Joe Montemurro reacts to victory over Aston Villa

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Arsenal were 4-0 victors over Aston Villa at the Bescot Stadium on Sunday thanks to second half goals from Vivianne Miedema, Jordan Nobbs, Katie McCabe and Lisa Evans. Joe Montemurro spoke to the press post match. The first three questions are from Arseblog News, the others are from other journalists.

On whether any tactical changes were made after half-time or whether the first goal just changed the game…
A bit of both. We knew that they play with a block of three in front of their back five and we had to pull out that middle three. The reality was that while we worked on getting around that bank of three we could have gone around them vertically more often because there was room. Once we did that in the second half we got more joy to get more opportunities. We tried to go around rather than being a bit braver and going through centrally.

On the return of Jordan Nobbs…
We all know Jordan’s qualities and it’s been an up and down season for her because of injuries and other things but it’s great to have her energy and her leadership back, it’s something we’ve missed in some of the bigger games.

On Jill Roord playing at number 10 ahead of van de Donk and Nobbs…
She’s a player who can attract a couple of players and keep the ball for us with her strength and wait for players working underneath, which might dislodge a defence or dislodge a back four. She has different qualities and DvD and Jordan are more players who work behind the lines and Jill is very good working underneath the line. If we have her and Viv coming underneath and then players going over it’s very difficult to defend and Jill just brings that quality.

On having a high number of shots from outside the area…
We’re a team that don’t like to waste opportunities in and around the box and sometimes you’ve just got to in the mindset to make sure that if you are going to shoot from distance that it’s going to be on target or close. They got very, very deep and once we started to play through their lines their middle three got very deep as well. There was one time I counted their entire eleven between the six and 18 yard lines. We had to find different ways and one of the ways is shooting from distance.

On having lots of set pieces with little joy today…
That’s a question for my set piece coaches but I guess I’ll go into bat for them today! We’ve scored a lot of goals from setpieces and we’re not a team that just puts it in there and hopes for the best, we try to create something. There were times when we probably could’ve played through them and around and we didn’t and Villa defended very well in the box- you have your good days and you have your days where you just don’t execute but it’s something we work on a lot.

On getting a first win of 2021…
Most teams have played more game than us this year but sometimes you just get those situations and the scheduling has been what it has been and you accept that. To have only played four games in two and a half months is not easy but today was a good rhythm game, we found a good rhythm and we found a bit of our belief and our way of playing again. I was very happy with that even at half-time when we just needed to tweak a couple of things to get the result and that’s great from a coaching perspective when you only have to make small adjustments knowing that you’re in control.

On Vivianne Miedema being substituted after her goal…
The Dutchies had a big week, they played Germany on Wednesday so they had a short turnaround and they played two tough games so we planned to take all three of them off if we could. They’re all good and everyone is in good spirits.

On there being no margin for error in the race for a Champions League qualification spot…
We made a pact to get back to where we want to be in terms of performance, it’s all in our hands now and we need to keep our confidence and belief and to keep smiling.

On Beth Mead’s performance after being dropped from the England squad…
I can only commend Beth, she as disappointed when she initially didn’t make the squad but she’s just gotten on with things and worked harder and asked for more information and she wants to prove she is the player we know she is and you saw today how dangerous she was every time she got the ball and she is just a pleasure to work with.

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dirk

normal service resumed, crisis what crisis

ilikecheese

JOE OUT!

AWFC1

Does anyone know what his answer on Jill playing 10 means. I get he’s using specific football terminology but I’ve still no idea

Tim Stillman

What he basically means is that Jill comes short for the ball, holds it up and takes defenders with her so that other players can run in behind to the space left by the players she’s attracted. I have to say I don’t really think that happens if I’m honest but that’s what he means.

Armchair

Roord is also a player who can belt it into the net from top of the box, which is another reason to have her at 10. She is also, like DvD, pretty technical, which helps when you’re in crowded space near the box.

Fred

I don’t really see Roord as a technical player in the slightest. With all due respect to her as a player, I don’t think she’s at the level to start as a 10/false 9/inside forward/wide forward for us. When she receives the ball it just seems to ricochet off her foot, and I don’t think her physical traits compensate for the fact she doesn’t have great spatial awareness or a great touch. She can score a nice goal or two, but then again so can most of our players. You can forgive a few sloppy games and I get she… Read more »

JohnnyCash

When someone can play as one of the attacking trio of Holland national team, or as attacking middlefilder in Arsenal, or in defensive position when needed, and do it without technique, touch and awarness, it seems like football is very very simple game!

