Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro frustrated with Reading draw

Reading's Danielle Carter, Arsenal's Katie McCabe, Caitlin Foord and Reading's Emma Harries battle f

Reading's Danielle Carter, Arsenal's Katie McCabe, Caitlin Foord and Reading's Emma Harries battle for the ball sduring the FA Women's Super League match at Madejski Stadium, Reading. - Credit: PA

Joe Montemurro was frustrated with Arsenal's 1-1 draw away at Reading on Sunday afternoon as they lost more ground in the Women's Super League title race. 

The Gunners fell behind to Lauren Bruton's early goal before Vivianne Miedema equalised after Grace Moloney had saved Jill Roord's header. 

It meant that for the first time in WSL history Arsenal haven't won in three away games, after losing to Manchester United and Manchester City before the draw at the Royals. 

The Australian said "Sometimes you get these situations in a season and it was always going to be a tough game at Reading, I wish I had a magic wand but the reality is that we have to keep learning from these scenarios and keep preparing as best as we can.

"We’ve lost a bit of fluidity, a bit of zip and we have to position ourselves better and do it better, we’re just not doing it well enough at the moment."


You may also want to watch:


Anna Patten made her second Arsenal debut at the Madejski Stadium after returning to the Gunners from the USA earlier this month.

"She will be a special player, we’re very proud to have her here," Montemurro said.

Most Read

"It was a tough start for her but she showed some really good signs and we really believe in her going forward and we believe that she’ll be a really big player for Arsenal."

Montemurro's team selection was a talking point before the game as he left some of his more senior players on the bench due to some having to self-isolate after coming into contact with a positive Covid-19 test.

"It could have had a little bearing, the reality is that some players weren’t prepared to play 90 minutes as a result because of their training stimulus during the week and we had to balance that out," he said.

"We had to balance whether we start them and risk an injury or do we ease them in for more of a long term scenario? I had to make that decision."

The Gunners boss made three substitutions at half-time, bringing on Leah Williamson, Jennifer Beattie and Beth Mead.

"We were a bit low in our positioning and we needed to get higher and Leah and Jennifer can pass beyond and in between the lines and that helped us a little bit," he said.

"They were finding the gaps and the spaces and circulating a little bit quicker but it broke down when we got to the top third.

"We were below par for the whole game today, I don’t think we can pinpoint a period, we just didn’t get into our rhythm and didn’t position ourselves well enough for the passing opportunities and we need to fix that."

Reading's Jess Fishlock (left) and Arsenal's Jill Roord battle for the ball during the FA Women's Su

Reading's Jess Fishlock (left) and Arsenal's Jill Roord battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at Madejski Stadium, Reading. - Credit: PA

With Arsenal falling further behind in the title race, Montemurro said: "Our target is to win the next game and play good football.

"There are a lot of big games to happen and a lot of teams to play each other. Reading were very, very good and there is a lot of football to be played in this league.

"I don’t set targets in terms of having to reach this or that.

"We prepare for each game and we want to be the best we can be in each game, and after that the results take care of themselves at the end of the season." 

Reading's Kristine Leine (left) and Arsenal's Danielle Van de Donk battle for the ball during the FA

Reading's Kristine Leine (left) and Arsenal's Danielle Van de Donk battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at Madejski Stadium, Reading. - Credit: PA

Arsenal's passing was extremely slow, making life easy for Reading to defend against touching on this element of his sides play.

"Usually we can pass our way out but today everything needed two or three touches everything needed a bit more and our positioning wasn’t very good, especially in the first half, and we paid for it."

The 51-year-old added: "We couldn’t get it out wide, they were pressing us on the ball side and normally we can get out with a second pass because we have a first player enter in to take away an opponent but we couldn’t do it today, all credit to Reading."

Arsenal are next in action next weekend at home to West Ham United and Montemurro said looking ahead to that fixture: "It's going to be another tough game against a team that will be tough to beat and they’ve been unlucky in a few games.

"I keep on saying it but this is a tough league, you can’t let your guard down or relax for one minute and we saw that today."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter