Joe Montemurro reacts to 2-1 victory over Everton

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Arsenal all but confirmed Champions League qualification for next season thanks to a 93rd minute penalty from Kim Little. Katie McCabe gave Arsenal a first half lead before Megan Finnigan equalised with 15 minutes to go.

Little struck with the final kick of the match, the result means that Arsenal need to lose at home to Aston Villa next weekend and Manchester United need to beat Everton and there has to be a 27 goal swing in United’s favour for Arsenal to be usurped.

Arseblog News spoke to Joe Montemurro post match. The first five questions are from us and the other two are from another journalist.

On a nerve wracking second half…
The pressure was on us and it was a different type of pressure to normal, we knew we just needed a result today so we can bring it home next week. We’re a little bit disappointed with the second half because we did everything right in the first half but we didn’t set up correctly for one cross and throw-in. But it’s job done and the character of the girls shone through.

On whether Everton starting with five at the back surprised Arsenal…
It did, yes, we thought they would go 4141 in the defensive phase and use three forward when they had the ball. It really surprised me, they dropped right off and our first goal had to come from a third man run from Katie McCabe. In the first half we were very, very good, in the second it took us a bit of time to adjust but we had Kim Little popping in between the lines more and we were able to dominate again. We created the chances but you need to finalise the game.

On his response to Everton moving to a 4141 formation in the second half…
Correct (Arsenal moved to a 442 in build-up). I wanted Kim to drop a little bit lower in build-up to pull out one of their back four because they weren’t allowing our 10s and our 9s or our wingers to enter into that space. Kim did that and we got in a few times, it was just a case of finalising the actions. We thought we’d just make it more exciting for you guys to score right at the end!

On Kim Little’s stoppage time penalty (which Joe didn’t watch)…
There’s not enough words to describe how brilliant Kim is for the group and on the pitch. She responds in pressure moments and that’s why she’s a world class player. I’ll take your word for it that it was a fantastic penalty!

On whether Everton pushed on or Arsenal dropped off in the second half…
Everton were reducing the spaces a lot better after half-time and we probably weren’t quick enough in terms of changing the point of attack. They came on for 10 or 15 minutes but then they dropped off again after the goal and we started to re-engage and be a little bit more positive. I think it’s as more about Everton being brave and putting more risk in by trying to reduce the spaces.

On Champions League qualification being all but guaranteed now…
We know it would need to be a huge win next week for United and they are playing Everton, we have seen today how tough Everton are to break down. Mathematically it’s not done but we’re confident, you never want to say it’s done until it’s done but we’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position. We’re disappointed we’ve conceded today (after over eight games without conceding) but we’re on a good run. We’ve had three games this week and probably did tire a little bit in the second half.

On finishing the season, and Joe’s Arsenal tenure, on a high…
We need to be in the Champions League every year and challenging, this club deserves it and these players deserve it. We need to be amongst the best in Europe. We were disappointed with the way the season finished last year with it being cancelled and not having the chance to make a run at the top two but we need to be on this platform every year.

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Torterrier

Kim Little is my hero

Marieke

Katie is mine. She showed her excellence again in the goal and her role in getting that penalty.

Xuan

Like the winner against birmingham.

Kampala gooner 🤣

Well done gals. Over to you now boys on Thursday

Xuan

Got over the finishing line. 3 games in 8 days.

Gunner4life

Maybe stop playing Miedema so deep. Joe’s tactics have not be good and it’s clearly time for a change before we lose the best players we have.

Fun Gunner

Kim was outstanding today. She was everywhere, bailing out her teammates as well as orchestrating attacks. How fitting that she scored the winning goal.

Tim Stillman

Agree totally, second half was all about her.

Ed

Props to Katie for once again almost single-handedly securing us Champions League football! In all honesty, not a great performance, but that might be an inevitable consequence of the busy schedule.

