Arsenal 6-1 Tottenham
The grin that widened across Vivianne Miedema’s face after scoring her 50th goal in as many appearances for Arsenal to become the Women’s Super League’s all-time leading goalscorer suggested this was a milestone she would simply have to savour.
Miedema is someone who craves a low profile, but she headed into this match with the expectation that she would break Nikita Parris’ WSL tally of 49. She did that and more in this derby-day demolition, bagging a first-half hat trick to extend her goalscoring streak to 52 in undeniable confirmation that the Dutchwoman is arguably the best striker in the women’s game right now. The most scary thing? Miedema, who became her country’s top scorer at last summer’s World Cup, is still only 24.
“Her ability to be better obviously is there,” conceded Joe Montemurro, the Arsenal head coach.
“She can get better. She’s a person who wants to get better, she wants to challenge herself, she wants to even better. There’s still a lot of learning and development to go and I’m enjoying working with her and having her as part of the group. As long as Viv’s smiling, we’ll keep seeing a better Viv.”
In many ways, perhaps it was for the best that Alex Morgan’s eagerly anticipated debut for Tottenham was once again prolonged. The two-time US World Cup winner signalled to her 3.1 million Twitter followers before the match that her wait to wear the Spurs strip would continue, citing a “small setback” in training. Karen Hills, Tottenham’s co-head coach, started to sound like a bit of a broken record when confirming the US-co captain’s post-pregnancy match fitness was not yet primed for competitive football.
Morgan’s absence was Miedema’s ticket to steal the show, the Arsenal striker angling her second off the post after combining with Danielle Van de Donk in a moment of Dutch brilliance before stroking home Caitlin Foord’s unselfish pass for her third.
It is rare for players in the women’s top-flight to sign contracts that are longer than two years and Montemurro remained tight-lipped over how quick the club would act to keep Miedema, who last signed a “long-term” deal with Arsenal in December 2018, in north London.
“It’s something we’ll start to do very early, around November we already start to look at where we’re heading and the direction of next year and the years to come,” he said. “Obviously, Viv will be on top of that list. We’ll do everything we can to make sure that Viv remains part of the group.”
Spurs found themselves 3-0 down within fifteen minutes, which forced Hills and co-head coach Juan Amoros to introduce Lucia Leon and Rosella Ayane after 38 minutes in a bid to stop the rot, but Arsenal simply sliced through white shirts which crumbled around them like torn up origami.
“We’re big believers that until the referee blows the whistle at the end of the game, we could come back and get something out of it,” said Amoros. “Arsenal were outstanding today. We weren’t good enough.”
The self-assuredness Katie McCabe displayed in sweetly curling in free-kick after just three minutes was reflective of how Arsenal terrifically masked the injury crisis that has engulfed their squad of late which Montemurro, who named just four substitutes in his match-day squad, has attributed in part to the WSL’s six-month coronavirus-enforced break.
At times it was hard to tell that the hosts were without several of their first team regulars, although that - along with Leah Williamson’s looping ball which beat Spurs’ entire back four to track an onrushing Caitlin Foord - simply heightened the chasm between these two sides.
Foord scuffed home her second from close range after the break before Leon restored a slither of respect for Tottenham when she headed home a corner and won a penalty after McCabe was judged to have impeded her in the area. But Rianna Dean could not convert from the spot to confirm that this was a day for Tottenham to forget.
Arsenal (4-3-3) Zinsburger; Schnaderbeck, Williamson, Beattie, McCabe; Gut, Van de Donk (Mace 78), Walti; Mead, Foord (Denton 90), Miedema (Wubben-Moy 66) Subs Williams, Wubben-Moy, Mace, Denton. Booked McCabe.
Tottenham (4-3-3) Spencer; Neville, Harrop, Zadorsky, Percival; Kennedy (Sulola 90), Filbey (Worm 57), Quinn (Leon 38); Addison, Davison (Ayane 38), Dean. Subs Whitehouse, Leon, Green, Williams, Worm, Ayane, Sulola. Booked Harrop, Dean.
