Sp*rs Women 0 Arsenal 3 Analysis: Gunners overload beleaguered hosts

46

“We knew they were going to defend with two blocks of four, we knew there wouldn’t be a lot of room so we wanted to pull players out through rotations and the biggest one we found was when Jordan Nobbs came inside and Katie McCabe was able to receive the ball a little higher,” so Joe Montemurro told me following Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win at Spurs.

We see here in the opening minute the shape of the attack in the first half, which caused Spurs problems. Jordan Nobbs started nominally on the left but look how far in-field she is in this image, standing in space and leaving room for Katie McCabe to fill the width on the left hand side. You can see that Spurs right-back Esther Morgan is not sure where to stand, she can see Jordan is standing in space but she is also aware that Jordan’s movement has opened up a chasm of space for McCabe. Another small detail to note is that Danielle van de Donk played ahead of Jill Roord yesterday, as we also see in this clip, she is pushed up right next to Miedema, where Roord usually plays.

Wälti finds McCabe and look how exposed Spurs are already, Morgan has to move wide to meet McCabe and Alana Kennedy is frantically trying to track Nobbs in the left half-space. Nobbs receives the pass but doesn’t quite get the cut back right but with their first attack, Arsenal have opened up a corridor of space between Morgan, Kennedy and McManus at centre-half. Again, look how it’s van de Donk pushing into the area for the cross rather than Roord.

Tottenham’s Gemma Davison struggled to track back in this space all afternoon. Look at how simply Jordan Nobbs is able to slide a ball to Vivianne Miedema on this flank just thirty seconds later. This time it’s less to do with the quality of Arsenal’s movement and the poor quality of Tottenham’s defending and concentration. Fortunately for them a questionable offside flag rescued their blushes.

In the first 12 minutes, Arsenal get van de Donk and Miedema into shooting positions from worked moves down the left, with either Miedema or Roord drifting over towards Nobbs and McCabe to create overloads.

Arsenal clearly targeted the left side and a lot of this was down to Lia Wälti’s presence as the left sided centre-half. Lia is, at this stage, superior in possession to Wubben-Moy and she has the advantage of having a strong left foot. Here she picks up the ball from Zinsberger and immediately looks to swing the ball into that channel again to Miedema, who has drifted into that space.

Once again, we see Nobbs in the half space and van de Donk sprinting forward into the area ahead of Roord. Morgan gets a toe on the pass though and Arsenal get a corner. But again, they have exposed Tottenham down that flank.

Spurs coach Rehanne Skinner recognises the issue and switches Gemma Davison to the other flank, as we see in this screen shot.

Having overloaded the left flank again and again, there is an irony to Arsenal’s first goal coming from a move down the right. A piece of miscontrol in midfield from Tottenham attracts Jordan Nobbs from a left central position to a more central position at the beginning of this move and she follows the move as it progresses, illustrating the freedom she has to move away from the left flank.

As the move develops, Jordan has again taken up position in the half-space, this time on the right and, again, Tottenham don’t know how to pick her up.

Jordan receives the ball and moves it over to Foord on the right, who has been a spectator for most of the game as most of the play has happened on the opposite flank. Noelle Maritz understands this is her trigger to move forward and provide an overlap for Foord.

Spurs have switched Davison and Ayane again and Ayane, normally a centre-forward, doesn’t do enough to track Maritz’s run, leaving Worm in a two on one situation.

Caitlin finds the overlap from Maritz and there is a lack of communication between Ayane and Worm, neither of whom track the run of Foord back into the area and Josie Green sees the danger on the edge of the box but also doesn’t assert herself. It’s a great finish from the Australian but, in truth, she doesn’t have to do much to find the space. The goal had been coming, Arsenal had exposed Tottenham with overlaps and overloads from the first minute.

From this angle, just look at the number of Spurs defenders in the area who are not doing anything to affect the play or defend the ball.

Caitlin’s finish does show the benefit of being comfortable on both feet though. Though nominally right-footed, Foord is comfortable allowing the ball to run across her body and opens up the angle to put it into the far corner with her left foot.

 

 

Just a minute after the goal, Arsenal expose Spurs with an overload yet again. As the ball breaks to Jordan Nobbs in-field, just look at the space Katie McCabe has to run into and look at how disorganised that Tottenham back line is.

McCabe delivers the ball to Miedema, who has made an untracked run from deep (NB, if you’re not tracking Vivianne Miedema’s runs, you are not defending very well). Her shot is eventually blocked- by Caitlin Foord.

Arsenal’s next big chance comes courtesy of an overload on the left again. This time Nobbs has stayed wide on the touchline and Vivianne Miedema moves into the half space and Spurs don’t know who should be picking her up. Van de Donk is filling the centre-forward position again to stop Abbie McManus from creeping over to her.

