Following Arsenal’s demolition of Championship side Lewes, I spoke to our French goalie Pauline Peyraud-Magnin to catch up on what has happened since the Juventus friendly when we last spoke.
Surprisingly, Peyraud-Magnin started the league game against Liverpool last week and kept a clean sheet in the 5-0 win. She added another against Lewes in the 9-0 win this time. I asked her how the beginning of the season was shaping up? “My season is starting well, really well,” she said smiling.
I mentioned that Joe Montemurro rotated the two goalkeepers as she had previously told us, with Sari Van Veenendaal playing the pre-season friendlies and the West Ham Continental Cup game, while she took over the shirt after the international break.
“Sari had a slight knock recently, while I also had a niggling injury earlier in the season.
“It is as if we are passing the injury to each other,” she laughed. Goalkeeper rotation, then, is due to the manager’s choices and the players’ availability due to injury.
So it is a competitive battle for the number one shirt at the moment? “What happened earlier in the season helped me to prepare on the mental side of the things. At the moment, I am the one with the shirt, but I need to earn my place every day in training.”
We then spoke about the 5-0 win against Liverpool and her performance in her official Arsenal debut: “It was my first game indeed, against a good side like Liverpool. Therefore there was a little bit of pressure. From what I had seen in the pregame video analysis, they were a well organised and structured side.
“I think we were better on the day. We put in a high-intensity performance during that game. I was glad I was able to make a few good saves to keep a clean sheet for the team.”
We then turned our attention to the Lewes game and what Montemurro was asking her to do in that match when the team was likely to have a very high percentage of the ball: “The coach asked me to play higher on the pitch than usual, nearly like a defender, sweeping the ball behind the defensive line.
“In the second half, it was not as easy to do it because we played against the wind and we also had the sun in our faces.”
From the press box, the Lewes game seemed a lot easier to play than the Liverpool one, was it the same feeling on the pitch? “Yes and no, every game is hard, actually, and in football, you have to prove yourself every time. It was a potential banana skin. We managed to avoid any surprises and that was the most important thing.”
Arsenal Women will play Yeovil Town on Wednesday in the League. They dropped two points last season in the corresponding fixture and cannot afford to do th same again.
Then, they will be back at Borehamwood next Sunday for a game against West Ham for another top team clash in the league. The Gunners beat the Hammers 3-1 earlier in the season in the Conti Cup, so there is already a bit of familiarity between the two sides.
Six points are needed to keep the title chase on as Chelsea and Manchester City are in solid form at the moment and unlikely to drop any points.