Fred

I’m not really sure what you’re getting at, but I know there are a lot of Dutch fans who don’t think she should be a starter for the national team, and a lot of Arsenal fans who don’t think she should start for us. Most footballers can do the basics right, I just don’t think Jill gets them right often enough to take us where we want to be. It’s not a slight on her as a person, I just don’t think she suits our style of play. I think she’d be good at a smaller club where she can… Read more »

Armchair

I think she will be starting up front for the Dutch at the Olympics, though it’s not quite certain. She hasn’t been able to break into the starting ranks of the Dutch midfield–but then it is a well-established and successful trio.

Tim Stillman

Her pass completion percentages are in the 90s usually (other than when we play Chelsea) but for me that’s kinda the problem. She helps us to keep the ball but not to do much purposeful with it. I also think she occupies the spaces Viv likes. I’d much prefer Jordan in the centre, even if I think she’s pretty decent wide too.

Eeleen

I think that the way Joe is using Jill this year, doesn’t make sense at all. Playing Jill at 10 so high, makes all our other players worse. Like Tim said, she is in Viv’s space. Viv had most assists in the league last year when she had Kim, Jord, Dvd running of her. This year she has 2. Kim and Dvd have been shadows of themselves and their goals/assists have tried off altoghether. Jordan has been ok from wide, but yesterday showed that the time she spent in midfield, we were much better. I also think that her physical… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Spot on! Are you available when Joe finally leaves? 🙂

JohnnyCash

Imho, Arsenal middlefield without Jill is just a bunch of technically gifted but light and physically weak players who cannot fight for the ball. It seems also, that she is the only player in the centre who can both attack and defend. Others are limited in their versality, and that is why we always have troubles. We have very good players but they are not for the 4-3-3 system. Wälti is 100% defensive like Kante who was good in Leicester but useless in Chelsea in their 4-3-3 formation. DvD is a free attacking player who dont work in defense so… Read more »

Fred

JohnnyCash, just about every single word of that is factually incorrect. Bless your heart.

Eeleen

Give some facts and stats to back of your claims. You say these thing, but they have no connection with reality. I will give you my stats… Physicality: arial duels won: Kim 53,8%, Dvd 64,7%, Jord 20%, Jill 33,3%. Now compare their sizes. Disspossessed per game: Kim 2,29, Dvd 1,59, Jordan 0,94, Jill 1.98. Ball carried foward (yards/per game): Kim 57,2, Dvd 86, Jord 104,3, Jill 50,1. Attacking: Progressive passes recieved: Kim 4,26, Dvd 7,20, Jord 8,68, Jill 5,52 (and think how much higher Jill is than Dvd or Kim to be recieving those passses) Dribble success: Kim 75%, Dvd… Read more »

JohnnyCash

I think we have very good players. But middlefielders in 4-3-3 must have both defensive and attacking abilities. Like Wijnaldum or Henderson in Liverpool. DvD is small and light. She has great defensive statistics but I just dont remember her tackling or heading. And i cant imagine her winning a tackle against Chelsea or other physical side. Still she is great player with speed, technique and creativity. But not for our system.

Eeleen

You don’t have to imagine Dvd winning tackles against Chelsea. You should just look it up.
In last game against Chelsea:
Tackles: Dvd 5, Jill 0.
Headers won: Dvd 3, Jill 1.
Aerial duels won_ Dvd 100%, Jill 50%.
Succesfull pressures: Dvd 11, Jill 3.
You not remembering it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.
PS I don’t think that Dvd has been good enough for us at all this year. But in reality Jill has been worse. And Dvd could use playing out of position as excuse for poor form.

JohnnyCash

But what is HER position? How we should play? Look at Chelsea, everybody is in their place. What is Arsenal pefrect 11? We dont have it. We have a small blanket that would be short whenever you pull it.

Armchair

You have to account for injuries. Didn’t Little miss both of the most recent ManCity and Chelsea games? Walti missed a big chunk of the season. Roord missed some games with a knee knock. We had Gut start against ManCity, I believe. According to the stats you posted–and where did you get them?–Dvd is our most consistently solid midfielder–and yet fans here have been criticizing her all season. What is our best midfield? Which trio can get the ball into the attacking half most dependably against ManCity/Chelsea/ManU? What is our best starting 11? Who should our starting forwards be? We… Read more »

Eeleen

I get my stats from fbref(.)com. For me probably the best database for WSL stats. Ofcourse you have to account for injuries. Also you have to account in Arsenal’s case, that games against top 2 and rest are totally different, which have impact of stats. Drubbing WestHam 9-1 have unproportional effect in our attacking stat and so on… Midfield of Jordan, Kim, Lia have still not lost a game in league. It may have some problems with size (Jill is not the answer there, because as those stats show, she is not physical player, even is she is big) but… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

“we could play Noelle at LB, Lotte/Anna at RB, move Katie to LW and have one of Beth or Caitlin at RW.”
Trouble is we don’t, do we?
Even with proper backline players Lotte, Anna and Leonie fit and on the bench we play Katie at LB to reduce her effectiveness in attack, then put Jordan on the wing!
You don’t see Chelsea or Man City putting their creative attacking players in at full back with dedicated defensive players on the bench but what do they know???

