WSL: New era begins at Arsenal
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The Joe Montemurro era gets under way in earnest at Arsenal this weekend as attention turns back to league action in the FA Women’s Super League.
The Gunners appointed the 48-year-old Australian in midweek and Montemurro comes in to replace Pedro Martinez Losa, who departed the club after three years in charge in October.
On Sunday, Arsenal roll out the red carpet for Sunderland, having been undone by a piece of magic from former Gunner Fara Williams in a 2-1 defeat to Reading in the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup in their last outing.
Before that, they had put five goals past Millwall Lionesses and in their last league fixture, they triumphed 2-0 at Everton.
Sunderland’s last three matches have thrown up a mixed bag of results as they beat Aston Villa 3-1 in the cup but were held to a goalless draw at Durham, also losing 4-1 to Liverpool in between in FA WSL 1.
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There was nothing doing when these two teams met in the FA WSL Spring Series earlier this year.
In April, Arsenal’s title charge suffered a hiccup as they travelled to the Hetton Centre and were unable to find a way past the Black Cats in a goalless draw.
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Sunderland skipper Lucy Staniforth will be looking to keep her foot on the gas after opening her account for the season with a brace in her side’s victory over Villa at the start of the month.
The 25-year-old midfielder made her Black Cats debut as a 16-year-old and is in her second spell with the club following stints at Notts County, Bristol Academy and Liverpool.
Arsenal’s ex-Sunderland striker Beth Mead said: “I think Arsenal is a club known for free-flowing football, playing the ball and being calm on it, and I think we’ve been doing the opposite of that at the moment.
“I think we need to dig deep and find that again to really bring out the performances.
“I think it has been tough as we’ve been trying out different personnel, as well as different formations.
“The girls have been tying their best to get used to it but I think we need some more consistency within everyone in the team, as well as in the quality on the pitch.
“I am sure we’ll be able to bring that quality back out again in the next game against Sunderland.”
*England face Bosnia & Herzegovina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Walsall FC on November 24 (7.05pm). Buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at thefa.com/tickets.