Joe Montemurro delighted with defensive form following win over West Ham

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro (left) after the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, Boreha

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro (left) after the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, Borehamwood. Picture date: Wednesday April 28, 2021. - Credit: PA

Joe Montemurro was delighted that Arsenal kept up their good defensive form on Wednesday night as they kept their eighth clean-sheet in a row in the 2-0 win over West Ham. 

Montemurro said: "It’s pleasing because of the manner in which we are doing it, we’re not giving away a lot of opportunities. I can only remember one header in the second half where we got caught at the back post which was their best chance.

"Going back three, four, five games now I can’t really remember teams opening us up.

"The defence get a lot of credit, but the work rate and balance of our midfield and the positioning of our forwards is very important too and I’m very proud of the collective to be able to achieve this."

Arsenal closed in on third spot with the victory thanks to goals from Vivianne Miedema and Kim Little with Miedema netting her 18th of the season taking her level with Chelsea's Sam Kerr at the top of the goalscoring charts on the Netherlands striker he said: "Her football speaks for itself, I’ve said it from day one that she gets her rewards in front of goal but she does the teamwork too.


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"When we needed her to defend she was backing off and finding the right positioning and she helped us to win the ball in transition which we worked on in the week and her selfless nature is so important, that’s what I love about working with her."

Arsenal now just need one more win to secure qualification for the Champions League due to having a much better goal difference than Manchester United Montemurro explained: "Mathematically one win from the last two is enough but we want to keep going in the manner we’ve been going in, playing our football and adapting to the situations and being clinical. We’re in control of our destiny and it’s purely up to us."

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The match turned out similar to the Brighton & Hove Albion fixture on Sunday with the visitors frustrating Arsenal with Montemurro saying: "We expected the game to get quite long and for them to be quite direct and we knew there would be a lot of second balls and second phase of play situations. 

Arsenal's Danielle Van de Donk (right) and West Ham United's Hawa Cissoko battle for the ball during

Arsenal's Danielle Van de Donk (right) and West Ham United's Hawa Cissoko battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, Borehamwood. Picture date: Wednesday April 28, 2021. - Credit: PA

"They’re fighting for points to stay up so we fully expected it to get untidy. 

"From the football perspective i think we were better today than we were on Sunday. We had to adapt and deal with some long and second ball situations but it’s all part of adapting to the challenges you get in a season."

Miedema started as a number 10 with Caitlin Foord as a number 9 and on that tactic he said: "West Ham play with a back five and their three centre halves pretty much stay so what we tried to do was to play more centrally and draw out their wing-backs, so Viv could come short, pick the ball up and change the point of attack.

"Their wing-backs pushed onto our full-backs but that gave space for our wingers to run in behind.

"It was a tactical decision but it was also because they man mark from our goal kick build up so it gave us the opportunity to be direct and go for the ball forwards.

"It was just about having options to bypass their press but also to change the point of our attacks."

The game was played in poor conditions on that aspect the Gunners boss said: "When you play teams that are long the game will get messy because your passing distances become long and you have to be more accurate and revise in terms of finding the spaces.

"West Ham made us play in tight confined areas but we found the solutions and the spaces and I think with more care in front of goal in both halves we could have scored more."

Arsenal are back in action on Sunday when they travel to Everton with a 1pm kick off time. 

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