Xuan

Jill is a conundrum player. I havent been up-to-date on what is happening on the Dutch front (whether she is a starter) but i think teams (the Dutch previously and Bayern) have always struggled to fit her in, while recognising her immense potential. The first 2 games of the season were full of promise, but since turned out to be a false dawn. One player i look at, in a bid to find answers is Sydney Lohmann of Bayern. Very similar player, but Lohmann is now thriving with goals in a no10 position and cemented her place as an all-rounder.… Read more »

Eeleen

For me Jill is 2nd striker, but not a midfielder. We can’t give away player from midfield to accomodate her. Also she, Foord and Beth do the same thing on the field, but for balance probably only one can play at time. Jill in midfield works if we don’t need midfield to progress the ball and she can be spare player. But against top oposition, we don’t have that luxuary. But most importantly she needs to move away from space Viv is, because it is unforgiveable if we have to move the best striker in the league away from goal,… Read more »

Armchair

You underestimate her technical abilities. Her ball skills are quite strong, she can play in tight spaces–and she is a talented attacking player. She’s…23. One could argue about who should be starting in the midfield as Arsenal have 5 good, experienced players in that unit. I’m curious to know who you think the “right player” is to take Arsenal back to the top. I do think Arsenal need a bit more Spain-style ball-movement/chemistry to beat the quick effective pressing we face from ManCity and Chelsea. But injuries have played a big role in Arsenal’s recent struggles. They are not the… Read more »

Man Manny

At long last, dear Joe is reacting to a win!

Viv the 🐐

I already thought about the reactions if he would not react to a win. But I take this one every day of the week. 😉

Christopher Humphrey

A game of patience against a well marshalled Villa back 11.
Some clinical finishing and what is becoming a lethal left foot of Katie.

Marieke

“We made a pact to get back to where we want to be in terms of performance, it’s all in our hands now and we need to keep our confidence and belief and to keep smiling.” This is still not a hungry, determined, fierce, trophy-winning, motivational coach. Believing things will turn around and that you’ll eventually beat the bigger teams, won’t make it happen. I guess we’ll just have to trust the girls when they say he’s a great coach and the atmophere he creates is incredibly benificial to a lot of them. (His laid back style makes this club… Read more »

Xuan

Too late for anything this season other than to rescue the last uwcl spot, which was the minimum. Wont be surprised if there are personnel changes after the season.

Tim Stillman

I think that’s a slight misread, in fact, I think his close to the bone comments after defeats are more an issue. Viv was dropped for a game before Christmas which isn’t part of a laid back atmosphere.

Marieke

Maybe it is different than in my head. Jen recently said on the ‘The Players’ podcast “He has this unbelievable skill of having this relaxed culture… for an elite club it was a super relaxed environment, that for me was a breath of fresh air. Because Man City, as much as I loved my time there, was really really intense.” To me that always meant he makes everybody comfortable and sure enough they are professional and do what comes with, but his goal is always to make everybody feel good and have a relaxed atmosphere. And I’m questioning whether that… Read more »

Elise

this is not about the game itself, but who scheduled a video of Bethany England looking back at her favorite game (their 1-4 defeat of Arsenal in January) for the halftime of an arsenal game in the fa player?!

Viv the 🐐

Yeah, I closed the player and watched something else for the whole half time. Had a similar thought. Hope we can do that the other around sometime in the future.

Marieke

I saw it before and I couldn’t help but think, this is why Chelsea are winning. They came to Meadow Park with 1 goal, to hurt us. They didn’t forget, and they will never forget what we did to them. We haven’t for a second had the same reaction after that defeat last year. We should be talking about how we have a bone to pick with them and how we cannot accept that defeat like that.

Peter Story Teller

The reason Chelsea win is because Emma Hayes tells them that if they don’t win they are not in the team. She is not there to be the players’ mate. They don’t care if they have to play ugly football or get a bit physical provided they win. Us, on the otherhand, are so fixated with playing in a style like a chess match and creating perfect opportunities we drop points we cannot afford. The one time we played Chelsea at their own game, the Conti final, their fethers were ruffled and they didn’t like it. We were unfortunate not… Read more »

Armchair

We had Chelsea beat in the first match this year and then they scored the freak lucky goal at 90′ or so to gain the tie. Had Arsenal won that match, as it deserved to win it, things would be a little different now.

