Arseblog Exclusive! Leah Williamson Reacts to Chelsea Defeat

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Arsenal Women fell to defeat against defending champions Chelsea in front of 3,019 spectators at Boreham Wood this afternoon. Tim Stillman caught up with Gunners defender Leah Williamson after the game, who made her 100th appearance for the club this weekend.

On injuries and fatigue causing an issue for Arsenal at the moment….
Obviously injuries are a factor and everyone can see we’re down to the bare bones at the moment and it was before Christmas. But genuinely, we are not a team that makes excuses and it’s not something we’re talking about. We are focusing more on how to get the ball from A to B, for example.

On Wednesday we weren’t quite good enough at that and we weren’t today either. Injuries can cause some upset to your rhythm, but we have 11 players on the pitch and it really is as simple as how well we play football. That’s what we need to look at and that’s what we are talking about, how we can be better.

On Chelsea’s high press…..
It definitely disrupted us, but we knew they were going to do that and we planned to go a bit more direct today to play against that, but in a structured way. We got in a few times that way in the first half and the ball just wasn’t quite there. I’m not sure they were expecting that, but we didn’t do it well enough. On another day, with a better performance, we would have played through that press.

On losing Danielle van de Donk to injury just before the game….
She was definitely a miss, playing in a game like this without Danielle and someone like Jordan is a huge blow. But we still have the talent to play in the way that we want without them because of the way Joe sets us up. But when the opposition look at the team sheet and see DvD’s name and Jordan’s name, as a defender, I know I would be scared.

They give the opposition a fear factor before the game begins. I think Chelsea set up quite defensively because they were expecting us to try and take the game to them and to try to get between their lines. I still think we could have done that today better than we did, even without some of those players.

On Ramona Bachmann and Fran Kirby starting on the bench for Chelsea….
I know Fran and I know she’s had a knock and she played 90 minutes on Wednesday, so that was less of a surprise. I know it’s a cliché, but because we focus on ourselves so much, I don’t really give much thought to who the opposition start. But on reflection, seeing big players like that on the bench was a surprise.

On Chelsea being back in the title race….
I don’t think they were ever out of it. You can see that last year we were 10 points behind Manchester City in 2nd at Christmas and we only finished 1 point behind them in the end, because we dropped silly points towards the end. There’s too few games in the league for that kind of pattern to set, things can always change.

I think they needed to win today and they knew that. We wanted to stop that and pull further away from them and to stay at the top. If City win today (they did shortly after this match, beating West Ham 3-1) then we’re second, albeit with a game in hand. But we would prefer to be top, obviously.

On making her 100th appearance for Arsenal today….
It’s funny, I was just talking to my mum and we said I could have done it much more quickly were it not for injuries. Naturally, I am always striving for more. In our meeting room at the training ground, the names of all the women who have made 100 appearances are on the wall and I look at some of the names on that wall and, without being too much of a fan girl, a lot of them are my heroes.

It’s amazing to be up there now in their company. But it’s about the future for me too and the first 100 is amazing and especially at my age, I really do aim to get a few hundred more yet with this football club and in this shirt. This is more than just a football club to me. My family are all Arsenal supporters and they remind me every day that I am living a dream to play here and I hope that I have made them proud. Important day for me and them, I just wish we could have won.

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Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

You’ll bounce back Leah! COYLG

Ben
Ben

Come on Arsenal!

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

You could tell we were not at the races today. A team that scores over 4 goals per game wait until the 80th minute to have the first of only 3 shots at the opposition goal. I do hope that the maladies of the men’s team are not rubbing off onto the women and that the injuries to DVD and Meado are not more long-term woes.
Fingers crossed for a return to form.
Congratulations to Leah on reaching a century. Such a wise head on young shoulders!

Devlin
Devlin

I hate these injuries. Now DvD is out and I am simply distraught at this. She is my absolute favourite player.