Danielle van de Donk Reacts to 5-2 Barcelona Defeat

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Arsenal were beaten 5-2 by Barcelona in a pre-season friendly at Meadow Park on Wednesday evening. Tim Stillman spoke to Player of the Match Danielle van de Donk post-match, exclusively for Arseblog News.

On coming up against an excellent Barcelona side…

Barcelona are always playing in the Champions League, they are a very, very good team. They’ve got lots of quality players and they are quite used to each other and I don’t think we are just yet. We’re still getting to know each other because we brought some new players in this summer. So for example I am still getting used to how Jen Beattie likes to receive the ball, I know she likes to receive to feet now. Barcelona know each other so, so well and we probably need a little bit more time to get back onto that level too.

On having a short summer after getting to the World Cup Final with Netherlands

The club are managing me very well, I haven’t played a full 90 minutes yet so it’s nice and slow, but I am dying to play 90 minutes again! I feel really good, I am ready to go again actually, I like the games against quality teams even when we’re losing. I think we have learned a lot from this one, more than if we were playing teams and winning 5-0.

On pre-season games against Champions League calibre opposition

It hasn’t all been about preparing for the Champions League, but it has been a lot about that. We are going to meet teams like this in Europe and we need to be prepared, we might even draw Barcelona in the next round so we could see them again soon! I wouldn’t say pre-season so far has been all about the Champions League but probably about 75% to this point.

On playing in a deeper midfield role alongside Jill Roord…

It was quite new because we’re both normally number 10s so it was different for both of us. I think we did quite well, I like playing with Jill in midfield because she is quite calm on the ball and very secure in her passing. I think we played well in the first half, but in the second half we got a bit sloppy and we were running around a bit like headless chickens, we need to keep our shape better. It’s good that Joe tries different people because we need to get the right fit there, it’s one of the most important positions.

On what Arsenal fans can expect from Jill Roord…

She’s a magical player, she’s very, like, she’s a charming player, you know? She doesn’t make any bad tackles, she’s a very good football player and she does everything very nicely. She’s got real quality on the ball and she can shoot from distance, she can put others in on goal. She’s a great talent and she’s only 22. Arsenal fans can expect a lot from her.

On Friday’s Champions League draw…

We’re all looking forward to finding out who we are going to play. We don’t really mind who we get, we know we will be in for two tough games and we just want to win and qualify.

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suvasis_aragorn
suvasis_aragorn

Did she really say headless chickens? Wow, how brutally honest! Thanks for the coverage Tim..

Harry Gill
Harry Gill

She’s not only a great footballer, but articulate; witty; friendly; funny and fiesty as tooth and nails ! Love #10 mesmerizing speed with the ball; her read of the game’s phenomenal….go Danielle go you’re my FAV ☝️💯🌟 best wishes from Vancouver Canada 🙏 🤗 🇨🇦

Gooner1
Gooner1

I trust Joe and the team but would be lying if i said the result wasn’t worrying

Mistafi
Mistafi

Pre season games do not matter.

eldanielfire
eldanielfire

I’m not sure what’s wrong. I can describe it:

-The defence was amateur tonight
-DvD and Roord are not DMs. They don’t know how to protect the defence from there. Roord had no idea to distribute from there.
-The attack was clueless and slow. It needs to be more diret sometimes but it stutters when Viv is deep and no one else takes charge of being the target uo front.
-Leah Williamson seems to have lost all confidence
-Zinsberger was poor and such confidence out of her team.
-We need more players to get into the area quickly when Veje, Meed or someone is ready to cross. Vivian was slow and rarely in the area when a winger was ready to cross
-Veje looks good but is a winger, but not a fullback
-The team looked slow and were 2nd to every ball.
-DvD and Little worked their arses off but looked badly out muscled by the much bigger opposition for all their combative play styles. I fear the women’s game may be evolving rapidly to much more physical and bigger players
-Beattie looks like she would make a better DM than CB IMO.

The plueses

-Quinn is a quality CB. AN essential cog in the team. Looked a league above when she came on.
-The full backs all looked good going forward.
-Lisa Evans added more direct threat and nous in attack.
-Roord looks a good signing, just not as DM.

Giroud's scorpion kick
Giroud's scorpion kick

USA has shown in the WC that the game is already there and physical readiness is as important as everything else. The team that gets more engine to press high the longer is the one winning most of the times. Maybe the team misses someone like Carter? Again, lot of personnel out of position, coach tried quite a lot of different things.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

A bundle of optimism, eh?

trugun
trugun

Travelled up to see the game and I really should not have bothered, I know it’s pre season but even so. Best players on the park Mcabe and Van De Donk the rest looked like a bunch of strangers, in the first half Veje was awful no other word for it. Barca played a high line and as a result three of their goal came from interceptions. If there is not a vast improvement pretty darn quick then our WSL champs title will not last long.

canon fodder
canon fodder

Five of our girls played in the World Cup so it will take some weeks until they are fully rested and up to match fitness. We will come good.

trugun
trugun

Barca and us both had players in the world cup, we also started back training at the same time, and yet they were streets ahead of us in every department.
I too hope we will come good but on this showing I have my doubts.

summerc
summerc

Many of our World Cup players did not start back training at the same time. Viv only started training right before the wolfsburg friendly and the other English and Dutch players started training the week before that. Other than van der Gragt and Martens (who’s out with injury), none of their players got as far in the World Cup.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Fortunately we don’t play Barcelona in WSL!
I thought City would be weaker this season but then they signed Ellen White!
Not sure Chelsea are up there again yet and United and Spurs are an unknown quantity having walked it to promotion but WSL is a different matter all together.