McCabe angles a pass into the space and Miedema gives chase and Tottenham are exposed on that side again. McManus is forced to try to come across and she tries a desperate slide tackle which Miedema evades.

Miedema’s cross is only half cleared to the edge of the area and Nobbs picks it up and shoots but her effort is brilliantly turned aside by Spencer in the Spurs goal.

And from the resulting corner? Well….

Arsenal cut through Spurs again and again by exploiting the half spaces and allowing the full-backs to overlap. Maritz and McCabe both earned an assist a piece in this game. McCabe’s touch map, below, just illustrates how often those raids came down the left too.

McCabe helped herself to a goal and an assist while Maritz had an assist too. Joe Montemurro replaced both full-backs in the second half and Arsenal dwindled as a creative force with the game won.

guest
46 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Story Teller

A professional job well executed. Even when we attempted to give Spuds a consolation goal at the end they still couldn’t score! 🙂 Five more of those results and we are back in the Champions League unless all of the Man Utd strikers score hattricks in all of their remaining games. Also following the criticism of the ref in the last game I thought the ref this time round controlled the game well so fair play to her. She stamped out the niggles early on with a couple of yellow cards and played out the game with a smile on… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Just found out the ref was Helen Conley.
She can officiate all of our games if she wants!

Bill Hall

All the ladies need to do is win their remaining matches and keep the goal difference and we are back in the champions league. And that could be the difference needed to keep players like Viv!

assistantref

Honest question here from someone with limited knowledge of the women’s game: the PR account tweet says “you don’t keep those out” with regard to Miedema’s volley. Is this actually true? I’m not taking anything away from the technical quality required to get the shot on target, but it’s a relatively low velocity shot down the center of the goal. You would expect a male keeper to save that (and in fact, the Spurs keeper gets a hand onto it here, though without the wrist strength to keep it out). Is this just PR fluff from the account, or does… Read more »

Marieke

I think this particilar comment is the same as us calling Viv ‘The Goat’. There is no evidence she is the actual Greatest Of All Time. Your actual question is somewhat of a debate. There are plenty of people who will always say ‘A male keeper would’ve saved it’. ‘Goals should be smaller for women’ and that sorta stuff. I think in this case, the quality of the volley was amazing. It’s something not everybody would be able to do, it looks slow but it’s not THAT slow, some quick reaction is needed. The angle and surprise of it definitely… Read more »

assistantref

It was just an honest query from someone who doesn’t know much about how much difference there is between the two sides of the game hoping for an answer from someone who does, not a “massive existential question.” I don’t think it required such a dismissive response, but judging from the responses, it seems I’ve unwittingly waded into something here that provokes sensitive reactions, and I apologize if I annoyed anyone, as it really wasn’t my intent.

Peter Story Teller

Don’t worry about it, mate!
I’ve seen down votes given on here and you think to yourself how could that comment possibly warrant a down vote?
The only advice I would give is stay away from comparing the women’s game to the men’s because they are played in a very different atmosphere and are light years apart in their stage of development.

Tim Stillman

Fair, apologies if the reply came across as dismissive (and, reading it back, it did). With women’s football there is very often the sense that people have to really fight and argue to justify its existence, or else people talk about it like its aliens without human limbs playing it so even innocent / curious questions can seem to come from a place of demanding justification or else of treating female footballers like they are doing something ludicrous by playing. In this scenario, I would honestly say most keepers in the WSL probably wouldn’t save that due to height (which… Read more »

assistantref

Thanks!

Armchair

Yea, she could have saved it–but it’s seems clear that the shot surprised her a bit–as it might have surprised other keepers– and she was a beat late reacting to it. It can’t be said that she’s a poor keeper as she had a couple of very nice saves on the Nobbs shots, especially the 2nd one.

Viv the 🐐

I think thisis the perfect comment to refer to. It is the same as calling Martins goal against Olympiacos something special. “wonderful strike” hammer”. Have you ever listened to the commentator of the youth matches? You can’t use more hyperboles them him. And this usually seeks through all of PR. And those hyperbols are thrown around very easily in football in general as a hype generator. It is never ever a good idea to bring up comparisons with the male game of football. It is just not a usable and practical comparison. It’s like comparing Usain Bolt to female sprinter:… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

I think you could tell from Becky Spencer’s reaction she felt she could have tipped it over as she got her hand to it as you say and she did deny Jordan a couple of decent strikes which were equally powerful. But then at only 5’6″ her reach is a little limited unlike many of the goalies who are nearer 6′.
It was excellent technique from Viv to get that on target but I’m not raving about the goal as a season’s best as others are.

Eeleen

There is good goalkeeping in womens game, there is good goalkeeping in men’s game. There is bad goalkeeping in womens game, there is bad goalkeeeping in mens game. Goals are and will be scored shooting straight at goalkeeper in womens game and also in mens game. But only in women’s game it results in debate about goalkeeper to goal size ratio.

assistantref

Well of course there’s good goalkeeping and bad goalkeeping; that was the premise of my question. The Twitter account said it was not a shot that could be saved, which is a totalizing claim about the general capabilities of all goalkeepers. It looks like based on the responses here that I shouldn’t have taken the tweet seriously, so that’s lesson learned for me!

Viv the 🐐

To come here back again: I think I heard people say, the keeper couldn’t have done anything against it. I mean that is an opinion, but of what I saw, that was just a glaring keeper mistake that was forced. Opinions are opinions. Just listen to the pundits and what they think and say on camera. Or what some fans say in discussions. You would not share all of those opinions, would you? And so is it with the Arsenal twitter account. It would be like to think football in the same words, as Ray Hudson. Google him if you… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

You admit yourself that you are new to the women’s game so enjoy it for what it is. Like all media you have to be selective about what you believe but you are entitled to your own opinion and that is what this blog comments section is about. People with varying opinions discussing a common theme. You had a valid question and got a variety of answers.
Don’t be disheartened and welcome to the fold. 🙂

Dave Cee

Unless it’s Ospina in goal :))

Marieke

So question to Tim and anyone else who wants to join the discussion. Do we think Joe has been better with his tactics and the way he’s been dealing with the team? I used to be on the ‘he’s a good guy’ bandwagon, then I couldn’t keep that up anymore after the draw and losing twice and I was team ‘Joe out’ for a bit. But I feel like the team is in better spirits and with the injuries he has, he’s been doing ok. I saw so much fire against United again. For the sake of not going insane,… Read more »

Eeleen

For me the biggest thing is that we have dropped our standards so much. I am as happy as anyone about our upturn in form, but it doesn’t change that we have so underperformed. Beating ManU should not be somekind of overachievement, we have so much better squad than theirs. player againt player it is not even close, specially with Heath, Russo and Galton injured. And lets be honest, we were so so lucky to win that game. We scored a owngoal and corner and after that created nothing, and they had multiple better chances. xG difference for that game… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Yup! We have underachieved even if we finish 3rd and win the FA Cup.
You can argue that scraping a qualification for the Champions League may attract new players and retain the ones we have and earn a few more pennies for the pot but if we are nowhere near the best that the WSL has we ain’t going to be in the Champions League for long anyway!
The burning question is what are the Arsenal powers that be going to do about it?

Viv the 🐐

You would again be asking of the ambition of the club, with Chelsea signing 2 of the probably … top 10 players in the world … in half a year?! And City adding not one, not two, but three american WC winning players IN their prime. Holding onto long serving players and bringing in former academy players is nice, but is it competitive in this climate? I question that. I would put into a situation similar to Lucien Favre at BVB: Everyone knew, we will play some sublime football under him and we will build something up. But also, he… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Precisely my question. Should we be happy with simply qualifying for Europe and perhaps snatching a domestic cup when the ties fall in our favour? As a professional sports team the answer should be an emphatic NO! But then we have shown over the last couple of seasons that without changing something (and that includes preventing all injuries turning into months away from the game) we are not at the top level of the WSL never mind at top European level and if this new Europa League equivalent is introduced for women then we’ll need to do less and still… Read more »

Eeleen

This season we had squad capable of competing with City /Chelsea (not better, but capable of competing), but injuries and tactics have meant we are nowhere near.

I fully understand that some fans don’t rate our squad as highly as I do, but even so, that is also on Joe. He is solely responsible for our squadbuilding.

And about squadbuilding… not Mewis, Lavelle or Bronze rescued City a win yesterday, but 20 year old signed from Bristol and 23 year old Arsenal academy product signed from Everton. Press and Heath won’t be ManU’s most influential signings, but Russo.

Viv The 🐐

Yeah, but over a season, differences in quality usually show. And when I remember how Press and Heath destoryed us in the first game …. there was a good difference between. But I agree with your first point, though through Ghost Injuries (that just appear and disappear) we could not play those players. But looking at it. With Nobbs in midfield, there is no real certified weakpoint in the team, apart from Leahs partner? And maybe a worldclass winger? It will be interesting what happens in summer. Though for me I don’t really want Joe still in charge. Though I… Read more »

Viv the 🐐

(Arsenal Instinct kicks in): WENGER OUT!!!!

Ok, well that won’t happen again. But if there is a certified stud available, we should pounce. But I don’t know if something would happen. I just hope so.

Xuan

Just saw the joe announcement. As much as i think he need to go, i dont really have any confidence in the way this club from top to bottom has been run at the moment to trust any succession plan.

