Saturday, February 24, 2024

Joe Montemurro Reacts to PSG defeat

Arsenal’s Champions League adventure came to an end with a 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint Germain in San Sebastián. Arseblog News had the opportunity to speak to Joe Montemurro post-match. The first three questions are from us, with thanks to Ameé Ruszaki from Goal who asked the other questions.

[TS] On the decision to start with Jordan Nobbs on the bench….
It was a tactical decision, we decided to play with two out and out wingers, we felt that the area where we could exploit them was through their full-backs and Jordan is more of an internal number 10 type, if you want to call it that. We just felt that that is where we could expose them, so it was a purely tactical decision.

[TS] On the physical difference between the teams with PSG playing two competitive games earlier this month…
It was a factor, they are a powerful team with powerful players, the opportunity to play two or three important games prepared them a little bit better that’s the reality, but I make no excuses for that because we played some good football in patches too tonight and we just needed a bit more continuity with that and we could have exposed them a little bit more.

[TS] On whether he should have brought Jordan Nobbs and Caitlin Foord on earlier…
It’s touch and go, I did think of bringing them on a little bit earlier. I just felt we needed to maintain the ball when we did go forward but the problem was that we were coming out too centrally when we needed to come out in the pockets a bit more and work under and every time we did that we had an opportunity to go forward and play in between. It’s all good for me in hindsight, Tim, to say yes and no but yes, it was a good opportunity to go for it more but then you get exposed a little bit more in doing so.

[AR] On having a Champions League quarter-final as your first game for six months…
Big-game intensity, physicality and big game scenarios can only be replicated in big games so the more you play, the more you’re used to them. We haven’t had them but, again, it’s not an excuse, that’s what we had in terms of preparation and we made the best of it and so be it. I’m still proud of the players, the preparation, the ability to give it everything they could under the circumstances and the staff have been brilliant. We did what we could with the circumstances we were given and we make no excuses.

[AR] On the frustration of conceding from a setpiece in the first half…
It is knowing the amount of work we do on setpieces but I don’t point any fingers- they’re moments in the game that we have to be better at as a group. At this level, you will be exposed if you make errors, we made two and we got exposed. They opened us up a couple of other times but we also made a great chance with Kim Little in the first half, but they got into very dangerous positions and we knew they could do that because they play with numbers up top so we had to be smarter in terms of retaining the ball and we didn’t do that in the second half.

[AR] On the performance of Noelle Maritz….
She’s a player that has played at the highest level for many, many years and she has come from a big club in Wolfsburg, we’re proud to have her here. With the squad we are trying to build I was ecstatic to have a full squad available tonight- besides Lydia, I don’t think that’s happened since I have been here. We had opportunities and options off the bench and players that could do things. But the game went they way it did.

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He should make an early sub. He see our player got bodied through out the game and did nothing. Nobbs is crucial, our midfield is not working n it makes viv to drop deep n not in the box when she needs to. Steph should start, our left side is our weak point. Maritz is amazing, she impressed me soo much,she should start as a right back every game. And kim is great, considering shes been out injured for a really long time. Cannot wait for the league to start, to see more what our new signing can bring to… Read more »

Adedeji Abidoye

Think it is time for Joe to leave Arsenal. His big game record is suspect but it is management of such games that concern me more. He has the Pep syndrome who he over thinks everything. Team selection was atrocious, tactics were abysmal and he still waited eons to make any change. Not good enough. Needs to go. He won’t do any better than this I’m afraid.


For me this is another game where Joe overthought it. I love the man, but his need to overcomplicate big games is so infuriating. Just play your best players in the games that matter the most. Lisa and Beth had 5 goals between them in league last year. I don’t know how ready Catley was physically, but it was so so clear from the beginning that Diani will be PSG’s biggest threat. Katie has done well as LB in the league but in that level, she is not good enough defensively. And we may have had some good moment, but… Read more »


Yup, very frustrating. What big game have we won? These players are good enough, but his tactics have been wrong. Just look at that chelsea game in jan.

Very disappointing when you consider the limp display in a 50-50 game.


