It is North London Derby time again, unfortunately, this year it was very different to last year where we saw history created as a record-breaking 38,000 fans came out to support out Tottenham women. Last years London derby was the perfect occasion for families to come out for a wonderful day of football. Tottenham could have won last year’s derby but the experience of Arsenal ensured that they, unfortunately, took the 3 points in the first-ever WSL North London Derby. Highlights of last years London derby can be seen below.
We have already faced Arsenal 3 times this season with the first game coming in the FA Cup where Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners. Our Lilywhites then again faced Arsenal in the WSL in October in a match to forget after Arsenal came out 6-1 winners. We then took on Arsenal a month later in the Conti cup where we played one of our best matches of the season drawing 2-2- but unfortunately losing 5-4 on penalties with Alex Morgan missing the spot-kick for Tottenham. Highlights of that Conti cup matchup can be seen below.
Tottenham came into this game looking for their first 2 win of 2021 in what would be a HUGE confidence boost for our Lilywhites. Last week our Lilywhites only managed a point against Bristol City. Tottenham Dominated the game especially the first half and should have won the game by at least 3 goals but luck once again was not on our side.
Tottenham lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with Spencer in goal, Morgan in at right-back, Zadorsky and McManus in the centre of defence with Worm in at left-back. Green and Kennedy occupied the positions ahead of the defence. Davison was in at right-wing, Graham in the centre with Ayane in at left-wing with Dean in the number 9 position.
Arsenal lined up in a 4-3-3 with Zinsberger in goal, Maritz in at right-back, Wubben Moy and Wälti in the centre of defence with McCabe in at left-back. The Arsenal midfield was made of Roord down the left, Little in the centre with DVD down the right. The Arsenal front 3 were made of Nobbs down the left, Miedema in the centre and Foord down the right.
Both teams started even as they attacked one another but it didn’t take Arsenal long to find their stride and take control of the game. Arsenal’s first chance of the game came in the 6th minute when Jordan Nobbs centred into the Tottenham box from the left finding Wubben-Moy who shot from distance but her effort went wide of Spencer’s goal. Arsenal was at it again 2 minutes later with a cross into the box but Van De Donk was unable to connect well with the ball making it easy to gather for Spencer. Arsenal could have taken the lead in the 10th minute when McManus’s clearance went only as far as Nobbs who passed to Roord who played a wonderful ball through to Miedema who twisted and turned before getting her shot away but her effort took a deflection off McManus slowing the ball down for Spencer to gather.
Arsenal were purposely attacking Morgan down the left trying to take advantage of her inexperience and McCabe did give Morgan a few problems but the 18-year-old did very well to cope with the experienced Arsenal attackers. Arsenal came close again in the 18th minute when DVD took on two Tottenham players cut inside from the left and unleashed a shot from distance but her effort was straight at Spencer. A minute later Tottenham should have been punished when the Tottenham defence fell asleep and stopped play thinking Miedema was offside from a McCabe free-kick but Miedema’s shot went wide as Tottenham were let off. Arsenal finally got their breakthrough in the 25th minute when great one touch play between Nobbs and Maritz found Foord who shot from an angle to slot past Spencer. Arsenal kept coming at Tottenham and in the 27th minute they could have had a 2nd after a thunderous shot by Nobbs from the edge of the box, but Spencer saved well to put the ball out for a corner. Tottenham struggled to get out of their half and threaten Arsenal and in the 33 minute Nobbs came close again when Miedema crossed into the Tottenham box, Worm only managed to get it away as far as Nobbs who shot from distance but Spencer again saved well pushing the ball over for an Arsenal corner. As a result of that corner, things went from bad to worse for our Lilywhites, McCabe took the corner and Miedema volleyed the ball without letting it bounce straight past Spencer to make it two for the Gunners. Tottenham attempted a rare attack in the 40th minute but Graham had the ball stolen from her by McCabe who shot from distance but her effort went just wide of Spencer’s left post. Arsenal finished the half the strongest of the two teams as Tottenham were still looking to get into the game.
