Joe Montemurro reacts to Manchester City defeat

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Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Manchester City at Meadow Park on Sunday in the WSL. Ellen White gave City the lead in the first half, Caitlin Foord equalised in the second half before Lauren Hemp’s late winner. Joe Montemurro spoke to the press after the game, the first three questions are from Arseblog News, the others from other journalists.

On whether Arsenal’s plan was to press Manchester City high up the pitch…
Yes, we were successful in the first half at disrupting their build up, we created, well, not great opportunities but half chances where we could press them a little bit higher. For the goal we had worked on putting pressure on their six in terms of lowering players and doubling up and that worked well. We won the ball and bounced out and got beyond their defence and one of their centre backs got dragged into midfield.

On getting the front four more involved early in the second half…
We wanted a bit more depth in build up and not too early into the first phase of play. I felt in the first half even Leah Williamson was going too early into that middle part of the pitch when receiving the ball from the goalkeeper. We needed to shift either their 10 or their six by coming back around the sides and then we could find the spaces. We did that quite well and were pretty dominant from that perspective at that stage of the game.

On Manchester City taking the initiative after the Arsenal equaliser…
It’s a question we’ve just been asking ourselves just now with the coaching staff and City did show that bit of quality and rhythm straight after we scored and it was their best period of the game. We tried to break the game down because we knew we were under pressure. But when you concede a lot of set plays around the box and lots of corners you lose that momentum. All credit to City, they are a quality side.

On Chelsea and Manchester United losing unexpectedly today…
We don’t really look at the other results, I just found out now, we have our own direction to worry about I can only commend the girls on the fight and the effort. It’s always a tough game against City and they were just able to keep rhythm and consistency better over the 90 minutes.

On Champions League qualification…
We can only control the controllables and that’s for us to be as competitive as possible and play our brand of football week in week out. There’s ten games left and 30 points still available, there’s a lot of football to be played yet.

On three more muscle injuries in training this week….
We’ve looked at every aspect in terms of training loads, the pitches we train on, the loading, when and how we recover and whether what we do is frequent. Recently there has been an infrequency of games and recovery, it’s hurting is because we can’t get into a rhythm.

Unfortunately accumulation of load, playing and not being able to recover properly does hurt you. Probably not in that actual week but probably two to three weeks down the track. I am very frustrated and we are trying to do as much as we can. I wish I had a magic wand I wish I had a direct solution but it’s not that clear cut. We’ve looked at all the data and everything.

On whether Arsenal can still win the title…
There’s a lot of football to play, I wouldn’t count us out just yet. I believe in the squad and what we’re trying to do and we’ll keep fighting, hopefully we can get a full squad back. I don’t think we’ve had that in any game this season, it’s not because I don’t believe in the squad, it’s just that as a coach you want to have the options to make the decisions you need to make. You want to pan normally but it’s very difficult when you plan for a certain player to play and they can’t finish the week’s training. But that’s just the way it is and we’re going to keep fighting.

On Jill Roord…
She’s an important player for us in terms of finding the spaces to go forward it was very important that she positioned herself as the first outlet and that gives Viv an opportunity to find an opportunity in the second phase.

City were making sure that the ball didn’t get to her in the first half but in the second half she was able to liberate herself to keep the ball a little higher up for us to form attacks.

On the first half…
The distancing could have been better in the first half in terms of where we were positioning ourselves. We were struggling to find the distances in terms of getting outlets for the centre backs and full backs to play. That broke a bit of our rhythm in the first half. The game was always going to ebb and flow it was always going to be bits and pieces and we didn’t quite have the rhythm in the first half probably from not playing for a few weeks.

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Nyeck Nyoba

In Joe WE Trust

Falooda

I just can’t bother with Joe anymore. He’s tactically clueless for these bigger games, as he’s proven time and again. It doesn’t matter what bullshit he throws out about changing tactics or training methods, we went into another game completely out of our depth. At this point, I’ve accepted that we will never, ever be remotely competitive in any single game that matters under Joe. And that breaks my heart for what this club used to be and is meant to be. – Why is Viv meant to stick around when we can barely get out of our box, let… Read more »

Tim Stillman

I much prefer DvD in the front three, pressing the opposition and getting the ball in the final third. I think she’s a player you want either starting the press or finishing the move, I don’t see her as a build up player.