Not really. Van de Donk is a midfielder. She’s always been a midfielder, and the fact that Montemurro played her quite a bit as a left forward last year doesn’t change the fact that her best position is midfield. She is not a forward, and not a player to put on the wing and expect her to beat a defender like Lawrence, against a team like PSG. What’s more, if you play DVD on the wing, then you’ve got to choose between Mead, Evans and Foord at right forward. IMO both Evans and Mead should flank Miedema, as was the… Read more »


Don’t agree with you. Dvd has been best for Arsenal as foward who drifts inside. Same time, it gives fullback option for overlap, so we don’t loose width in our team with her. I could understand if we played her as 10 or attacing 8, but we played her in double pivot. All her strenghts are neutralized in that position. She isn’t goalthreat at all, we can’t use her pressing. Lisa and Beth on the field together isn’t enough goalthreat. Lisa isn’t one to dribble past players, she has directness and speed, and if you don’t have midfield who can… Read more »


I thought Montemurro would bring some new players on at the half—Nobbs certainly–but he didn’t. I’m not sure how much of a difference Nobbs would have made, frankly, but I would have brought her in –and maybe Roord, too. We did not control the midfield, that was a problem, partly because their athletic forwards tracked back effectively and Arsenal were just not quick and decisive enough with their passing. Maybe putting DVD on the left flank would have been better–but Arsenal weren’t playing Reading or Birmingham yesterday but a much better team. And it may have left us even more… Read more »


PSG is not really an athletic team.They rely more on speed and technique. Arsenal middlefield was obvious to loose battle 3-on-3. The game just show limited abilities of Arsenal middlefielders – in pre-game material i wrote my comment about necessity of using 4 players by Arsenal in the centre of the field. But Montemuro just used the same formation like it was a game against birmingham. And Arsenal lost physical battle too. Defenders were just standing. Williamson played better in attack then defence. Wrong line-up, late substitutions, Montemurro seems to be a good coah to create a team. But to… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I felt there were too many new players in our women team recently. Wenger used to say that more than 3 new players hurt the cohesion of the team. It is a strong team that will remain strong. That’s the bottom line.


I didn’t see it but sad we lost. Thanks to Arseblog for featuring more about Arsenal Women on the site. When we support Arsenal, that means supporting all Arsenal teams. I plan to get more invested in the women’s game going forward.


Thanks to Tim Stillman for the work, as well. Shame about the loss. I guess I know who I’d prefer for the Men’s final tommorow.


There is no shame losing, unless losing because of lack of effort. The girls tried really hard, but it was not our day. Physically PSG was stronger and fitter, probably due to playing extra games. And the referee allowed the physical play which didn’t play to our advantage in this game. I feel she failed to call fouls on at least a couple occasions, especially the one knocked DvD to the ground in our box, but the ball went out as corner for them.
I’m proud of the team and players for giving all their effort. Until next time.

The Kolkata Gooner

Really wanted to watch this one, but couldn’t find a streaming site unfortunately.


The UEFA site streamed the game.


watched it on


Your googling skills require work!


PSG were better from the beginning and could have easily scored 4 or 5. Seems that Montemurro just play the same football from last season – which is not effective against top-sides. Changes were too late. Season is going to be hard.


That PSG team were bigger, stronger and quicker than Arsenal on average and that’s what won them the game. Sure Arsenal were probably better technically but not enough to make a difference this time.


Obvious to all that after 60 mins McCabe and Mead were gassed. But Joe avoided making subs. On the tactics. When it isn’t working you’ve got to think of other ways. Surprising that VvD stayed on as long as she did; and long balls to Viv as the outlet?


I fully agree that Montemurro made a serious mistake waiting so long to get subs in. I am glad he was asked the question, as it was obvious that more than a few players were spent by the 65 minute mark. I’m not sure what he was thinking.