Armchair

Chelsea and ManCity are two of the best clubs in the world–top 5. Chelsea was very good before they added Kerr and Harder; they gave Lyon all it could handle in the CL a couple of years ago. ManCity is equally stout. Fans often overestimate the quality of their teams. That’s not to say that Arsenal don’t have a lot of very good players; of course it does–but the club has had serious injury woes and Chelsea have added to their talent in a big way. Did Little play in any of our matches league matches against ManCity and Chelsea… Read more »

Eeleen

I would argue that Joe has made fans underestimate our squad. Our fist choice defence is as good as City/Chelsea and I would argue that our back ups are better than anything they have. Nobody has 4th choice CB as good as Lotte and 2nd choice LB as good as Katie. Viv and Caitlin have scored as much goals as any other striking partnership. Kerr is very very good, but Viv has still more goals. Harder is absolutely world class, but Caitlin has better goal/asssist ratio than her. Differnece has been midfield and thats why Kim and Jordan come into… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Until the last two games I think the whole of the midfield has been defensive. Look at the way we have been playing. Keeper rolls the ball to a centre back, the centre backs and full backs fanny about with it for a bit, and then Leah plays a long diagonal to Katie who has run up the wing or she hoofs it up the middle to tempt Caitlin or Viv to latch on to it. What is the point of attacking midfielders if you are playing the game above their heads? We had to change in the Utd game… Read more »

Xuan

I watched chelsea-wolfsburg, and i can only say after watching wolfsburg play chelsea off the pitch (they really should have won comfortably but somehow lost 2-1), you can only be disappointed as to how far we finish behind chelsea.

Eeleen

And it is probably worst Wolfsburg in years… Atletico, who is struggling in Spain, missed 3 penalties against Chelski in round before. And ManC was completly overplayed by Barca.

Xuan

Yup, all the more frustrating that we cant even compete with these 2 teams.

Peter Story Teller

That is it in a nutshell. Chelsea were outplayed and won again. We did it to Man Utd two weeks ago and because it wasn’t pretty people say we were lucky! Fact is, with the quality we have in our squad, we should not be ten points behind Chelsea in any season with only 22 matches to be played but it is becoming a habit. Finishing 3rd is fine if there are only a couple of points or goal difference separating the top three but the table doesn’t lie and the top two are head, shoulders and midriff above everyone… Read more »

Xuan

They shouldnt be. So it is very frustrating at how the season has been.

Viv The 🐐

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

trugun

I think most people on here would agree that Jordan is most effective in midfield, so why does Joe insist on playing her out of position? if he plays her at all.

Viv The 🐐

To somehow get everyone he wants somehow into the team.

Collibosher

Our goalie made three great saves, all from the same attack, within seconds of each other. She was also impressive in dealing with a couple of crosses, having had little to do but she kept her concentration. But what really impressed me is how comfortable she seems on the ball, regularly coming out of her area as a kind of sweeper.

Maybe she should give Leno some tips?

Ed

Let’s just say yesterday was the polar opposite of a typical Zinsberger performance…

Peter Story Teller

Bit harsh given her recent performances (perhaps not ironically since she signed her new contract) but earlier in the season I would have agreed with you when she had some horror shows!

JohnnyCash

As i said before, without Mead things only get better. We had a lot of options in attack, we played as 11 players team not that 10 players and an unproductive winger who cant pass and rarely shoots.

Ed

You might get downvoted, but you’re right. I don’t understand why she keeps getting selected by Joe…can’t cross, can’t take a free kick, can’t finish, can’t keep her head in crucial moments. Has a freak world class goal once in a while but can’t perform week in week out, give me Lisa or Katie anyday over her.

ArsNick

As with the men’s team the amount of investment in the club is not comparable with Chelsea / Man City (United?) at the moment. With that in mind, Arsenal continue to keep themselves in the discussion , being there or thereabouts is in some ways commendable. However with Arsenals history, is that enough? And the answer in both the men’s and women’s game is NO. Unfortunately being a nice guy, is not necessarily a major requirement for being a successful manager, Joe does seem to be a nice guy, the players all seem to like him, but unless you are… Read more »

ArsNick

Having re-read what I just posted, I realise I am showing my age. Sorry I’ll be sixty in July, most of you will never have heard of Clough’s Forest team, the crazy gang 30 years ago.
My point was CLASS, the reason I’m passionate about this club after more than fifty years supporting them is CLASS.
1930’s Herbert Chapman, the marble halls of Highbury. Arsenal Wengers dignity, all pure CLASS.
If you want to know what I’m waffling about, being brought up to date,just watch Leah Williamson being interviewed on, MOTDX
Pure CLASS .