Lianne Sanderson Interview: Chelsea boss must NOT repeat Lauren James mistake vs Barcelona; Jonas Eidevall’s tactics questioned amid Arsenal’s dismal WSL campaign

Owen Fulda

In an exclusive interview with, former Lioness Lianne Sanderson warned Emma Hayes that she would be making a big mistake by benching Lauren James for Chelsea’s upcoming Champions League tie with Barcelona. 

Sanderson also expressed her confusion at Arsenal’s decision to extend boss Jonas Eidvall’s contract.

Chelsea boss must NOT repeat Lauren James mistake vs Barcelona

Chelsea host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Saturday and Lianne Sanderson has called on Blues manager Emma Hayes to play star forward Lauren James from the start, rather than introducing her from the bench like she did last season;

Lianne Sanderson: “Play Lauren James! Last year she was on the bench in both semi-finals. They changed formation in that game and then they scored. Caroline Graham Hansen scored after five minutes down that right hand side. Chelsea are an amazing team but they played Barcelona in the final a number of years ago and they were 3-0 down after 20 minutes. You have to pray that Barcelona have an off day and you’re at your best. Barca don’t really have off days because, as we saw last year, Alexia Putellas had her ACL injury but Aitana Bonmati then steps up and now she’s got two Ballon d’Ors under her belt. So this Barca team, they like cogs in an engine, they’re unbelievable and when you watch them live they’re just on a different level. I think Chelsea can win but I do think it’ll be very difficult because Barcelona are just elite.”

Jonas Eidevall’s tactics questioned amid Arsenal’s dismal WSL campaign

Arsenal may have lifted the FA WSL Cup but their hopes of winning the WSL are dwindling as they sit six points behind Manchester City. Former Gunner Lianne Sanderson has voiced her concerns over manager Jonas Eidevall’s tactics and believes the Swede’s future at the club may be cut short;

Lianne Sanderson: “I like Jonas Eidevall as a guy but ultimately I was surprised that he got that new contract. Arsenal just don’t seem to have that bite when compared to Chelsea and Manchester City this season and ultimately I think that does come from the coach. I look at Jonas Eidevall and I think ‘is he really that guy to take Arsenal to another level?’ Just because we gave you a new contract, that doesn’t mean anything. Arsenal will not be satisfied with the current situation and ultimately if they end up finishing third and don’t win anything, that won’t be good enough.

“When I look at this awesome Arsenal team and I see players like Alessia Russo on the bench for the big games in favour of Stina Blackstenius. I like Stina, but when you bring in a player of that calibre of Alessia Russo you have to let her play through to gain her confidence.I think Stina Blackstenius is more of an impact player off the bench. But players like Katie McCain playing out at full-back? Personally I think they have to be higher up the field.”

Man City’s Bunny Shaw deserves WSL PotY gong over Chelsea ace Lauren James

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw has scored 19 goals in the WSL this season, six more than nearest rival Lauren James. The Jamaica international’s goals look set to fire Manchester City to the title and Sanderson believe’s Shaw deserves the Player of the Year award to go with back-to-back WSL Golden Boots;

Lianne Sanderson: “There’s a few candidates but for me Bunny Shaw has to be that player. There’s always a lot of emphasis on Lauren James because she’s an absolutely brilliant player but I think what Bunny Shaw has done at Man City is amazing. And  if they go on to win the league with the amount of goals she’s scored… She’s a type of player that I feel like people don’t really give the credit she deserves. I’m not quite sure why. When you look at last year, again, she was scoring goals and wasn’t really getting the credit. But I think for me personally it should be between Lauren James and Bunny Shaw.”

Owen Fulda
Owen Fulda

Owen is a sports journalist and interviewer who has worked in the journalism for over 10 years. Work experience includes working for News Associates publications, including the Daily Star and the Express. Owen also has experience in the Gambling sector, working for EasyOdds and wrote a number of articles at KCW Today. Owen's specialist subjects include football, cricket and NFL but has a wide knowledge of all sports.