Arsenal WFC manager Joe Montemurro says his side will play an open and expansive game when they go head to head with Italian outfit Fiorentina in their UEFA Women’s Champions League clash.
The Gunners face the Italians in a round of 32 tie that will be Montemurro’s first Euro fixture during his reign at the north London club. And the head coach says he isn’t prepared to sacrifice an ethos and methodology of attacking football by defending in the away leg and then to go for the throat to secure a victory in the home leg back in London.
He believes the opponents are favourites to go through given that Arsenal have been missing from the competition for five years while Fiorentina have taken part more recently. He added:
“The plan is not to contain in Florence and try to win here, the plan is to try and win in Florence and come back here to London and try to win again.”
The first leg takes place in the Artemio Franchi Stadium on Thursday, 12 September (6pm kick-off), while the second leg clash will get under way in London on Thursday, 26 September (7.30pm kick-off). Fans can get tickets for the game on the gate, with a decent attendance expected.
His comments on the upcoming Champions League clash come on the back of a resounding 6-0 thrashing of rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Gunners’ most recent outing, which was a pre-season friendly encounter. Jill Roord helped herself to a treble and the excellent hat-trick was complimented by a goal from Jordan Nobbs (who will be delighted with her strike and display given that she has only just made her comeback from injury), with further strikes from Vivianne Miedema and Jennifer Beattie. Her goal exemplified simplicity as she slotted home from close range following a wonderfully jinking run and perfectly delivered cross from tricky operator Leonie Maier.
Friendly matches are one thing but the real measure of any team is their success in league action and this will come soon enough for Montemurro’s side as they get set to kick off their season with an enticing Women’s Super League title defence (the Gunners’ first league title in seven years) against West Ham United Women. The game will take place at Meadow Park, which is the home of Arsenal Women and also that of non-league outfit Boreham Wood, on 8 September.
*Interestingly, Arsenal face the Italians in the Champions League having just allowed Danish international Janni Arnth to move to their opponents in a permanent deal. The defender switched to the Gunners from Sweden’s Linkopings back in the winter of 2018. She made just 10 appearances for the club.