several of his players were injured on international duty and he left an eight-course dinner with friends as it “ruined” his night.

As well as keeping his nerves intact, Eidevall said he welcomed superstitions as it is “healthy” to have some control – even if that means making yourself feel “a bit silly”.

“I don’t let any black cats cross my way, ever. I don’t harm any black cats either – that’s important to say!” he said. “But I have sometimes been driving around for a couple of miles just to not cross them.

“If [Chelsea manager] Emma Hayes sees this, she will probably buy 1,000 cats and send them over to our road.”

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