Fred

Katie, Lia and Jordan were fantastic today. Nice to see Viv get back on the scoresheet. Maybe a bit of a worrying sign when a LB has a pretty strong claim to player of the season but I digress. Would love to see Maier/Maritz as full backs and Katie on the wing, she always seems to drive at people and make things happen in the final third.

Peter Story Teller

A temporary fix left back at that!
What does it say about Joe’s opinion of Leonie if, in the absence of Steph and Viki, he starts Katie as full back rather than a German international full back albeit on the right hand side!
After all we were playing Aston Villa not Chelsea or Lyon!

Peter Story Teller

Pleased with the win and the points obviously. No idea what Joe is on about in the post match interview but I have given up being bothered by what he says any more. However, my concern is still there since Villa handed us this game. They just tried to defend for 90 minutes and hope that Larsen might grab something on a break. The stats tell the story: we had 78% possession, 30 shots and 12 corners to nil away from home. If Villa had set themselves up to press like Reading did rather than just concede the ball and… Read more »

Tim Stillman

But I think Villa and most teams outside of the top 3 just aren’t capable of playing that way, which is why our record is so good against those teams. It’s not that they don’t see that pressing is a good way of getting at Arsenal, it’s that they can’t do it, they don’t have the players. Pressing in a coordinated way is difficult and requires top calibre players, it’s not just running around. Pressing is an attacking strategy and if you get it wrong you leave loads and loads of space. This is just a bit like saying ‘if… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Get what you’re saying Tim but reading the post match comments you would think all of our issues are resolved when they are not. Whatever the reason, whether it is the quality of their players, their tactics, etc. Villa were there for the taking and offered virtually nothing in opposition. Our players did not need to be at the top of their game merely be patient and wait for the chances to open up. An away 4-0 win looks good on paper but we will still suffer excessive injuries and struggle against teams who turn up and attempt to win… Read more »

Eeleen

Villa have one of the worst defences in the league (only Bristol have conceded more). Signing Iwabuchi has made them better in attack, but in defense they are as bad as before. If they opened up a little, we could have run through them ie WestHam in that 9-1 game. This is all they have.

Peter Story Teller

Yeah get it! That is the best Villa can muster and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them relegated this season. Bristol leak goals but with Salmon and the confidence that a couple of recent decent performances brings they could yet leapfrog Villa.
The problem is people are talking as if we had a good game when in reality it was just the same as usual but against a poor side.

Goonersince55

I was pleased with the way we won the ball in the centre of the field, though admittedly Villa didn’t have the numbers there. I still felt there was a lack of confidence in the attacking build-ups but luckily the pressure finally told. I also thought it worked better when Jordan came in more centrally rather than being stuck on the left touch line. And there must be a way of taking advantage of so many corners! Let’s see it as a move in the right direction leading up to the key match against United…

Peter Story Teller

I find the crappy short corners totally frustrating. I understand sometimes to mix it up but when you have Jill, Beats and later Caitlin in the team boot a few at the goalkeeper and get one of those to run in to challenge for the ball. Far too often a corner results in the ball being back in our own half with Lia or Leah after just 3 touches so where is the advantage in winning a corner? Agreed, Jordan should be in the middle with Katie out wide but Joe needs to sort out the left back role instead… Read more »

Armchair

Who would rather have on the left up top—McCabe, Foord..or someone else, even Dvd? McCabe can whip in crosses with her left foot, which I think we are missing. She can do that from the fullback position as well–but not so often. Foord is a different player. I don’t think Monte knows who should be starting–and where–and this is a problem.

Peter Story Teller

I think the other thing is Joe gets so entwined with this flexibility thing rather than playing to strengths. Yes, Katie can whip crosses in while playing full back but if she had a proper LB behind her she wouldn’t have to run the length of the pitch every time to do it and, in theory at least, a dedicated LB would probably be better at defending too although to be fair to Katie she has done a reasonable job in that role.

canon fodder

Unfortunately, the win was a bit of an anti-climax; too little, too late!

Viv the 🐐

No win will cover up the horrendous performances in our bigger games, and this is only damage limitation. Sounds very harsh, but if we want to progress, than we should see it as so. Personally I would be surprised, if Joe is the manager for next season, though it’s the Arsenal: anything can happen, so … Let’s see.