Arsenal WFC are 3rd in FA WSL, 2 points ahead of City (who have a game in hand). They've played draws to Reading & Chelsea while losing to City & United.
They seem not very comfortable building out the back, seemingly lost the zap in possession.
Will they make the UWCL? pic.twitter.com/Uo5EljwliA
— Yash (@Odriozolite) January 22, 2021
As you can see from the above graphic, Arsenal are spending a lot more time with the ball in their own third this season compared to the last two seasons. They haven’t been able to progress the ball into dangerous areas as frequently and I asked Joe Montemurro why this is and whether it was a cause of concern to him.
“It’s something we really started looking at in November, we were playing against some pretty deep blocks that were just sitting. One of the things we looked at was to lower more players so that we could drag them (the opponents) out a little bit. The problem we found is that they’re not coming out, they’re staying there.
“So part of it is that we are waiting and waiting and keeping the ball a bit in our defensive third when we might be able to go forward a little earlier. We probably haven’t been positioning ourselves well enough in the half spaces between opposition lines and finding those pockets. That ability to play the vertical pass hasn’t been on as much.
“We have found the block of teams, especially in the middle third, to be a lot deeper and more connected to their back third which makes it difficult and that probably explains why we are keeping the ball a lot more in our own third.” However, the Gunners boss says it’s not a huge worry for him, “It’s not really a big matter of concern but there are probably times when we could penetrate a little bit earlier.”