Lydia Williams shines in debut Arsenal season
- Credit: PA
Lydia Williams turned 33 last week, but the Australian goalkeeper has certainly made a positive impact at Arsenal since her move to north London last summer.
Williams joined the Gunners from Melbourne City and has made a big impression in between the sticks playing in the high pressure games away at Manchester City and Chelsea.
Williams is a big presence in goal for Arsenal and kept six clean-sheets in her nine Women's Super League games during the 2020-21 season.
The Australian International had a 64 per cent save rate and also controlled her box impeccably well taking the pressure off her defence that would sometimes have been a make-shift back-line due to the amount of injuries that the Gunners sustained.
Joe Montemurro likes to rotate his goalkeepers and Williams would have made her debut earlier than she did but she sustained an ankle injury when she arrived in north London that kept her out for sometime.
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However she made her league debut against Birmingham City in December and didn't look back bringing a lot of quality and stability to the Arsenal back-line.
Williams is very good with her feet an attribute that is very much needed to become an Arsenal goalkeeper as they need to be able to start the attacking play from the back.
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The keepers contract expires at the end of the season at Arsenal but could stay on at the club and that would certainly be a good move due to the impact she's had since her arrival, she is a safe option in the middle of the goal.
Williams also has a 92 per cent clean-sheet rate a pretty incredible statistic showing just how safe and confident she is, the 33-year-old just isn't a good shot-stopper but she is also very vocal.
Williams can be heard giving instructions to her teammates almost all the time as she leads from the back accordingly.
She also collects 50 per cent of crosses that get played into the box once again showing just how commanding she is and how she takes the pressure off the defence as she is good at anticipating balls into the area.
Williams also has made 45 per cent of her defensive actions outside of her box showing she has a good footballing brain and is alert to come out of her area and sweep up the remaining danger.
Overall in the Women's Super League the keeper has played 810 minutes for Montemurro's side and has been a real rock.
Williams has twice been named Australia's Women's Footballer of the Year and you could see her influence on a young Gunners defense guiding Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy in front of her.
Off the pitch she has also made a positive impact with the rest of her teammates and is well and truly a part of the Arsenal family and an unsung hero of the 2020-21 season for the Gunners.
One of her finest performances of the season came in a 3-0 away defeat to the WSL champions Chelsea a game that the keeper made a string of fine saves really proving her worth to the Gunners.
Williams has certainly been an impressive figure for Arsenal and fans of the club certainly hope there is more to come from the shotstopper ahead of the new 2021-22 with her saying that she wants to extend her stay in London.