Arsenal Women grabbed a last gasp 1-0 win away at Manchester United on Monday night thanks to a 90th minute strike from Danielle van de Donk. Tim Stillman was there and caught up with Gunners centre half Leah Williamson exclusively for Arseblog News.
On grinding out a victory against a determined United side…
It feels good, yes. Last season we tended to score early and make it easier for ourselves, the Birmingham game in March went against that trend which is why it was so stressful for everyone involved, especially given what was at stake at that stage of the season, so this game was similar. To have this early in the season for us is good for us.
But we kept the pressure on, we were the team on top and so we deserved this, we didn’t nick it. But you don’t know if the goal is coming or not, so when it did I was going as mad as I did at Birmingham!
On Joe Montemurro saying he ‘wanted to make the team uncomfortable’ during pre-season…
Yeah, you could say tonight was uncomfortable. United are a good team, they’ve got good individuals and the thing for us with a team like that is that you can’t just commit everyone forward because they have attackers that can punish you, which added to the pressure for us. But I thought we played the circumstances very well, we kept the ball and kept playing.
The message from Joe at half time was that the points were there to take and maybe we were a bit passive in the first half. He told us to go at them more, but also to be selfless, this is a game where you need to be selfless in and I think that’s what we did in the second half, that was the difference.
😅 Ice cool from @DanielleDonk!
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) September 16, 2019
On why Arsenal were passive in the first half…
I can take some responsibility for that, it’s down to me to set up attacks from my position, I thought it was just better to get into the rhythm of the game and not force it. We’ve played three very, very different games this week, so I wanted us to find our feet. I think we realised once we started to play through that there were gaps there we could exploit.
On the WSL being tougher than ever this season…
It has and I love it. That’s what we want, we want good games with the crowd on top of the game and I’m very much on board with that. I really enjoy that as a competitor and every single week we have a job to do because there are no easy tick offs in the division anymore and that just makes the league all the better. We talk about growing the league, that’s what we need to see every week.
I said in an interview I did recently that the WSL needs derby games, those are the fixtures everyone looks forward to, in the men’s game those are the fixtures that get everyone talking and that’s what we need in the women’s game. For us it feels great, coming to Manchester for our third game in a week after playing in the Champions League on a Monday night, this is what we want. All of the players felt this was a big game and that is exactly what we want to be involved in.