If there was any question as to whether Tottenham Hotspur Women are an improved side over the one that promoted to the top flight last season, it should be settled now. In front of a WSL record attendance of 38,000+ fans in the first ever top flight North London Derby, Spurs did more than hold their own against an excellent Arsenal side. Unfortunately, although Spurs held Arsenal scoreless through 66 minutes, they conceded second half goals to Kim Little and Vivienne Miedema and fell 2-0 to the defending WSL champions.
Tottenham lined up with a very strong side in their first match in their new ground, running out with the same lineup that defeated Bristol City two weeks ago, but with Ashleigh Neville lining up at right back instead of her usual left-sided position. Siri Worm flanked her on the left side with Ria Percival and Hannah Godfrey as center backs. Rachel Furness, Kit Graham, and Josie Green lined up behind striker Rianna Dean.
7’ — Arsenal with the first shot of the match — Kim Little with a blast from the top of the box, but it’s straight at Becky Spencer for the save.
19’ — Arsenal’s Beth Mead dribbles past two Spurs defenders and fires, but it’s just wide. Dangerous opportunity for the Gunners.
21’ — Spurs with a glorious chance! A deflection puts Kit Graham through on goal, but she tries to power the shot in and it’s straight at Arsenal’s keeper. A golden opportunity wasted to go ahead.
29’ — Long-range effort from Rachel Furness which fizzes over the bar. Immediately after, Spurs win the goal kick and Kit Graham fires a blast that goes just wide right, with Hinzberger beaten. So close!
32’ — Another good opportunity for Spurs. Rianna Dean gets the ball by the back post and passes across the face of goal, but there’s nobody there to get on it.
HALFTIME! Tottenham have looked anything but outmatched and outclassed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Arsenal. On the contrary, they have defended well, have hit back on the counter when possible. The announcer called Tottenham “brave but not clinical” and I can’t disagree. We’ll see if it holds up in the second half.
45’ — No substitutions for either side as the second half resumes.
48’ — Spurs getting some decent looks on the counter. This time, Spurs were 4-on-3 but Rachel Furness opts to shoot from distance instead of making the pass. Out for a corner.
58’ — A yellow card for Rachel Furness for flattening Little. To be fair, Furness has been on the edge of getting one the entire match. Proper stuck in.
66’ — Goal Arsenal. Well, it was coming. Arsenal are too good to keep out of the scorer’s sheet for this long. Kim Little took a goal kick with a nifty bit of skill and buries an 18 yard shot at the far post.
76’ — Spurs make their first sub of the match, as Lucy Quinn comes on for Chloe Peplow.
79’ — Another yellow for Spurs as Ashleigh Neville goes in late on Beth Mead. Proper derby, innit? Rosella Ayane comes on for Josie Green as Spurs try and chase the match.
82’ — Goal Arsenal. Ugh, a huge defensive miscue from Filbey, who plays a bad backpass to Spencer. Miedema was lurking in the box and intercepts the ball, rounds Spencer, and puts the Gunners up two. Dreadful.
83’ — Spurs’ third and final sub as Gemma Davison comes on for Siri Worm, who has looked good on the left flank.
85’ — Arsenal make their first (!) sub of the match as Leonie Meier comes in for Beth Mead. Two minutes later, there’s another one as Jill Roord replaces Jordan Nobbs.
88’ — A late chance for Spurs as Kit Graham has a blast deflected away by the shoulder of Rianna Dean. Would’ve been nice to get on the scoreboard here, but it doesn’t look likely at this point.
FULL TIME — The whistle blows four minutes into the allotted five minutes of extra time (!!) and Spurs fall to Arsenal 2-0
Considering Spurs fell 6-0 to Arsenal this summer in a preseason friendly, a 2-0 loss is more than respectable and the Spurs women should hold their heads high.
- Nothing to be ashamed of in this match. This was always a huge challenge for Tottenham, and Spurs looked much improved and should’ve had at least one goal today.
- There was a lot of last-ditch defending going on, but it was working right up until it stopped. Ashleigh Neville in particular did well to contain (for the most part) Vivianne Miedema and keep her less effective than usual.
- Furness bossed midfield for not-insignificant portions of this match, but her backpass was her one mistake, and it was costly. It didn’t seem impossible that Spurs could make a comeback and nab a result before that, but those kind of mistakes will sink you. I’d have liked her to stop shooting from distance, too.
- It was an incredible crowd at the THS, helped by a great marketing campaign and tickets as low as £6.50. They should do this more often.
- Spurs are sixth in the table, very respectable. They’ve beaten the teams they should be competitive with and held their own against the teams they should lose to. Next match is a return to Chelsea in the Continental Cup on Wednesday, before a tough league match at fourth place Everton next weekend.