Joe Montemurro reacts to 4-0 win over Everton

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Arsenal ended 2020 with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Everton at Meadow Park. First half goals from Jordan Nobbs and Caitlin Foord but the Gunners in command, with second half strikes from Jen Beattie and Beth Mead putting the seal on a fine victory.

On targeting Everton’s left-hand side today…
We felt with a midfield diamond they would be quite narrow centrally, as soon as we got the first pass and they came out with a high line we thought their left-back would get drawn in-field towards one of our 10s and we found space on that side. It was something we prepared because it was one of the outlets we thought we could really exploit.

On morale in training after being critical of the players after last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City…
The mood has been excellent, we were pegged back in the second half last week but apart from a couple of moments we know we were close to getting a point at a very difficult place. We analysed that game and looked at ourselves and looked at the situation and training this week was brilliant.

On leaving Vivianne Miedema out of the starting line-up today…
It’s not about making statements, we have a squad that understands the way we want to play and having a squad that means we can make certain tactical adjustments. We’ve lacked that in a lot of games when we’ve had a lot of injuries, that can make the options from the bench and the option to shuffle things tactically difficult. The injuries are no excuse, they happen but the reality is we built this squad so that everyone has a chance to contribute and everyone has a chance to advance and score goals and be proactive and today was a really good sign of that.

On being second in the league at the halfway point of the season…
We can only look at the next game would I have liked and extra couple of points, that were there? Yes I would have loved them, but we’re all in, it’s a great league to be a part of, a great competition and there are results happening everywhere.

On the overseas players now not being able to return home to spend Christmas with their families…
It’s a tough one. We’re only following government guidelines, that’s all we can do. We really can’t do any more. There’s no exemptions for sportsmen and women, there’s no exemptions for our situation so we just have to follow government guidelines, that’s all we can do. We’re all in the same boat.

On whether the travel bans announced by the UK government on Saturday impacted morale…
We discussed it before the game, because there was a lot of anxiety, a lot of uncertainty. All of us were looking forward to spending four or five days with our families. And obviously when you haven’t seen them for a while and you want to get back, it’s difficult, but we have to be professional in the way we go about things and there is still some work to be done. We all buckled in and made sure we got the job done.

On playing Lisa Evans and Katie McCabe at full-back today…
Obviously for the way we want to play they are very important both defensively and offensively. It’s just really good to have them both. It’s good to have Lisa involved and good timing to get her back in full swing. Both of them were very good today.

On injury issues easing over the festive period…
We hope so. We hope that there’s no more to happen. But it’s football it’s part of our situation, it’s part of who we are, part of the sport, and we have to accept it, and I hope I haven’t made too many excuses about it, I hope I haven’t made too many issues about it, we just have to accept it. What’s frustrating is you build a team to play a certain way and have a certain depth but it becomes very difficult when options are limited through injuries.

On Jordan Nobbs playing in a wide role today and notching a goal and an assist…
That’s just part of the whole picture of the squad, every player has different qualities and brings different things to the team. There are many games like this where Jordan is outstanding, part of the job of managing a squad is finding the best team for the task at hand, that’s why we have to make sure it’s about the 20 players, not just 11. Jordan has been exceptional in training and she’s been exceptional at everything she’s done and I am so proud of her. We just gave her a little more time to give her that start because she has been coming back from an injury that is a little bit annoying.

On what he said to the players at full-time…
I wished them a Merry Christmas! It’s been a difficult year for everybody and not just from a footballing sense but from a life perspective and we’ve all had different levels of anxieties and restrictions so I wanted to wish them all the best and to thank for them for putting up with me because I am difficult to work with and to look forward to what we think is going to be a really exciting second half of the season.

On Steph Catley not being in the squad today…
She injured her hamstring in training and we’re just assessing the severity of it. I feel for Steph, she was back to her best and finding her rhythm. We do a lot of testing on calves and hamstrings in our strength and conditioning and all the signs were that she was strong in that area and out of nothing, she felt a twinge. We are assessing it now and will let you know where it’s at when we know more.

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Torterrier

That’s how you should be beating Everton, men’s team take note. Great game.

Any chance of bringing in Player Ratings for the women’s team?

A Different George

Just a word of thanks, both for these articles and for your tactics column about the men’s team. Happy Christmas.

Johnny 4 Hats

Blogs is drinking buddies with Kolasinac and apparently it does get awkward.

Torterrier

Thanks for responding Tim, much appreciated. Makes total sense.

I’d rate them all 7+ for today’s game, some really nice football.

Fun Gunner

Please don’t ever bring player ratings in, Tim.

