Joe Montemurro Will Leave Arsenal Women With His Head Held High

Joe Montemurro

Joe Montemurro will be resigning from his position as Arsenal women head coach at the end of the season, as the club confirmed this in a statement released earlier today.

Joe Montemurro Has Had a Successful Spell With Arsenal Women

Joe Montemurro Has Overseen Fine Progress

The Australian has overseen some fine progress during a three-year spell with the Gunners, and the highlight arguably came in the form of a Women’s Super League title in 2019 – the club’s first in seven years.

In a statement published on arsenal.com, he said: “My three-and-a-half years at Arsenal have been a fantastic adventure, the highlight of my coaching career.

“I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best in the industry on and off the pitch.

“This has been the hardest professional decision of my life, as I absolutely love this job and this club, the club I have supported all my life. I’m hugely grateful to the club for their unrelenting support during my time here and in understanding and respecting my decision.

“I’ve had a fantastic time here at Arsenal and I am proud of what we have achieved. I must thank all the fans, players, staff, and the club. This club has always been a leader in women’s football and I will be cheering us on to the next level as I watch as a passionate and enduring fan.

“My focus now is helping the team to complete the season strongly and finishing as high as possible in the WSL, leaving the club in good shape for the future.”

Joe Montemurro Arrived From Melbourne City

Montemurro took charge of the Gunners in November 2017 after leaving a role in his native Australia with Melbourne City.

He arrived after leading the Victoria team to back-to-back W-League titles in the first two seasons of their existence and was tasked with bringing the good times back to North London.

Between Arsenal’s previous title and Montemurro’s arrival, Liverpool (two), Chelsea and an emergent Manchester City side had all claimed top spot to leave the Gunners in their wake.

Their dominance of the women’s game appeared to be a distant memory, and while nobody could claim that Montemurro has turned Arsenal into an all-conquering force again, they appear to be in a better place now compared to when he took hold of the reins.

A third-place finish came in Montemurro’s first season in charge in the 2017/18 campaign, before that aforementioned league title in 2018/19.

Montemurro Led Arsenal to a First League Title in Seven Years

Arsenal recaptured the glory days in that memorable season, winning 18 of their 20 league games with some superb free-flowing football.

A young team was spearheaded by the brilliant Vivianne Miedema, who broke a Women’s Super League for the most goals in a season after just 13 games – netting 16 at that point before registering 22 for the season.

Beth Mead also impressed in a stellar campaign and topped the assists standings with 12, while Leah Williamson and Louise Quinn proved to be an impenetrable wall at the heart of Arsenal’s defence that conceded only 13 goals all season.

Montemurro’s team were somewhat unlucky to be denied the chance to claim back-to-back titles in 2019/20 with Covid-19 effectively handing the title to Chelsea on a points-per-game basis.

Miedema topped the goalscoring and assists charts with totals of 16 and eight respectively, while goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger was second in the clean sheet rankings with six.

But they were denied Champions League qualification, with just the top two teams granted a place in Europe that season.

Montemurro’s Side Out of the Title Running This Season

A title push was expected this season, but that has not materialised largely due to a series of costly defeats and an extensive injury list.

Back-to-back 2-1 and 3-0 losses to Manchester City and Chelsea in February ended any realistic aspirations of a title push and left the Gunners in a battle for a third-place finish and Champions League qualification with Manchester United.

Being without the likes of Jordan Nobbs, Jen Beattie, Jordan Nobbs, Kim LittleSteph CatleyLisa Evans and Lydia Williams in various stages of the season has not helped their cause either.

It left them with an uphill struggle to keep up with the relentless pace being set by Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the table.

But despite all of this, Montemurro has enabled the Gunners to progress in a sustainable way and they remain within striking distance of the league’s top three teams.

Arsenal look like the favourites to claim third place by virtue of a game in hand and a superior goal difference compared to current incumbents, Manchester United.

‘The Definition of a Good Man’

However, after looking away from the on-pitch statistics and league standings during Montemurro’s tenure, it is a measure of the man when you see the outpouring of affection levelled towards the Australian.

On Twitter, Williamson’s simple but effective statement said it all: “The definition of a good man” as she responded to a tweet from Arsenal Women’s account.

It is safe to say that you would struggle to find many people who would disagree.

 

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