The Women’s Super League returns this weekend with Arsenal kicking of the defence of their title on Sunday against West Ham.
Ahead of their title-defending season, Danielle van de Donk, one of the standouts in the Arsenal team, has written a column for the Guardian in which she talks about the injuries Arsenal suffered last season, the squad’s versatility, and more.
“It was our versatility that saved us and took the pressure off,” van de Donk writes. “Every time someone gets injured, a bit of your game falls away, and you have to fill the gaps. Last season, with a huge injury list including players such as Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Danielle Carter, I think we did amazingly well at Arsenal. Wherever people had to play they did – we picked up the roles quite quickly.
“I played all over. I like to be in the middle because that’s where I feel free and most natural; I am able to do whatever I want and really read the game. If I’m on the wing Joe [Montemurro, the manager] always tells me I have that same freedom, but I struggle to feel like I do. I’m almost scared that I’m going to get in the way of, say, the No 10 wanting to run into the pocket. Joe’s calmness also played a big part. He has brought a lot of clarity. We’ve got a very creative team and Joe’s standards and our individual creativity are a great match.
“I don’t think you can find a player who has one bad word to say about Joe. He’s very chilled, his tactics are on point all the time and the analysis is great – he’s basically always right. But it’s his human side that makes him a good manager. It’s easy to get caught up in needing to get trophies but he takes the pressure away from it”
In our preview of the league, we predicted Arsenal and Chelsea to be neck-and-neck throughout the league season.
The Blues start their campaign against Tottenham, who we feel are candidates for relegation.