The Rotation Game
How are the WSL top four trying to maximise their squads?
This, to my mind, is Jonas’ biggest challenge this season, rotating effectively. In his first season he didn’t rotate because he didn’t have enough trusted players. Last season, he couldn’t rotate due to injuries. [...]
When I look at Emma Hayes’ Chelsea, I think their biggest strength is their ability to rotate plug and play players, but it took them years to get to that point.
By Tim Stillman From Arseblog
One of the key themes that is going to come out of this WSL season is rotation. With the competition at the top fiercer than ever before, the need for teams to find an edge over their opponents is increasingly important. There is a sense that Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United are playing football musical chairs. When the music stops, one of them will miss out on a Champions League spot.
Clearly, as we saw with Arsenal and Manchester United this year, being in the Champions League places does not actually guarantee you make the group stage but finishing in the top three still denotes a level of achievement. United’s incredibly settled squad was a key factor in them finishing second last year. Manager Marc Skinner had ten players who started 19 or more games in the league. Compare that with Chelsea, who only had Sam Kerr reach that milestone.
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But what Skinner was able to do was a combination of luck in having those players so consistently available and a reflection of United’s lack of high intensity matches. Arsenal and Jonas Eidevall know all too well how injuries can quickly decimate a settled starting XI, leaving you forced to play whoever is available to you.
However, rotation is not as simple as just bringing in certain players whenever. In any squad there is going to be a gradient of ability or even a mismatch of positional availability.
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