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‘This is what football is about’

Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend in a 2-0 loss against BirminghamArsenal manager Jonas Eidevall says playing must-win football matches makes him “feel alive” as the Women’s Super League title race intensifies heading into the second half of the season. The Gunners suffered their first defeat of the campaign last weekend and are just four points clear of second-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand. The league leaders face in-form Reading on Sunday. “This is the part I like about football,” Eidevall said. “It is about playing games that you need to win, it makes you feel alive and feel very much in the moment. “That’s a great feeling and there aren’t a lot of jobs in life that provide you with the feeling that football does.”Stina Blackstenius: Arsenal sign Swedish forward on free transferWSL: How Reading turned their season aroundDefeat against Birmingham last weekend ended their unbeaten start to the WSL season. It also put defending champions Chelsea – whose game against Everton on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases and injuries – within touching distance of top spot. Eidevall said he expects “to see a reaction” from his players against Reading. “Games like the Birmingham one allow us to think about what we did well and what we can do better,” he added. “It’s all about what our reaction will be and I want to see that, I want us to work every second on the pitch against Reading, that’s what it’s about.”After a poor start to the season, in-form Reading have won three of their past four WSL games and are now just four points off a Champions League qualification spot. The Royals are unbeaten in their past six and manager Kelly Chambers said she expects Eidevall’s side to come out “all guns blazing” after last week’s defeat. “We’re probably going to be up against a tougher test because they will want to put things right,” Chambers said. The 36-year-old added that beating Chelsea earlier in the season has given her side “a real boost”.”Anything is doable and we can achieve what we want if we put our minds to it. That’s the attitude the girls have had in training. There’s no hiding it’s going to be a very tough tests but we’re more than ready.”A club close to my heart – SkinnerManchester United could go third with a win over BirminghamManchester United manager Marc Skinner faces his former club Birmingham on Saturday, who stunned Arsenal last time out. “I thought they were excellent,” Skinner said. “It’s been called the shock of the season because position-wise you don’t expect that to happen but you can’t take anything from Birmingham lightly because the camaraderie, the togetherness and the team spirit of a result like that will bounce them into this fixture.”United have won their past two WSL games and the 38-year-old added that his side would have to be “fully at our game to make sure we take the points.”Skinner, who spent two-and-a-half years with the Blues, also backed his former side to escape relegation.”It’s a team close to my heart, I hope they do it. We will try to put a dent in it this weekend but after that I wish them all the best. I’m pretty sure the team spirit they have will give them the best chance of staying up.”Blues manager Scott Booth said moving off the bottom of the table has given his side a “huge lift” psychologically. ‘Nothing to lose’ for LeicesterLeicester are bottom of the WSL with just one win from 11 gamesLeicester sit bottom of the WSL with just one win from 11 games and manager Lydia Bedford says her side have nothing to lose and everything to gain when they face Brighton on Sunday. “I look at every game like that right now,” she said. “We’re bottom of the table and have nothing to lose in every game that we play. “It gives us the freedom to play without too much worry but with a real focus around what needs to be done on the pitch and it’s there for the taking.”Meanwhile, the Seagulls are looking to bounce back from their heavy 6-0 defeat to Manchester City.Elsewhere on Sunday, third-placed Tottenham host West Ham looking to close the gap on Chelsea and Arsenal, while Manchester City travel to Aston Villa on Saturday having won their past three. The Apprentice is back: Who will be the first to be told ‘You’re Fired’?Family. Loyalty. Honour: The Peaky Blinders series 6 trailer is here

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