Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro explained the decision to start Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs on the bench for last Friday’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Meadow Park. Jordan has been a fixture in the team for a decade and an automatic starter since her late teens but Montemurro opted toplay a midfield trio of Kim Little, Danielle van de Donk and Jill Roord against United.
Arseblog News asked Joe Montemurro about the decision during his Friday press conference ahead of Saturday’s North London derby away at Spurs. “Her reaction has been absolutely amazing like it always is. She trains at a high level and demands that standard of everyone else. Jordan is a professional footballer and there are times where we feel, from a tactical perspective, and it was a tactical decision, that with the balance of the squad against a team who play like United do, we felt it would suit her more to come on and finish the game.
“We’re also playing her where she’s a third ten or an inverted winger or whatever you want to call it and we just felt it was better to have wingers who stayed wider and opened up those spaces rather than playing more inside. It was purely a tactical decision and she understands it, she is a professional and she is understanding of the situation for the team. It’s important that everyone in the group understands their importance in the games whether they are starting or not.”
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Nobbs’ chances of starting against Spurs are hugely increased by injury to Lisa Evans and Beth Mead’s one-match suspension. Asked by Art de Roche of the Athletic how this would impact his plans, Montemurro responded, “It’s something that is part of the balance of the squad. If you’re beholden and hinged on one player getting a red card and it changes the way you want to play, I think you’re already in difficulty.
“We’ve played with inside wingers, false wingers, false No.10s and false No.9s, so it’s a matter of us continuing, whoever comes in to play that role, to understand the situation and adapt to that. No doubt, Beth’s having a great season, she’s been an important part of what we’re trying to do. Will we miss her? Absolutely. I’m sure we have enough to understand the way we want to play to adapt to her not being involved.”