Montemurro not fearing rustiness as Arsenal prepare for Manchester City test

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Sportsbeat
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Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Joe Montemurro is confident Arsenal will be ready for Sunday’s epic Manchester City challenge despite his side playing just once in 2021.

Postponements mean the Gunners have been out of action since January 17 and will be looking to avoid any rustiness when they welcome Gareth Taylor’s side – unbeaten in their last eight Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches – to the capital.

A lack of game time sees Arsenal occupy fourth spot in the table heading into the weekend, with Sunday’s opponents four points and a place better off having played a match more.

With a London derby against league leaders Chelsea to come in midweek, Montemurro knows his side will have to hit the ground running in both matches against fellow top four sides.

“We’ve definitely addressed the first 15 or 20 minutes of matches when we play against Manchester City or Chelsea as something that’s important,” the Arsenal boss said.

“City are a fantastic team, they’ve got many, many great players, and the level from both teams is going to be high.

“It’s got to be a week where we remain positive, and we have to keep our minds on whatever is coming up and we’ve got to be ready for it.

“A win always brings an extra level of excitement and belief, and what it will do is prepare us for a huge game against Chelsea.

“They both have two amazing squads, probably two of the greatest squads in the world, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Arsenal picked up just a point against Reading in their sole game of the year while handsome victories over West Ham, Brighton and Aston Villa have helped City keep pace.

With the all-too-familiar winter weather wreaking havoc with the fixture list, Montemurro believes there has to be an alternative strategy to keep fixtures from being called off in the future.

But the Australian won’t be using that as an excuse when his side take to the field this weekend, eager to get back to doing their talking on the pitch once again.

“We can’t change what’s happening, we can’t do anything about it. The reality is that we have to make sure we’re ready,” he said.

“Is it difficult? Absolutely it’s difficult, but we just have to be positive and be prepared of the opportunity of the matches coming up soon.

“I think if we want to be the best league in the world, then it’s the responsibility of each organisation, if not the FA, that when these games are postponed we have ample opportunity to fall back on.

“Whether it’s at training grounds, playing games at St George’s Park, or at better stadiums, I don’t know what the answer is, but we know we’re going to get bad weather in January, so we have to have some contingency plans in place.”