Ever since she took over as manager at Tottenham Hotspur nearly a year ago, Rehanne Skinner has been talking about the ambitions Spurs have in the Women’s Super League. Today, they may have just made believers of many. Facing an Arsenal team at home that was top of the table, undefeated and undrawn, and had never even TRAILED in WSL action this season, Spurs gave them all they could handle. Rachel Williams bundled in a rebound goal midway through the second half, and Spurs nearly did the thing before Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema headed the ball in off a corner in extra time to level the score.
The match ended 1-1, but this was an important result for a Tottenham team that may have just announced itself as contenders for a Champions League place.
Spurs started the match short-handed, with Becky Spencer, Cho So-hyun, and Jessica Naz all out of the side. Only six players were on the bench for Tottenham, with backup keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela and Chioma Ubogagu sliding into the starting lineup.
1’ — Yikes, already a chance for Arsenal, as Beth Mead is left wide open on the right side of the box. Korpela rushes out to make a good save.
13’ — All Arsenal in the opening goings with Spurs already having given up a few corners and are forced back into their own third of the pitch. To Spurs’ credit there hasn’t been more than 1 or 2 decent chances for the visitors.
18’ — Spurs flash a ball across the face of goal. That’s good! Unfortunately, nobody made the run to crash the back post and the chance is wasted. That’s not good.
22’ — Long shot by Miedema is straight at goal, but Korpela goes down low to make a good stop.
26’ — Big chance for Arsenal. Free kick from Beth Mead goes off the crossbar and the post and skims across the face of goal but doesn’t go over the line. Yiiiiiiiiiikes.
33’ — Kit Graham is nearly put through on goal but a last-ditch tackle by Wubben-Moy puts the ball out for a Spurs corner, a rarity this half. Corner punched away by Zinsberger, eventually cleared.
38’ — Nearly costly mistake by Neville who attempted a flick and gave the ball away to Miedema just outside Spurs’ box. Lots of step-overs but Tottenham’s defense held. Clemaron took a shot to the face, she required treatment but is ok.
42’ — Beth Mead fires another shot off the crossbar for Arsenal.
44’ — Kit Graham gets dispossessed by Kim Little near the center circle, Little fires a shot at goal but it’s straight at Korpela, who makes the save.
HALFTIME — a dominant half by Arsenal, but Spurs have defended heroically and kept them out. Scoreless at the break.
46’ — Spurs come out pushing right off the opening kick. Earn a fast corner, but it’s cleared away by Arsenal.
49’ — Yellow card for Clemaron after a midfield tussle with Katie McCabe. NOW it’s a proper North London Derby!
52’ — Mistake by Korpela as her clearance is blocked and given away. Catley with a close range shot inside the box after Kerys Harrop got nutmegged in the box, but Korpela makes a HUGE stop!
55’ — Decent chance by Spurs as Williams tries to square a ball into the box. Cut out by Arsenal. Spurs are getting half-chances, and that’s more than they got in the first half.
57’ — Great defensive work by Spurs! Miedema gets the ball in the box, but Neville makes a great tackle and Korpela snaffles up the loose ball.
64’ — Sub for Tottenham. Ubogagu makes way, Angela Addison is on.
65’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM!!! RACHEL WILLIAMS! Kit Graham with a great touch to bring down a cross-field ball, her shot is blocked but Williams gets two chances to bundle the ball in past Zinsberger from point-blank range! Arsenal are trailing for the first time all season!
We take the lead in the derby!— Tottenham Hotspur Women (@SpursWomen) November 13, 2021
⚪ 1-0 (77')
67’ — Double sub for Arsenal — Nobbs and Parris on for Maanum and Catley.
71’ — Golden opportunity to go 2-0 up for Spurs. Zadorsky stings the palms of Zinsberger and Neville had a wide open net on the rebound effort and she somehow puts it over the bar.
79’ — Another shot for Spurs! Kyah Simon makes a great turn and fires just outside the box, but it whistles wide of the post.
80’ — Double sub for Spurs — Ayane is on for Simon, and Josie Green is on for Maeva Clemaron.
81’ — Yellow for Neville. Arsenal are furious, they were in the middle of an attack. Beth Mead also picks up a yellow for dissent.
85 — Double sub for Arsenal. Foord and Iwabuchi are on for Beth Mead and another player I didn’t catch.
88’ — Addison drives down the flank, fires a hopeful shot at goal but it drifts wide.
90+2 — OH NO Goal to Arsenal off the corner. Miedema. Powerful header in the box. God she’s good.
93’ — Arsenal pushing for the winner, Spurs throwing bodies in front of the ball.
FULL TIME! WHAT A RESULT! Tottenham earn a hard-fought home draw against Arsenal and were minutes away from a program-defining victory, what would’ve been their first ever against their rivals. Final score is 1-1.
- WHAT A MATCH! WHAT A RESULT! Going into this match I would’ve been thrilled with a point, any sort of result against Arsenal is a good one. But this team was minutes away from winning the game, and only the brilliance of Vivianne Miedema denied them of that.
- This defense, holy smokes. They were under the cosh for the majority of the match but Zadorsky, Bartrip, Harrop, and Neville all defended magnificently to keep Arsenal’s trio of offensive players out. That Arsenal levelled on a set piece only puts a finer point on how they played.
- Neville was on balance incredible in this game, on both sides of the ball but her match was marred by a couple of big mental errors that nearly led to goals, including scuffing a wide-open chance that would’ve secured a win for Spurs. That takes the shine slightly off an otherwise really really good defensive performance against McCabe. And she still got Player of the Match!
- Arsenal did a good job of negating Kit Graham’s influence, but she did great to force Zinzberger to make a smart save, and Williams was in the right place to bundle in the rebound.
- As soon as the ball went in the net, Tottenham’s performance went up another level. You could tell they believed they could win this. They nearly did.
- Tinja-Riikka Korpela was also outstanding today, replacing the injured Becky Spencer, She was calm on the ball, made several important saves, and was a big reason why Spurs didn’t concede until the death.
- Maeva Clemaron was a rock in midfield. She’s been spectacular this season, and her play was a big reason why Spurs didn’t get overrun in the center of the pitch.
- The result keeps Spurs in third place in the table, one point behind Chelsea and two above Brighton, who have a match in hand.
- Spurs’ next match is an away trip to Watford in the WSL Cup, but they play another important away league match at West Ham next weekend.