Falooda

Excellent point and I completely agree. Moving her back to simply “do a job” has never worked and is always to the detriment of the team. She’s also always been a player that plays her best when on the edge and just seems to have lost that fiestiness and aggression. You rarely see her reacting on the field. When she played in White in the second half, she barely moved at all to atone for it when her teammates were busting a gut to save the team. Just doesn’t seem to be bothered anymore. Its a real shame because I… Read more »

Armchair

Your comments about DvD are way over the top. I watched the game, and thought she played as well as anybody for Arsenal. She had a giveaway? Please: Everybody had giveaways. Wubben-Moye is going to be a good player–but she had multiple bad giveways yesterday in our defensive half. But it’s true: As was shown on this site recently, Arsenal simply are struggling to get the ball into the attacking half/third. The team spends too much time in its own end–and while I thought we handled ManCity’s press better than we’ve handled the press in recent matchup against the top… Read more »

Eeleen

Nope, that I don’t agree with and stats don’t bare that out also. Only part of the pitch where we were same level with ManC were CB’s, although Leah should have done lot better with White’s goal. Yes Lotte had couple of loose balls, but also did Houghton and Dahlkemper and one is Englands captain and other is World Champion. And Leah and Lotte were only players in our team who progressed the ball. They had to do it all by themselves, compared to City’s CBs who had help from every other one. Lotte had 101 passes, with 87% accuracy… Read more »

Eeleen

And about that give away. Watch what Dvd does after she gives the ball to White. She just stands there, when her teammates are scapling to make up for her mistake. Give-aways always happen, that is not the problem. But that reaction is unforgivable. All other Arsenal players are throwing their bodys to block the ball and she just stands and watches. She lets Kelly run past her and she doesn’t move. Even after the ball hits the post, she just stands and don’t go to help others out.

Peter Story Teller

Someone needs to put their arm around DvD and ask her “Whassup?” She is not the player that we know and loved and it is almost like she has resigned herself to playing out her contract, if indeed she can get a game which at present only seems to be when others are injured, before moving on to a different team to be a star again! There seems to be more going on behind the scenes than the management, backroom staff or players are letting on at the moment. Seasoned international players are not performing to anything like their ability… Read more »

Eeleen

Joe is done. I loved the man, supported him, but he is ran out of ideas how to make this team better, and as a result is making everything worse. This game wasn’t close, scoreline flattered us, we should have lost by lot more. He can’t make this team any better, so we either change the whole team or the manager. Until today he hadn’t lost to City at home, last year we won them comfortably at home and now we are miles behind. We are regressing with every game. No-one on the field today played for him. Reality we… Read more »

Falooda

Seems you and I are repeating ourselves after every single game that matters. It really now comes down to whether the club will move on Joe before the likes of Viv /Lisa/Leah do. And given the decision making at the top of this club in recent years, I’m not very hopeful.

canon fodder

This is the worst Arsenal side in living history even though we can boast of some of the best players; it all points to one person. I’m sorry but Joe has to go! The ladies are now looking as bad as the men!

Armchair

The Arsenal injury situation has got almost comical. Two days ago my thinking on this game was: Well, the team has played once in 6 weeks and is going to be rusty and at a disadvatage–but at least Arsenal should be fully healthy, for a change, save for Catley. But no! We learn near game-time that not 1, not 2 but 3 players have again suffered muscle injuries and are out! ARE YOU KIDDING? Two are starters, and the third would surely have got minutes today. I look at our rivals and rarely see injuries. Arsenal haven’t had a full… Read more »

Marieke

For me it’s consistency. I think I’ve seen every single player play really well today. They made great passes, I saw their intent. I saw what they were thinking and how they were trying to read the game and work well together. But I’ve also seen every single player make bad mistakes. Sloppy play, bad passes. Sometimes I see Lotte and I think: ‘She’s really solid for a relatively new and young player, looks like she’s been playing for years, looks so experienced.’ and then later I think ‘Oh god we need Jen back asap!’ And I could praise any… Read more »

E-gooner

I have to say, it does makes sense what he says. Although I’m craving for quotes like: ‘yes, we showed what a quality team we really are, and that’s why we won’.
Hope the girls still can find the spirit to beat Chelsea on Wednesday.
Thanks for the report, Tim!

Xuan

Joe is starting to sound like a broken tape recorder. Wont be surprised of Chelsea takes it out on this in mid-week. May get very ugly.

E-gooner

But even Chelsea lost yesterday. And don’t forget we played one of our best matches against them.

Xuan

Dont get me wrong, i would love for us to win. But it is now about mental strength to dig out a response. So far, very little sign we are capable of it. Look at that reading game.

Chelsea have big players with big mentality. They will be fired up. Cant say the same for our players’ mindset right now.

Asha

It’s a choice between Joe or Viv. I trust the club to make completely the wrong decision, as usual.

E-gooner

Tim, honest question: do you think Joe’s position is in danger right now? Or do you think the club management still trust him to do the job? And do you know anything about the girls’ trust in him?

Tim Stillman

I don’t have any privileged info on the club’s position, but my guess would be they’ll review at the end of the season. I can’t honestly see anything happening before then unless something fairly drastic happens.

E-gooner

Yeah, that sounds reasonable. Honestly, I don’t think it’s all his fault. Amongst other things, it also has to do with the amount of money a club is willing (and able) to invest.
Everyone is sooooo enthousiastic about Emma Hayes (well OK, maybe not after today ;-)) but look what an enormous investments they made, squad depth / strength wise. Same goes for City and United. Those clubs obviously want to spend money and are able to do so, something I’m not sure of regarding Arsenal.