Referee Abigail Byrne (Suffolk)
FULL- TIME: Arsenal 6-1 Spurs
While Tottenham have put in a better performance this second half the truth is they were blown apart by Arsenal. As soon as McCabe's free-kick went in in just the second minute there was only going to be one winner. The Gunners were ruthless in the final third, up against a very poor Spurs backline.
Arsenal are now the only side with a 100 per cent record (thanks to Man City being held by Reading) , with Tottenham still looking for their first win of the season.
Spurs' first competitive goal against Arsenal
87 mins: Arsenal 6-1 Spurs
The match is petering out to its conclusion, and the player of the match, unsurprisingly, goes to the hat-trick hero Vivianne Miedema
84 mins: Arsenal 6-1 Spurs
The visitors are again seeing most of the ball and it's Arsenal making the mistakes in possession. From one error in midfield Spurs work the ball down the right. The ball is crossed to the far post and Kennedy heads wide.
82 mins: Arsenal 6-1 Spurs
Spurs are seeing more of the ball at the moment. Give them their due. They have put in a better performance this half, as the 1-1 second period scoreline illustrates.
The bright spots have been the ability of Dean and the fight of Percival
79 mins: Arsenal 6-1 Spurs
Mace replaces van de Donk for the Gunners
GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!! Arsenal 6-1 Spurs
As I type that ("Spurs haven't looked like scoring") Leon heads into the back of the net.
It was a bit of a soft goal to concede for Arsenal. The ball is played into the box from a free-kick and Leon beats a trio of Arsenal defenders to head in from five yards.
1-1 this half.
73 mins: Arsenal 6-0 Spurs
Arsenal have taken their foot off the gas this second half, hardly surprising. But at the same time Spurs haven't looked like scoring .
Foord's second and Arsenal's sixth
69 mins: Arsenal 6-0 Spurs
Spurs have a rare chance to put Zinsberger under pressure in the Arsenal goal. Worm has a free-kick 25 yards out but fires high and wide.
65 mins: Arsenal 6-0 Spurs
That's the last action from Miedema who is subbed off for Wubben-Moy
Three goals and the new WSL scoring record - not a bad afternoon's work for the Dutch star.
GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!! Arsenal 6-0 Spurs
As I typed the previous post ('Arsenal haven't looked like scoring...') Miedema showed vision to play in Mead on the right. Mean drove into the box before squaring to Foord six yards out and the Australian did just enough to get the ball over the line.
60 mins: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Spurs have done OK so far this half. Bar that Foord chance, Arsenal haven't looked likely to add to their first-half five.
What a star - Magic Miedema
3 - Vivianne Miedema has become the first player in WSL history to net more than one first half hat-trick in the competition, while this is the first time a player has managed to do so since Miedema herself did so in December 2019 v Bristol City. Supreme. pic.twitter.com/z4qNXAjhLF— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
57 mins: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Percival concedes a free-kick in the middle of the pitch. It's the first heavy challenge of the match and one Spurs could have done with more of before the hour mark.
53 mins: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Foord is played in through the middle (you could fly a jumbojet between the Spurs centrebacks, they are that far apart) and in on goal the Aussie decides to ignore the run of Miedema. Her shot is well saved by Spencer.
For Spurs, Worm is on for Filbey..
MISSED PENALTY: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Dean steps up and fires low to Zinsberger’s left and the keeper saves well.
It’s not Tottenham’s day…
PENALTY FOR SPURS: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Very harsh on Arsenal.
Leon falls under the challenge of McCabe and the referee points to the spot. The replay shows that the contact was minimal at best.
47 mins: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Under no pressure Filbey gives the ball away to Foord on the edge of the box - the sort of error Spurs can do without - but the Aussie fires wide.
45 mins: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
We're back under way at Meadow Park - can Spurs salvage some pride?
