We hosted our Junior Members’ Takeover at Meadow Park on Wednesday when we faced Yeovil Town in the Women's Super League.
Five Junior Members were given the opportunity to go behind the scenes and take on key matchday roles.
First up was our junior kit manager, Zoe who arrived early to set up the dressing room to ensure the team had the perfect preparation. She was then on hand to assist our assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach on the pitch with the team warm-up.
Our junior match official, Zoe oversaw the teamsheet exchange with captains Kim Little and Megan Walsh. She then had the important job of leading the teams onto the pitch and conducting the coin toss ahead of kick off.
Junior DJ, Eva then hand-picked a playlist of songs for the team warm-up, setting the atmosphere for our supporters ahead of the match
Junior match reporter, Antonio watched the game from the media box taking notes throughout. Post-match he interviewed Joe Montemurro and captain Little to get a player’s perspective on how the match unfolded.
Here’s Antonio's take on the game:
Arsenal bounced back from Sunday’s disappointing FA cup defeat with a comfortable 3-0 win over Yeovil on Wednesday night.
The Gunners were lively from the off, with Vivianne Miedema having a tame header saved by Yeovil goalkeeper Megan Walsh in the first minute. Arsenal had plenty of the ball and won several corners in the opening exchanges but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances; Danielle Van de Donk and Dominique Bloodworth both sent long-range efforts just over the bar.
The first big chance of the match fell to captain Kim Little whose half chance was kept out from close range by Walsh. A few minutes later, Little beat the offside trap but her shot was kept out at her near post by an in-form Walsh. Yeovil could’ve been 1-0 down after Walsh missed a cross but Hannah Short was on hand to clear the ball out of harm’s reach. That was the last chance of a frustrating first half which ended goalless.
In the second half, Arsenal were still dominant but this time round, there was a clinical edge to our attacks. Beth Mead, who had been lively all night, had a glancing header pushed away for a corner within minutes of the restart and Miedema scuffed another tame effort straight at Walsh.
It wasn’t until the hour mark when Kim Little received the ball on the edge of the penalty box, twisted and turned, before seeing her deflected effort bundle past Walsh’s right-hand side. Off came the shackles. With the introduction of substitute Katie McCabe, Arsenal had a foothold on the game and made it 2-0 when Beth Mead lobbed the keeper at her far post with what was possibly meant to be a cross.
A minute after the restart, Mead was pulled down in the box for a clear penalty which Little duly converted for her second goal of the game. In the dying minutes, McCabe had an ambitious long-range effort saved by Walsh, which capped off her fine performance on the night.
Overall, a patient and professional performance got the team back on track ahead of Saturday’s Continental Cup final against Manchester City.
After the match, Antonio spoke with Joe Montemurro and Kim Little.
It was a frustrating first half for us and we needed a lift, so what did you address at half time?
Joe: “I addressed our positioning and made sure we were able to shift the ball around with a bit of speed and find the gaps”.
What caused Emma Mitchell’s absence tonight?
“Emma wasn’t right, not 100% so we decided to rest her ahead of Saturday’s cup final”.
How much do you think your substitutions changed the game?
“I thought Katie (McCabe) coming on gave us a bit more width and I thought she was able to confuse the opposition and drag them out space”.
Do you think the team you put out tonight allowed the players to freely overlap and switch positions?
“Yeah, I think so, we had the opportunities with wingers playing inside, full backs almost playing as wingers and midfielders dropping deep. So yeah, a lot of interchanging and they set themselves up well too”.
It was captain Kim Little who did the business again for you tonight, just how crucial is she for the club?
“That’s pretty evident, isn’t it? She scores goals and creates a lot of the play”.
Lastly, how prepared is everybody for the big Conti cup final on Saturday?
“Yeah we’ll get everyone freshened up and ready to go but I think everyone’s always excited to play in a cup final”.
How important was it to bounce back from Sunday’s disappointing defeat with a win tonight?
Kim: “Yeah, very important, especially with it being a league game. We played with a lot of enjoyment, especially in the second half and we scored a few goals”.
The team were dominant in a frustrating first half, you being heavily involved, what do you think went wrong?
“I think we weren’t precise and clinical enough with our passes, we got a lot of joy in the wide areas, but our crossing wasn’t precise enough. In the second half, we came out and were patient but took our chances when they came around”.
How relieved were you and the team to open the scoring?
“Yeah, we were elated, obviously we weren’t scoring in the first half, but we knew we would score in the second half”.
As always, you were composed from the spot, what goes through your mind when taking a penalty?
“A clear mind and then knowing where to put it and try be precise as possible and try and put as far away from the goalkeeper as possible. Clearing my mind keeps me confident”.
Lastly, what’s the team feeling ahead of Saturday’s Conti cup final?
“Yep, well we’ve got this game out the way now, but now we’re looking forward to it. It’s a big game against a good team in Manchester City and a cup final is always a great day out”.
A special mention also goes out to our junior programme designer, Hattie whose artistic skills were on display on the front cover of our programme.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.