Eeleen

But this is false narrative… Our women’s team budget is bigger than United’s and at least the same as City’s. We were able to get the player that Lyon wanted in the summer. It has not been about investment (nobody knows what happens about that in the summer).

E-gooner

Is it? I know it used to be bigger yes, but from what I’ve been told, the other clubs decided to heavily invest in the women’s game, whereas Arsenal’s budget has stayed the same over the past few years, and we’ve been overtaken by Chelsea, City and even United.

Peter Story Teller

It’s not just about budget though, is it? We brought in some good players for this season which, as usual, have spent most of their time in the treatment room. The team that we have, even with a couple of absentees, are good enough to give top clubs a run for their money and wipe the floor with the lesser clubs. Problem is our group of players are not playing like a “team” at the moment. There is little communication or intuity between them they all just happen to be playing in the same direction. That, I am afraid, comes… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

As someone else said imagine if we had Casey Stoney or Emma Hayes directing this group of players!

Falooda

Waiting for something drastic to happen before making the obvious call months after it was due is exactly the type of nonsense indecision that has plagued this club for the last 10+ years. At this point, what more can they possibly hope to learn or gain by keeping Joe around? As it is, I suspect you’re right and that something drastic like Viv/Leah leaving will cause them to make the obvious decision in hindsight. And it’ll be too late, as has become standard for the club.

Eeleen

I understand why club might like to wait till May to reassess Joe’s position, but for me problem with that is Joe is solely responsble for signing and resigning players. And in normal times signings are not made in summer but in reality talks are already going. If Joe goes, we sould not want the new manager be stuck with Joe’s players. I was all about waiting till the end of the season until Manu’s new contract. Last time we got lucky, because Perdo was actually very good at assessing players, just could not form a coherent team from players… Read more »

ForeverHopeful

This Joe guy is so lucky to still be in a job. He keeps on coming up with the same explanations/ excuses each time they lose to a top team in the WSL. He’s taken the team on a downward spiral for over a year now. Needs to go!

Peter Story Teller

To be fair Manu had a better game today after all of our criticism during the week. She got a hand to White’s volley but it was such a good strike she couldn’t push it out and no one was stopping Kemp’s header. She did make a couple of good point blank saves though! Everyone is saying what a disaster today was. Did I see the same game? We were playing Man Citeh who everyone agrees is a top team with world class players and we kept them down to 2 goals and did create enough chances to actually win.… Read more »

Armchair

Ha: Monte’s in-depth, postgame tactical analyses would be all the more impressive if Arsenal had managed to win any of these matches.

Christopher Humphrey

From “hero to zero” in 18 months. I have met and spoken to Joe a couple of times, I like him and believe him to be an honourable man. I reckon he will resign if he feels he cannot take the team forward. In reality the turning point in Joe’s fortunes came 13 months ago with the 1 – 4 mauling at Meadow Park by Chelski in front of a full house. Joe admitted then that he got it wrong. Since then very little has gone right. Some of this can be assigned to Joe, some to the players and… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Many similarities between Joe and Mr Arsene Wenger I think. Both likeable, intelligent men but also with a stubborn streak. When they first took over their respective teams their “idea” worked well and their teams propered. The problem is everyone else cottoned on and could prevent that idea from working but both bosses persevered with the idea to avoid admitting it was no longer the only way to play. Effectively it brought down the once mighty Wenger and I fear that unless Joe can build some unity into his team and come up with some alternative tactics to mix the… Read more »

Bill Hall

Thanks for the good memories Joe but it’s time for a new manager before we lose our best players!

Peter Story Teller

Just read a report that the interim England Manager has left Meado out of the squad for the upcoming friendly because she has not been playing well apparently but has included Leah, Lotte and Jordan, who has hardly played at all!
It’s not just Joe and the Arsenal fans that are confused it seems.
Still no radical changes with 10 Man City players in the 20 and to think Phil Neville has left!

Eeleen

I am not confused about any of that. Beth doesn’t compete for her place with Leah, Lotte or Jordan. She competes with Hemp, Kelly, Kirby and Parris. And all those mentioned above have been better than her this season. Widefoward is probably Englands strongest position with all those players. Beth has a lot of work to do, to get ahead of them. We saw Sunday just how good Kelly and Hemp were. Kirby has been WSL’s best player and Parris plays for the best team in the world. Leah Galton from ManU has been also better than Beth this season.… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

My point was that Meado was excluded on the grounds of not playing well when Jordan hasn’t really played at all so how can anyone determine her form?
I would rather none of our girls go actually, as it is a pointless match to risk yet more injuries for a team that may change personnel once the real new manager arrives in the Autumn.