Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro says he is relieved to have Kim Little and Jill Roord back in the Gunners engine room ahead of Sunday’s match against Chelsea. Both midfielders played minutes against London City Lionesses and Manchester United recently, though Montemurro admits he has to assess whether both players are capable of playing 90 minutes in an intense game like Sunday’s will be.
Roord completed 13 of her 14 passes when she came on against United, a match where the home side’s pressing game caught Arsenal out. Kim Little also added needed composure to the midfield during her appearance from the bench. The Arsenal boss admits that the team missed both players, with Roord coming back from a knee injury and Little a hamstring strain.
I asked Montemurro whether their technical security would be welcome on Sunday, with Chelsea set to opt for the high tempo pressing that United caught Arsenal out with on Sunday, “I suppose it is a disappointing comment, from my perspective that you say that we struggled technically (against United), because that’s our forte. You have every right to say that, because that was one of the major problems on Sunday.
“Absolutely, our game is based around having the ball and being proactive with the ball. That’s why they’ve been recruited and we’ve missed their detail over the last three, four weeks, albeit the results have been largely positive. But the reality is that the mistakes you make during the game you can’t make against a United, City, or a Chelsea. So, we know they’re going to be crucial for the game.
“We just have to assess whether they have 90 minutes and what they have in them at the moment, because I have to question whether they’re able to play the full 90 minutes and especially in a game that’s going to be at a high tempo. So we have to be careful a) for the game coming up, but b) also for our planning. Because we don’t want to put them at risk in a way that could be a detrimental for the rest of the season, because there’s still a long, long way to go.”