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Kerr is very, very good, but I’m not scared of her – Montemurro focused on Arsenal, not Chelsea ahead of huge title clash

20:08 GMT 15/01/2020
Sam Kerr Joe Montemurro Chelsea Arsenal split 2020
The Gunners boss stressed the importance of focusing on his own team ahead of a massive game in the Women's Super League

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro would not be drawn on the topic of Chelsea star Sam Kerr ahead of the two teams meeting Sunday in what promises to be a crucial Women’s Super League clash.

Montemurro knows fellow Aussie Kerr well from his time spent coaching in the W-League, a competition in which the forward is the all-time top-scorer from her time with Perth Glory and Sydney FC.

However, the Gunners head coach refused to single the Blues’ new signing out as their biggest threat ahead of this weekend’s game.

“It’s not for me to comment about other teams and what they do and how they do it, but the reality is that Chelsea have a number of very, very good players and obviously Sam Kerr is a component of that,” he said.

“We go into the game worrying about ourselves, so that’s why I don’t feel scared about who we play.

“We worry about how we’re going to play, and how we’re going to command and dictate the game.

“I don’t look at individual players or individual scenarios, we just look at making sure we play the way we want to play.

“We’re a team that wants the ball and wants to keep the ball and when we have the opportunity to get comfortable and play the way we want to play, I’m sure we’ll find the spaces to exploit them.”

It was Emma Hayes’ side who took three points and the bragging rights from their clash at Kingsmeadow in October, with Chelsea running out 2-1 winners and making a huge statement in the WSL title race.

Asked what he learned from that game, in which Arsenal actually led early on through Danielle van de Donk, Montemurro said: “That we have to continue at our rhythm, at our tempo, at our style for 90 minutes. We can't afford to drop it.

“They're a team that are very quick in transition and are very direct. We lost our way a little bit in the second half and we just need continuity.

“We need to make sure we start well and we finish well. I'm sure that we'll be competitive and make sure we get the best we can out of the game.

“It's a mindset of continuity, it's a mindset of playing the 90 minutes, it's a mindset of not being able to relax for any period of that game.

“We'll work to our high tempo, we'll work to the tempo that is going to give us the standard we need for a result on Sunday.

“Tactically, we need to be smart. We need to be intelligent both in the phase of attacking and defending.

“This is [the type of game] we want. We want competitive games every week, we want high-level football every week.

“That's what we train for and it's what we're here for. The more competitive the games, the more the standard is of a high level. Bring it on, we want more of these games.”

Since that meeting in October though, the Blues have dropped points against relegation-battlers Brighton and Liverpool, surrendering the upper hand they got from that huge victory.

It makes Sunday’s game a potentially title-defining one – and the importance has been reflected in it selling out already.

“It's fantastic,” Montemurro said. “It's an amazing opportunity to showcase women's football.

“We're going to see 90 minutes of some of the world's best players on Sunday.

“To have them in our backyard, to have them here in the UK, to have it shown all over the world, is an amazing opportunity for the game to really take the next step.”