What’s the point of finally having some depth if you’re not going to use it. We’ve been crying out for some depth, only for Joe to steadfastly refuse to use any options from the bench even when he has them. To me, the bigger issue is the sheer lack of physicality in the side. Way too easy to outmuscle, out run, out fight us. I know Joe likes having technicians out on the field but you need players who can show some grit when things aren’t going their way. This isn’t purely on lacking match practice either as Joe refused… Read more »

Highbury Harmony

As per Sky Sports (via Fabrizio Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio) Gabriel has finally agreed to join Arsenal and will fly to London on Monday for his medical and unveiling.

Inflamed Pulis

Agree that Maritz was a bright spot on a day where we didn’t shine. Look forward to seeing more of her.


Considering they haven’t play haven’t play a competitive match for so long, it is understandable to see their sluggishness, but this just validates why Nobbs should have been brought in earlier. Joe’s definitely at fault for the not maintaining that.

But goodness, that was a putrid defending from Williamson and McCabe for the goals conceded. Got away with scoring an offside goal which kept the game close for most of the game, even though PSG should have scored 4.

No Champions league though ?


McCabe was done well before the second goal.
Should have been subbed 15 minutes prior

Fun Gunner

Thanks for the report, Tim. You can’t fault the girls’ effort, so disappointing for them. Match fitness played a big part as did nerves initially – tired them even more. I have to agree with most of the reaction on your Twitter feed. We aren’t a physical side, that’s not our style, but we have to learn how to *resist* physical pressure at least. If we don’t, we will never win the big trophies. We can play around physical sides, or we can match technically skilled sides, but when we play sides with both of those attributes, we are stuffed.… Read more »

Christopher Humphrey

Shame. I had the feeling we would go all the way with this one.
But what do I REALLY know?
“Joe Knows”…….
Lots of interesting observations but at the end of the day Joe sends out the best team he thinks to do the job.
There again! If I had picked the team. Are Kim & Jordan fit? Great. That’s the beating heart of the team sorted.
I’ve just signed “the best left back in the world”. Is she fit. Great. That’s that position sorted.
Onwards and upwards.

Tim Stillman

PSG are a powerful side anyway but I think you could see the difference with them having played two big games earlier this month. I think that made all the difference. That said, Joe has to take responsibility for not making the changes early enough when it’s clear there were lots of tired legs and the game was going against us. I understand his explanation about Jordan but I think you get more control and some of the energy we were lacking with Jordan there. I much prefer DvD in the front line where she can start the press. I… Read more »

Fun Gunner

I don’t know, Tim. I think you’re being a bit too kind to Joe here. I genuinely don’t understand the explanation for leaving out Jordan, but that is probably just my lack of football knowledge. Can you elucidate? That said, there’s surely no reasonable excuse to not start the best central midfield unit in the WSL, or the best left back in the world in the biggest game of the season. And of all the players to replace Jordan with, why DvD? You can never fault her attitude and appetite for a battle, but IIRC, when we’ve seen her used… Read more »


I agree with you Tim but not with Joe’s explanation for not starting Jordan. What does Jordan has to do with which wingers to start? I could understand saying that for tactical reasons he prefered Dvd and Kim and that’s absolutely fair. I personally don’t agree with it, but he knows better. We have Kim, Jord, Jill and Dvd to fill 2 spots. But he said it was because he wanted to start lisa and Beth… are we really going to have to have discussions at Arsenal about playing Jordan wide? She didn’t come to midfield when she came on.… Read more »


Even when JM has a wealth of great talent sitting on his bench, he does, nothing until it is too late. JM has assembled a great team but it needs a better manager to take them forward.


Everyone could see the players were exhausted but the manager did nothing, the subs were too late. Montemurro seems a bit of a flat track bully, when we get to big games he can’t hack it.


Thank you so much for all the Women’s team reporting, Tim. Would love to read match reports from you.

Peter Story Teller

I thought the girls put in a shift but match fitness was obviously lacking. Noelle was a highpoint of the game she looks like a great addition to the squad. In the main we defended well which is not our game and apart from a couple of good saves by Manu PSG did not have that many clearcut chances. What really concerns me is the last three goals we have conceeded have been so similar; driven ball across the box and a striker getting in front of our defender to deflect the ball into the net. Sure the PSG first… Read more »

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