Arsenal started the half like they finished the first as they dominated possession with the first chance of the 2nd half falling to Roord for the Gunners as she shot from inside the box but her effort went straight into the hands of Spencer. An error in the Tottenham defence in the 61st minute resulted in an Arsenal third after a McManus misplaced pass went to McCabe who shot from an angle to slot past Spencer and give Arsenal their third of the game. Arsenal’s third result in a double substitution for Tottenham as Addison and Williams came on for Ayane and Davison. After the double substitution, Tottenham finally began to look like they had got their game together as the Lilywhites began to come out and attack Arsenal. Great pressure from Williams in the 66th minute caused problems for Zinsberger as Tottenham put Moy under pressure and her poor attempted clearance fell to Green who shot from distance but Zinsberger managed to save with her feet as Arsenal were let off as no Tottenham player was close to pick up the loose ball. Tottenham certainly looked much brighter and dangerous with the introduction of Williams and Addison.
Tottenham continued to look for a way back into the game and in the 76th minute, good play by Williams found Graham who tried to go around Zinsberger and has her shot saved the rebound and back to Graham to passed to Williams who shot from inside the box but her effort was again saved by Zinsberger before the ball then came out to Addison who shot but Zinsbeger got up quickly and saved to deny Tottenham a deserved goal. Tottenham kept coming at Arsenal as the Gunners were pinned back and struggled to come out of their own half. Tottenham came close again to finally getting a breakthrough in the 85th minute when great play by Dean down the left, crossed finding Williams who rose above the Arsenal defence but headed a clear chance just wide of Zinsbergers left-hand post. Arsenal almost got a 4th in a rare attack when Tottenham was caught short at the back, great play by DVD found Roord who shot from distance but her effort went just wide. The final chance of the game fell to Tottenham with a Siri Worm free-kick but after lifting the ball well over the wall was unable to keep her effort on target as the ball went over with the final chance of the game.
Player of the match.
Every player gave everything, especially in the final 30 minutes, but our player of the match has to go to Becky Spencer because had it not been for our shot-stopper we would have seen ourselves 3 or 4 down at half-time.
Post match analysis.
This was always going to be a tough match especially since it was played with no fans in the ground. Against a team like Arsenal, you must be cautious to not let them have too much possession and play their passing game therefore we need quick dangerous players on the pitch to catch Arsenal off guard when attacking the Arsenal backline which is why it did not make sense why Addison was left off the starting 11.
I think the only aim now for this season is to remain in the WSL and start next season with a new objective. We have seen this season the importance of in form forwards and this match has shown how desperate we are in need a right-winger and forward because once again Davison and Ayane went missing in another game. Another player we feel that has not been impressive since her arrival is Abbie McManus as she has made too many mistakes and cost us the 3rd goal against Arsenal not for the first time this season. I think Tottenham missed an opportunity not keeping Emma Mitchell last season and we hope Zadorsky and Kennedy will sign on past this season but we can see why Manchester United was willing to let McManus go. Had it not been for injuries Godfrey or Harrop would have been better defensive partners for Captain Zadorsky.
A 3-0 defeat is better than 6-1 but this match again demonstrated the gap between many other WSL teams and Tottenham. Yes this is only our 2nd season in the WSL compared to the likes of Chelsea, City and Arsenal and if we think where we were just 3 years ago we have achieved so much BUT to compete in the WSL big signings need to be made. YES had Tottenham played as they did in the final 30 minutes when Addison, Williams, Quinn and Cho came on the score could have been very different because from the 60th minute there was just one team on the pitch that wanted to play and score BUT against world-class teams like Arsenal you need to go at them from the first minute and not give them a 3 goal lead. It’s not the first time that we have said had we taken those chances or had we played like we did in a certain half, we need to start executing these chances because if we do not start to improve it will just be a matter of time before we are relegated to the Championship. We must now learn from this defeat, adapt it into our game plan and try to take something from City on Sunday COYS!!!
Our next match will take place at the Hive against Manchester City. Due to Covid restrictions this match will once again take place behind closed doors.
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Tottenham vs Manchester City