Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Arsenal Women Weekly Round-Up: Queens Are Crowned

Arsenal played their final match of the WSL season on Saturday against hitherto undefeated runners-up Manchester City, who left Nikita Parris (who will leave the club for Lyon) and Georgia Stanway on the bench. The Gunners inflicted City’s first domestic defeat since their last trip to Boreham Wood a year ago thanks to a late piledriver from left-back Emma Mitchell.

Mitch has endured spells out of the side for various reasons this season. She came on as a substitute for her first appearance since February and sealed the season with a 25 yard rocket into the top corner. Arseblog News spoke to Mitch about her up and down season at London Colney last week and that interview will be available in audio format in the coming weeks. Highlights of Saturday’s game are available here.

Arsenal lifted the WSL trophy in the immediate aftermath of the game, crowning a phenomenal season for the girls. The girls could not hide their delight, so much so that the usually mild mannered captain Kim Little dropped an accidental ‘F Bomb’ live on BT Sport.

For full coverage of the celebrations, check out this ten-minute video from our new Arsenal Women Arsecast co-host Pippa Monique. I would also recommend Jason Iligan from Humans of the Arsenal’s photoblog of the occasion.

After effing and jeffing her way through her BT Sport interview, I spoke with Kim in the midst of the celebrations about Arsenal’s motivation to beat Manchester City, despite having the title wrapped up. “We’re champions and rightly so and we wanted to show why today and we’re just delighted to be able to end the season this way with our fans and celebrate with them.”

Saturday’s match was the last for Dutch duo Dominique Bloodworth and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. Bloodworth will join German champions Wolfsburg, with Sari’s next destination less clear. Both joined the club in 2015 and have won 2 Conti Cups, an FA Cup and a league title during their time in London, as well as forming a core part of the Netherlands’ Euro 2017 squad.

This also proved to be Bloodworth’s 100th appearance for the club. I spoke to her after the final whistle about her emotions on Saturday, her reflections on her time at the club and leaving with her good friend Sari. “Sari is a bit older than we and she has taught me a lot. She has helped me to grow into the woman I have become.

“I am proud that we came here together, we didn’t know each other that well, but we became very good friends really quickly. We’ve relied on each other and had a really good time at Arsenal and we learned and grew a lot. It’s so special that we can share that feeling today.” That interview will be published on Tuesday, along with the opportunity to win a copy of the bumper edition programme from Saturday signed by Dominique.

Saturday confirmed that Vivianne Miedema is the WSL Golden Boot winner for 2018-19. She scored 22 goals this season, the same number as men’s golden boot winner and Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (albeit, there are 18 fewer games in the WSL). Miedema was also voted the Supporters’ Club Player of the Year. Jordan Nobbs picked up goal of the season for her strike against Chelsea in October.

Gunners defender Leah Williamson took time out to speak to the Guardian’s Suzy Wrack last week about her love affair with Arsenal. “I’ve never been afraid of getting stuck in, I’ll put myself on the line for this football club. There’s only a couple of times I cried for goals in my life. Thierry Henry’s return at the Emirates, I was behind that goal, it was incredible. Things like that, they stick with you.” The full interview is available below.

Leah also spoke to the Telegraph’s Molly McElwee post match about her ambitions for England this summer. The Lionesses squad was announced via a series of individual videos. Ian Wright announced Leah’s inclusion in the squad. “There was no emotion, it was relief. I enjoyed it more on Wednesday when it was announced. Ian was an unbelievable surprise, especially for my family. That’s special for them.”

Beth Mead’s inclusion in the Lionesses World Cup squad was announced by none other than her heroine Kelly Smith. The ex-Gunners striker is a huge source of inspiration to this generation of players and Mead was as pleased as punch to have Kelly confirm her place in the squad. “We found out the day before the announcement that the team announcement was all going to be individual but we did not know how they were going to do that,” the April WSL Player of the Month told the FA website.

“It was a very special way of doing it. Hats off to Lioness media for doing that. Leah Williamson and myself; we got the king and queen of Arsenal in Ian Wright and Kelly Smith. Kelly is one of my childhood heroes who I looked up to, so it was amazing for her to do my announcement.” Mead also told the Guardian’s Suzy Wrack “I don’t want to be a squad player anymore,” said Mead. “I want to be pushing for a position to start. I’m even more hungry for it now I’m going.”

Gunners boss Joe Montemurro told the Islington Gazette, “We have to make additions in the summer because we’ll be playing more games and need to have the ability to keep players fresh will be crucial.

“I saw very good signs even in the losses, like against Chelsea at Meadow Park. We were at bare bones but still understood what was needed, we had a couple of youngsters playing and they (Chelsea) still struggled to get over the line.” Full interview available below.

Arsenal legend Kelly Smith was on hand to witness Saturday’s celebrations and we asked Kelly very nicely to sign a copy of Saturday’s bumper 52 page edition of the programme for one of our readers. To be in with a chance to win a copy of the programme signed by Kelly (I asked Kim Little to sign it too, but we couldn’t really make the pen work!) just answer the question below.

Which team did Kelly Smith support as a child?
a) Arsenal
b) Manchester United
c) Sp*rs

The winner will be chosen at random and the deadline for entries is this Friday, 17th May. Please put ‘Kelly Smith programme competition’ in the subject line and email your answers to [email protected]. Good luck!

The May episode of the Arsenal Women Arsecast will go up in the next couple of days, featuring a comprehensive sit down interview with Gunners boss Joe Montemurro on his managerial philosophy, how we shaped this title winning team, the players he brought in to help him and a tactical breakdown of the season. We will also release this as a YouTube video a little later in the month.

The pod will also feature an interview with Tabea Kemme on her injury hit first season in England, how and why she joined the Potsdam police force, how growing up on a farm influenced her personality and where Joe sees her playing in the long-term. We also have interviews with Lisa Evans, Emma Mitchell, Janni Arnth, Katrine Veje, Louise Quinn and Katie McCabe in audio and visual format, which will be released incrementally during the summer.

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Maul Person

Well done and well deserved. Here’s to the team picking up where they left off when the new season starts… WITH Jordan and Danielle back in the mix!

Extra special congratulations to Leah for her inclusion in the national team.

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