Arsenal Women seek Super League boost against Brighton
- Credit: PA
Arsenal are back in Women's Super League action this Sunday as they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Meadow Park.
Both sides come into the game on a high of the back of wins in the FA Cup with the Gunners beating Gillingham 10-0 with the Seagulls getting the better of Bristol City 1-0 with a goal from Inessa Kaagman.
The Gunners will still be without Jennifer Beattie, Viktoria Schnaderbeck and Lisa Evans but Steph Catley could return as Joe Montemurro said last week they would give her another week to prepare ahead of the game with the Seagulls.
Arsenal beat Brighton 5-0 away from home in October with goals from Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Beattie.
The celebration to Beattie's goal was a poignant moment of the season as the Arsenal players grouped around her with Leah Williamson jumping on her back as it was revealed afterwards that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
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Brighton are currently sixth in the league and have taken points from Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea this season, so Montemurro's side will have to be on top of their game on Sunday to win the match.
With only two WSL games after Sunday and the focus on qualifying for the Champions League a win for Arsenal would really put them in prime position to do that.
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Montemurro said it had been a privilege to coach Miedema after she made her 100th Arsenal appearance in the 10-0 FA Cup win over Gillingham.
The Dutch international has 92 goals to her name in that time and Montemurro said: "There's not much more to say about Viv. She does it on the park, she does it in style and it's been an absolute pleasure having been a part of her development and her growth over the past three years. It's been a privilege to be involved with a great person."
On the performance, the Australian explained to Arsenal.com: "These are always tricky games because you don't know what to expect. All credit to Gillingham because they made it difficult for us at times, in terms of just getting into a rhythm.
"But we had to adjust and they're good challenges for the players from a mental perspective first and foremost, because you get frustrated at times when things aren't working for you.
"Also from a tactical perspective to make sure we had to adjust to their randomness in terms of the way they play."
The 16-year-old Teyah Goldie made her debut for the Gunners and on that Montemurro said: "She's an interesting player we've monitored her over the last few months and she's got some special qualities.
"It was a good opportunity to give her some minutes and she showed that she has some really good qualities. I'm sure she'll develop really well through the system."
Anna Patten scored her first goal for the club and on that he added: "She's going to be a special player going forward for the club because she's versatile, can play anywhere along the back four and for her to get the opportunity to score was fantastic.
"It's a great honour for me to see that. I can go now knowing that Anna Patten's scored a goal for Arsenal."
Midfielder Malin Gut played the full game after the international break and speaking of that decision Montemurro explained: "We left it to the last minute to make a decision on her and I left it up to her, I asked her how did she feel whether she felt good to play 60 minutes or 30 and I asked her again at half time but she felt ok. The game got into a rhythm that wasn’t too physical."
Montemurro was asked what he said to the players before the game and revealed: "It was probably a game where we wanted to make sure we had everyone involved from a perspective of rhythm but also looking at recovery leading into the week.
"We wanted to make sure that everyone had recovered well, got the minutes that they needed and that we were able to build for the week. It was a bit of both, in that it was a match from a physical perspective and also a tactical perspective to keep the rhythm going into the next three games which are very important for us.
"We started planning for Brighton and we’ve got a very tricky game against West Ham straight after that, we had to try to get the balance right so we are prepared for the big turnaround with Brighton and West Ham."
Sunday's match will be available to watch on the FA Player with a 2pm kick-off time.