What can Spurs do at half time to turn this around?
I'd suggest the answer is nothing. But what they can do is put in a better performance as should Arsenal go on to score more in the next 45 minutes this could be the sort of result that can shape the rest of the season.
Aim should be for a solid, unspectacular next period and try take that into their next match.
HALF-TIME: Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
Spurs have been a sorry sight this half, they have struggled to keep the ball, been a complete mess at the back and the 5-0 half-time scoreline does not flatter Arsenal.
Miedema has had a very fun 45 minutes, scoring a hat-trick and becoming the first player to score 50 goals in the WSL in the process.
GGOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!! Arsenal 5-0 Spurs
I've written this before this match and I think I am going to write it again BUT IT'S ALL TOO EASY for the Gunners.
Miedema is very unselfishly played in by Foord at the back post (when the Aussie had every right to shoot for goal herself) and the Dutch history-maker has a first-half hat-trick, tapping in from all of one yard.
37 mins: Arsenal 4-0 Spurs
Things are that bad for Spurs that they have made a double substitution before the break.
Davison and Quinn off for Ayane and Leon...
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!: Arsenal 4-0 Spurs
Second for Miedema and fourth for the hosts.
Spurs were asleep from a free-kick, McCabe wasn't and played in the Dutch striker at the near post. Miedema didn't have a lot to aim at but she hits the back of the net, the ball squeezing at the near post.
31 mins: Arsenal 3-0 Spurs
Great football by Arsenal. Miedema plays a fine cross-field ball for Mead, who sets herself up with a brilliant first touch before hitting a half-volley at goal. It wouldn't have counted, though, as Mead was just offside.
30 mins: Arsenal 3-0 Spurs
Mead runs at Harrop and wins a corner. Tottenham defend the the set-piece well, which considering how this match has gone so far it a triumph for the visitors.
27 mins: Arsenal 3-0 Spurs
Better from Spurs, in that they haven't conceded for 10 minutes now and are at least keeping the ball better. Would be interesting to find out what Alex Morgan is currently thinking....
22 mins: Arsenal 3-0 Spurs
Close to a fourth for the Gunners - Miedema squares the ball for van de Donk who lauches herself but cannot get on the end of it.
The Spurs defence are trying not to give Arsenal too much space in behind (the problem for Foord's goal) . However, in sitting back they are giving the Gunners midfield too much space and time on the ball. Mead capitalises on this, firing from distance to force Spencer into a decent save.
Foord for three!
17 mins: Arsenal 3-0 Spurs
Spurs have given three goals away in the first 15 minutes and all without much fight shown. You can talk about the lack of Alex Morgan but it's hard (verging on the impossible) to argue how the USA goalscorer would help when it comes to dodgy defending of the sort seen so far this morning.
As I type the Dutch star Miedema gets on the end of a cross but shins it wide. Close there for a fourth...
GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!!! Arsenal 3-0 Spurs
Look away now Spurs fans....this is pretty dire from your side at the moment.
One long ball over the top beats all the Tottenham back four and gives Foord a free run in on goal and the Aussie side foots it into the bottom corner. WAY TOO EASY
OH MY WORD 🤩☄️— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 18, 2020
What a start to the North London derby! Katie McCabe's terrific free kick puts Arsenal ahead! pic.twitter.com/kVm2PX1u0V
10 mins: Arsenal 2-0 Spurs
Spurs have reacted well to that second goal and managed to keep the ball for longer than a few passes. Dean shoots from distance forcing Zinsberger in the Arsenal net into a good save.
8 mins: Arsenal 2-0 Spurs
Against Man Utd Tottenham kept their shape really well. Today the opposite is the case, Arsenal are in total control and it's all rather simple for the hosts.
GOOOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! Arsenal 2-0 Spurs
It's TOO EASY for the Gunners. One simple ball gives Miedema a run in on goal, she fires a left-foot shot low into the corner.
