Following last weekend’s 6-1 win over Reading, Arsenal continued their fine start to the WSL season with a 9-1 win over West Ham in the WSL. Arseblog News spoke to Joe Montemurro after the game.
On fielding the same starting line-up as against Reading but in a different formation…
The game against reading was complete in the team that started and the team that came on. We adjusted a little bit defensively, with a back four this time [last weekend they played with a back three and Leah Williamson in midfield] but the wingers stayed narrow this time so we could exploit the gaps that West Ham allow because they play with a five in the middle.
On Jill Roord’s second hat trick in six days…
We brought in a talented player last year that probably didn’t have the continuity to back up her performances, she would give us one or two good performances and then go missing. We gave her a challenge this year, both from a physical perspective to get her fit to play the way we want to play but more importantly to have that continuity of standards. We always knew there was a special talent there and we are now starting to discover that maturity to continue at that level and maintain it and hopefully we’ve got more to come from Jill.
Only two players have scored more hat-tricks than Jill Roord in FAWSL history. One of them is Vivianne Miedema.
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) September 12, 2020
On the continuity in the spine of the team….
Apart from having a spine that is experienced we also have characters that are able to adapt to different situations and different problems that teams can bring to us. That’s what I am excited about with this squad, whatever solution we need whether it’s in a moment, or a phase of the game or leading up to a game we can find those solutions.
That’s probably the biggest education of this squad now, it’s not about one or two players it’s about everyone and everyone understanding how important their contribution is. We’re just about there with the characters that understand that and that’s what pleases me the most.
On playing Jordan Nobbs wide left…
Accommodating is not a word we like to use, it’s important that we have specific patterns. We study where the weaknesses of certain teams are and we just felt that Jordan is very good at staying a little bit higher and finding space between centre-backs and full-backs. She works as a third number 10 and if Viv lowers, then their centre-backs and full-backs aren’t sure whether to go with her or protect space in behind.
It’s very deliberate, DvD also has that weapon but she’s probably more of a wide coming short kind of lateral player. But when she’s come on we’ve put her more as a central player making runs in behind. It’s great for me because I can play Jordan out there, I can play DvD out there, I’ve got Caitlin Foord and we’ve got Beth and Lisa who are more traditional wingers. It’s been deliberate, but we can play Jordan centrally too. Fluidity and balance has always been something we’ve strived for in this squad.
On Beth Mead’s performances in the opening two games…
From being a traditional nine earlier in her career, she can go inside and outside. She can take players on outside but is also very good coming inside, where Lisa [Evans] is probably more of an over the top and out wide type. Today we wanted Beth to sit in between their centre-back and full-back and start out wide but come inside. That was the tactical reason for her role today. I think her level and everyone’s level has gone up because the squad balance is great. You can see it in the games but the stimulus in training is unbelievable and the quality has been fantastic.
We probably haven’t had that in the last couple of years because of the injuries we’ve had and the thinness in the squad that’s left us with. But as long as it stays like this we will see all players take that extra step because there is a healthy competition that is really, really important in top level football. They all know they have to keep their standards and their professional levels high and that education is so important for the women’s game.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 12, 2020