Reading FC Women manager Kelly Chambers has been sharing her thoughts on her side’s incredible performance at Madejski, which saw them share the points with title contenders Arsenal.
The Royals went ahead after just 4 minutes courtesy of a coolly taken goal from Lauren Bruton, before having a long spell in control, where they pressed and pressured Arsenal relentlessly. The Gunners managed to pull a goal back just before half-time through the league’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema, but Reading saw out the remainder of the contest very much Arsenal’s equal, to secure a well-deserved point.
“Obviously, I’m very happy with the performance,” Chambers said. “If you look at the way we played against Chelsea last week compared to this week, it was worlds apart. How we played against Arsenal, what we put on display is what we are about. I’m glad that the girls got the result as well.”
Following on from a disappointing defeat at the hands of reigning champions Chelsea the week before, Chambers knew the side had a daunting task taking on Joe Montemurro’s side, but it was one her Royals rose to.
“We had to get over last week’s game very quickly and against Arsenal we set the tone again. I said to the girls that we now need to keep the consistency and deliver that week-in-week-out and if we do that – as we showed against Arsenal – we can compete with the best.”
In a similar outcome to when Manchester City visited the Madejski back in October of last year, Reading scored first, and early, and showed huge heart and dedication to not just hold onto the game, but to continue to look for the win.
“When you go ahead so early against a top team, you know there’s going to be a point in the game where you’re going to be on the backfoot,” Chambers continued. “We knew it was going to be difficult to maintain the intensity at times against Arsenal as they move the ball so well; their ball-comfort individually is very good. But we started the game how we wanted to and managed to put them on the backfoot early on and apply the pressure and make them panic a little in possession.”
On the game-plan that her side implemented against the Gunners, Chambers said, “We came out and delivered exactly what we had prepared for during the week. Obviously Arsenal had a very strong bench that they brought on at half-time and we saw the impact of those players. To be fair to my girls though, they were incredible – not just at pressing – but when they needed to defend their box and their goal; they were magnificent at doing that.”
Reading are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Aston Villa, and Chambers know that the Royals need to capitalise on the spectacular performance against Arsenal.
“It’s important we maintain this now, that we have the same standards, the same intensity going into Aston Villa as we did against Arsenal to ensure we keep the momentum going.”