Tottenham Hotspur Women put four past Aston Villa in a confident win against last year’s “best of the rest”. Spurs have started brightly under new manager Robert Vilahamn, and will head into the international break sitting third in the WSL.
Vilahamn made one change from last week’s match against Brighton, with Jess Naz coming in for Drew Spence. She took up her usual position on the left wing while Grace Clinton moved central.
Villa struck first after just 5 minutes, when Eveliina took down Adriana Leon in the box. Rachel Daly converted the resulting penalty. Afterward, Spurs settled down quickly, and strung together a few meaningful spells of possession. Villa and Spurs traded fruitless attacks for much of the half, until around the 30 minute mark, Martha Thomas decided it was time to terrorize her Scotland teammate Rachel Corsie. Thomas leapt onto Corsie’s lazy backpass, and spotted that van Domselaar was still off her line. She quickly launched the ball over van Domselaar into the back of the net, and Spurs were level.
Two of the Tottenham old guard combined for the go ahead goal with the last touch before halftime. Jess Naz (yes, I know she’s not old, but she has been here for a while so let me have it) launched a brilliant cross toward the back post, and Ash Neville rose highest to head it home. Two players who have been with Spurs since the championship days reaching new heights under a new coach? Tears in my eyes!
The second half started much the same, with both Villa and Tottenham attempting to make inroads through the back line. At fifty-five minutes, Drew Spence came on for Jess Naz. Shortly after, Spurs added a third goal when Aston Villa failed to clear their lines on a corner. Grace Clinton laid the ball off to Martha Thomas at the edge of the box, and Martha fired a lazer shot through legs into the back of the net. It’s worth noting that a sassy exchange of passes between Drew Spence and Grace Clinton led to the corner.
Martha completed her hattrick with a stunning team goal that split Aston Villa right down the middle. Spurs launched a few more dangerous attacks, and did enough to see out the rest of the game despite a late Villa consolation goal. Also of note, Zhang Linyan made her Spurs debut during stoppage time. Zhang impressed for China at the World Cup, and I’m personally hoping to see a lot more of her after Spurs return from international break in November.
This is not the final iteration of this Spurs side. You can hear it in the way Vilahamn is constantly yelling for his side to press, to help each other. He will keep tweaking and tuning, and in that process, we can expect to see some more challenging times. In the meantime though, the vibes are pretty good! Let’s enjoy them.
If you missed the match, you can catch the highights here or find a replay on SPURSPLAY or on The FA Player for free.