Gunner4life

Or the coach’s tactics. Very poor these last few games, playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

Armchair

Last few games? Arsenal has won 8 straight, conceding only 1 goal total. Only Chelsea has scored more goals than Arsenal this year–62 to 61–and only Chelsea has a bigger goal differential–52 vs. 47. Chelsea is loaded with talent, as their appearance in the CL final attests. It can be denied that Arsenal had major injury problems when they last faced Chelsea and ManCity. Whether a healthy Gunner squad would have beaten those very strong squads, I don’t know–but we were not a full strength and struggled. I don’t think Little played in either of the most recent matches against… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Appears to me that some people on here expect to see every game played like an exhibition match where Arsenal dominate and knock in 5, 6 or 7 goals. Reality check: There are some other decent teams in WSL, Everton being one of them, and sometimes you have to play ugly, ride your luck as we did against Man Utd. Chelsea do it all the time and look at the season they are having! The most important thing in a league format is come home with 3 points it doesn’t matter how you get them and as you say 8… Read more »

Gunner H

I consider Joe has been a superb coach with the following “bullet ” points: Consistently adopts clever tactics suited to each game/opponent Excellent recruitment record bringing in players of various nationalities who are suited to team requirements Very good development of academy talent Has had more than our fair share of injuries during his tenure Clearly has a fabulous relationship with the players, who all seem to love him, no easy task with so many different personalities Smart user of substitutes & at sensible times in games Excellent communicator & avoids drama situs developing City & Chelsea currently have first… Read more »

Arsenal_MySkin

Kim never disappoints her fans, especially me, she always gives 100% in every game, her mentality on the pitch is no doubt, Arsenal are very lucky to have her. I only hope that the next coach can bring this team back to glory in the future. coyg

Eeleen

If someone had told me at the beginning of this season that we end the season in a must win game, away against Everton, when most of our players are fit with starting lineup where Viv is in midfield, Kim at Dm, Lia at CB and Jordan at LW, I would have thought they are insane, but here we are. Somewhat fitting endgame for this season and also for Joe’s reign at Arsenal. Intentions are good, we can see legitimate reasons for all those decisions, players play well in those roles, but the team loses something and in the end… Read more »

Xuan

To be honest, Lia has been a revelation at CB because of her passing and positioning. I feel more secure with her+leah/LWM rather than leah+LWM because of her passing accuracy. Case in point was when she came on against brighton and shored things up.

That said, best midfield trio is still Lia-Little-Nobbs. With DvD or Roord as an inverted winger in the front trio.

Arom99

It’s Lia and Lotte cb partnership that is best. They play less risky passes from the back like Leah, plus Lotte is more sound to aerial balls than Leah.. Would like us to get a LCB to partner Lotte next season and if Leah successfully signs then we move her to midfield. That would be ideal

Fun Gunner

You hit the nail on the head.

Gunner H

What a penalty by Kim “Maradona” – and so cool in the last minute!
And talking of cool, Leah’s contribution was absolutely huge today, rarely putting a foot wrong….as was Katie’s, especially the goal 🙂
I felt it wouldn’t have gone to the wire had Roord been on from kick-off.
Lia’s playmaking again excellent – she very rarely has an off-day!
Whilst Mead didn’t shine today, I’d still select her in Team GB’s starting 11 as we all know how sensational she can be!

Obama Young

Lil’ Kim is filthy!

trugun

Arsenal were lucky to win this match , not only fighting against an inspired Everton team but a bad Ref too.

Far too many bad decisions from the Ref and a lot of them she was looking right at. Awful Ref her only saving grace correctly calling the penalty at the end.
Don’t know who is in charge of women’s refs but whoever it is should have a good look at her performance in this game.

Tim Stillman

Next season they will come under the auspices of the PGMOL. The reffing in some of these games is poor but I am loathe to complain because football fans have created such a toxic atmosphere around refereeing decisions that it’s no wonder that nobody really wants to do this job. What we reap is what we sow!

Peter Story Teller

True Tim. I didn’t think the ref yesterday was too bad. We have seen some real attrocities this season but at least the FA have woken up to the fact that the women’s game has moved up to professional level and the officiating needs to improve by a similar measure.
Whatever happened to that muppet that showed a player two yellow cards and still didn’t send them off? Incompetence on that scale cannot be tolerated now TV has a vested interest in the WSL.

Goonersince55

Remember the 2006 World Cup when Graham Poll showed two yellow cards to a Croatian player and didn’t send him off? (A brutal match against Australia). I didn’t see too much wrong with the ref yesterday and I agree with Tim that it’s often a thankless task working under pressures that we have helped create. In the first half I thought it was a very composed performance and I just love watching the way Lia plays, calmly beating any attacker who tries to dispossess her and then making effective passes with either foot. It was very difficult finding a way… Read more »