Marieke

“…apart from a couple of moments we know we were close to getting a point at a very difficult place.” It’s what I said last week. Joe doesn’t have the fire Emma or Casey have. He settled in a game we were butchered. Our goal was a mistake by Lucy/Keira. We never should say something like this. Two losses and a draw again next half will put is in 4th if not worse. I enjoyed the game today. I saw clever play. I saw the will to win. But we know the lesser teams (and I don’t want to say… Read more »

Lord Bendnter

I think the men’s team should be attending the women’s team teamtalks

Biggles

Perhaps we should exchange our teams – we may then stand a chance of actually winning a game in the (men’s) PL.

trugun

Amazing what happens when Lisa and Beth are played together on the right, it’s a combination that has proved itself the last couple of seasons, but with Aussie nepotism in full flow only injury allows the tried and tested to flourish!

ag167

How exactly has “Aussie nepotism” stopped Evans/Mead from playing down the right hand side?

trugun

Don’t get me wrong the goalie Williams is welcome between the posts over Zinsi anyday, but when it comes to Foord and Cately if they are fit they play and Lisa sits on the bench and Jordan is pushed out on the left wing. Beth and Lisa have contributed a hell of a lot of goals and assists over the years but this season I think this is the first time they have featured together.

trugun

Joe doesn’t seem to consider left or right sided players Jordan being a prime example playing on the left wing today.
If as you say Lisa has been injured for eight straight weeks then my bad for believing she had been fit to play on certain weeks since 18 Nov.

Matt

Just for clarification – why do you prefer williams over zinsberger in goal?

trugun

She always looks so vulnerable when playing out from the back she has nearly been caught out on quite a number of occasions and once did get caught resulting in a goal against. For the most part Zinsi has been ok but playing out she has got more and more suspect as time’s gone on. Opposing teams are aware of her nervousness they certainly target her much more since the goal. In that and all other areas Williams has up to now looked a lot more confident

Chin

Though it’s a win and on sacrifices by overseas players not able to go home for festive season, but honestly, if today’s opponent was ManU, Chelsea or City, the team will be hammered again….the defence can be quite sloppy at times, and this can be easily punished by the seasoned killers from the big teams….but Arsenal is real blessed to have Leah, she is always the one, with her physicality and mentality to make sure that one can only score over her dead body👏, as good as Julie Ertz from USWNT…..and if Arsenal is seriously going to contend for top… Read more »

Christopher Humphrey

If I’m not mistaken, it was actually a bit of “sloppy” play by Leah that gave Everton their best chance of the first half and Jen a bit of a headache!

Chin

No one is saint, everybody makes mistakes….achievements come from nothing to something…Ericksson, brick wall of Chelsea backline netted own goals…Bronze, FIFA best women player, led Heath and Viv to their goals….

And what I said was “always the one”, meaning not only this particular match, but the rest as well….of course, this remark was made without disrespect to the amazing squad…..

Chin

No one is saint, everybody makes mistakes…achievements come from nothing to something…Ericksson, brick wall of Chelsea backline, netted own goals, Bronze, FIFA best women player, led Heath and Viv to their goals…

And what I said was “always the one”, meaning not only this particular match, but the rest of the fixtures as well….of course, this remark was made without disrespect to the amazing squad….

E-gooner

Tim, weren’t you surprised Viv started on the bench today? Honestly, I was, because this was of course considered a ‘must win game’ – basically all games are right now, if we want to have a slight chance to end (near the) the top of the table. It all turned out well, but we didn’t know that from the start. Joe’s answer to your question about Viv sounded pretty vague to me. What are your thoughts on that?

E-gooner

Thanks for the quick reply!
Hm, weird. Anyway, he also said she would contribute later, and she did. Maybe she was just not completely fit / feeling well – if I were the coach, I would sometimes keep these things to myself. (someone on Twitter mentioned ‘tension’ between her and Joe – I didn’t see that btw)

Xuan

I would be surpised if there were no tension- dont think Viv would be happy by our performance and results in the big games, as it is clearly a mismatch in ambition.

I think she needs a rest anyway, and good to see how we fare without her. Think we should be prepared as i dont think we can keep her.

E-gooner

I think we *can* keep her. No, she’s not completely happy at the moment – she has stated herself that the club needs to do something to keep up with the other big clubs – but on the other hand, she seems to be very comfortable within the team, which gives her a lot of freedom in how she wants to play. About the ‘tension’: sure, there might be some (actually: I think there should be some every now and then), but i don’t think that had anything to do with her starting in the bench today. I was just… Read more »

Rosel

I think she looked angry because the sun was in her eyes!
At this time of year the sun is low and shines straight into the west Stand.
Also she always seems a little grumpy when she hasn’t scored, goes into Panther mode, prowling around looking for scoring opportunity.
Have you heard her interview on the BBC podcast ‘The Players’ ? Very interesting.

Fun Gunner

I was glad to see Viv on the bench. We have more than enough quality to deal with a slightly weakened Everton without her. It gives Viv a rest, it’s good practice for the team if she *can’t* play for any reason, and it gave Caitlin Doors a chance to shine as well. It was actually annoying me that the commentators kept going on about her not starting!

E-gooner

Yes, it turned out we did have enough quality, so that’s excellent. I was just surprised she started on the bench in a game that was considered a ‘must win’.

Matt

Any information on why zinsberger hasnt been in the starting line-up? Havent seen any live games, just asking from a patriotic perspective, me being an Austrian myself 🙂