Dave Cee
Dave Cee

Nice interview, comes across as a nice woman. Hope they have another great season

Armchair
Armchair

Didn’t see the game but it seems clear that, as DvD suggested, the team has some chemistry issues, what with new players on the pitch. Beyond that, Miedema is just starting to get back into the swing, and Nobbs and Walti, both of whom will eventually start, are still out.

That said, I’m not entirely enthusiastic about some the signings of the last two years, and letting both Bloodworth and Van Veenendaal get away may not have been wise for a club that says it wants to win the Champions League title. The newcomers are all solid players but maybe not quite at the level needed to beat Wolfsburg, Barca and, of course, Lyon, which are all loaded with top-flight talent, from front to back, and overall a cut above the Gunners at this time. Let’s face it, it’s a big jump from Reading and Bristol to Barca, Wolfsburg and Lyon.

Roord is a good player but she is used to playing in the same role as DvD, and that isn’t really ideal. I don’t know if Montemurro likes Beattie more than Quinn at CB or is just getting a look at her–but the pair of Williamson and Quinn were very solid last year and I can’t see messing with that tandem. It will take some time for this group to come together. When it does, they will be good and could win the FAWSL again. They probably aren’t going to win the Champions League, but one step at a time.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Precisely, Jill plays a similar role to DvD which means that DvD doesn’t have to play 50 games this season and we have someone else who can fill her boots when she has a weekend off.
Actually last time Jen Beattie was at Arsenal she was top scorer so we didn’t see her as a centre back then!
Once you get into Europe along with all of the domestic trophies it becomes a squad game and you need quality duplication in each area of the field to cover for injuries and first choice players simply having a rest. This is what has let us down in recent seasons having to field Academy players when our first choice team were unavailable for whatever reason.
Joe’s signings have been prudent and have gone a long way to rectifying this situation.

Fun Gunner
Fun Gunner

We’ve got 3 or 4 weeks, so time to get back into the groove.

Stillberto
Stillberto

The first half was pretty even with both teams taking turns to dominate, the second half was very poor from an Arsenal POV. I think they need to add a defensive midfielder, lots of experimentation there in pre-season but I am not sure any of it has worked. With Dom gone and Lia injured, I think they need another body there and I am reasonably optimistic they will get someone.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Oh Tim, you always do that! Who is it? You know you can tell me no one else is listening!

Stillberto
Stillberto

Heh, I don’t have a name Rn! I can say that Janni Arnth has left though.

guest102
guest102

why did she leave?

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

You are correct, however, we have missed Lia. She was huge in our early season success last year whilst being under the radar to many folk but it is no coincidence we struggled once she picked up her injury. Does she have a twin sister?

Fun Gunner
Fun Gunner

Good chat with DVD, nice to see she has so much faith in Jill Roord.
I wasn’t at the game, clearly a lot went wrong in the second half, hope this doesn’t affect the girls’ confidence too much.

Spectator
Spectator

I love DvD, shes my absolute favorite player in the Dutch team. Not only is she a cute good looking woman but she shows football qualities that make her the ultimate all round player. She can pass, she can score, she can control, she can tackle (like a mean bastard sometimes, lol) and she has a great football brain on top. She must be every coaches dream player to work with.
Her only problem is she can do so many things that she forgets her basic task/positioning and takes on too much responsibility for the team. And when that happens she knows it and calls herself a headless chicken. But it comes from a surplus of quality and responsibility, not a lack of it.

Spectator
Spectator

Sorry this is an Arsenal blog I know, but I’ve watched more of her in the Dutch team than at Arsenal. Will try to watch more women’s games as well as the Arsenal men.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Should be easy this season as the FA will be streaming all of the WSL games!

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

Thanks DvdD. An honest insight and re-assuring as to the seasons prospects from the team’s viewpoint. Far more learned from playing (probably) the second best team in Europe at this stage of pre-season than hammering a lesser team. Some may argue that a win against ANY opposition is better for confidence. Maybe.
The defensive midfield position is obviously an immediate problem. Dom was the answer when Lia got injured. Until Lia comes back is it to be a new signing as alluded to by Tim? Or is the solution already there? I quite like the suggestion that Jen could move into the DM position and the redoubtable Louise resumes her highly successful partnership at the back with Leah. One other thing that has been mentioned elsewhere, the physical stature of the Barca girls. Losada & Oshoala seem to have “muscled-up” since their time with us, Oshoala in particular, 3 years ago she was a fairly timid, willowy girl all arms and legs. Nothing timid about that eye watering collision with Jen that’s for sure. Perhaps we should ask Barcs’s dietician what the are feeding their girls on.