Williamson: Pressure an advantage for Arsenal Women

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro looks on during Arsenal Women vs West Ham United Women, Barclays FA W

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro looks on during Arsenal Women vs West Ham United Women, Barclays FA Women's Super League Football at Meadow Park on 8th September 2019 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Following Arsenal Women’s opening-day victory over West Ham Women, Leah Williamson feels they can use the pressure that comes with being defending WSL champions ‘to their advantage’.

Joe Montemurro's side dug deep to come out 2-1 winners as they began their campaign on Sunday, resisting a late West Ham onslaught.

"It's added to our strengths that we can see off games like we did," said Williamson.

"The win at Chelsea last year (5-0 away at Kingsmeadow) was so significant that I feel we've had pressure on us since then.

"The fact we've already been through that kind of pressure, I think we can only use to our advantage this year."

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Despite having already lifted trophies with Arsenal, last season's triumph marked Williamson's first league title with the club since joining the first team from the academy.

She mostly played in the heart of the Gunners' defence last season, but this year looks to be more involved in the midfield.

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"We're a very flexible and versatile team so it's another option to have in the bag," the 22-year-old added.

"It was worked on as we had some injuries - like with Lia Walti - so it's never a bad thing to have too many players that can fill in.

"I'm as comfortable there as when I'm in defence. The way we play, there's a massive understanding between everybody regarding our roles, so they're quite easy to slot into.

"Most of the time, we're that fluid with our movement that I end up at centre-half anyway."

Williamson returned to league action after going to her first World Cup with England this summer.

She featured once, making her World Cup debut against Cameroon, and was in Phil Neville's latest England squad which saw her come on against Norway last week.

"I ticked a big dream off this summer which was amazing and I was very happy with that," she said.

"Obviously I would have liked to have had more game time, which is natural, but I enjoyed it and the only thing missing was a gold medal because I think we could have won it.

"Now it's just about doing more of the same. It's a competitive squad with great players so I just need to keep doing the business with Arsenal and eventually more game time will come."

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