She's now the league's all-time top scorer, bringing up her half-century.
5 mins: Arsenal 1-0 Spurs
McCabe has another free-kick just beyond the D, and she just fires wide. She does have a great left-foot and I reckon I'll be writing more about it was the match goes on.
Spurs are chasing shadows at the moment.
GOOOOOAAAALLLLL! Arsenal 1-0 Spurs
Spurs knew they would be under pressure early on and they concede a free-kick just outside the box on the right-hand side.
It looks like McCabe will float one in for a team-mate to attack, but instead she fires at goal and it goes in off the post to give Spencer in the Spurs goal no chance. NOT the start Tottenham were after.
2 mins: Arsenal 0-0 Spurs
Spurs need not just a performance but at least one point today...
It's a slow start from both sides, but already the Gunners are seeing more of the ball.
Teams are on the pitch and we're good to go
Can Spurs get their first win of the season against their flying-high arch rivals?
If asked to be a Mystic Meg for a few seconds I'd say NO...let's finds out if I, and many of the pundits, are right...
Arsenal coach Joe Montemurro speaks
On their good form....
“We're trying to keep the momentum, take each challenge for what it is. Make sure we’re prepared. We want to put in a good performance."
Spurs' coach Karen Hills speaks
On Alex Morgan again missing out...
"We’re still waiting, it’s not a major setback, it’s still five months after giving birth. She’s looking stronger every day and cannot wait to have her on the pitch."
On Spur's form...
“We think we can hold any team, we’re doing really well, the concentration has to be good today from the first to the 90th minute and hopefully we can see the game out today.”
While a lot of the talk before today's kick-off is, understandably, about Alex Morgan it's east to forget that the Gunners have their own global star in Caitlin Foord, the Australian international. In her four WSL appearances she has scored twice and set up four goals, and will be key today for the Gunners.
Arsenal always have their scoring boots on
The Spurs defence will doubtless be under a lot of pressure this afternoon, Can they do what no one has been able to do for the past 29 matches and keep a cleansheet?
29 - Arsenal have scored in each of their last 29 Women’s Super League fixtures, racking up an impressive 91 goals (AVG 3.1 per game), their longest ever goalscoring streak in the competition. Powerhouse. pic.twitter.com/amTXjcQEJN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
Some pre-match reading
Here is Fiona Tomas' report ahead of this match, looking back at that memorable clash between the north London clubs last November and the current state of the two teams.
For the Gunners...
....the news is that German Leonie Maier has suffered a thigh injury and has been ruled out of today's derby.
Arsenal team news is in
USA star tells Twitter she won't be playing
Here we go!! A small setback keeping me from doing what I love. Can't wait to get on the field with this team in the next few weeks. Literally can't wait. 💙🤍 https://t.co/4uiSUkGVjX— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) October 18, 2020
Spurs team news is in
Confirmation that USA's World Cup winner Alex Morgan won't play a part today.
SPURS XI: Spencer, Zadorsky, Harrop, Filbey, Davison, Dean, Percival, Addison, Kennedy, Quinn, Neville.
Empty stands and no Alex Morgan
Last year the first Women’s Super League’s north London derby was watched by 38,262 fans at the brand-spanking new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. As a statement of where the women’s game was, following on from that summer’s World Cup, and where it is going it was pretty impressive.
That weekend the aggregate attendance for the weekend’s games set a new record at 74,247, surpassing the 63,931 who watched on the opening weekend. Today’s clash between the arch-rivals will be, for obvious reasons (Covid-19 restrictions, if you’ve been on another planet these past few months…) will be very different. Empty stands at a vastly smaller stadium, Meadow Park.
It was hoped that the much-anticipated debut of Alex Morgan would make up for the lack of atmosphere but its has been confirmed this morning that the US star will not be making appearance today (more on that later).
Arsenal come into the match with bad new and good news. The bad news is that they are still suffering from an injury crisis. The good news is that it doesn’t appear to have affected them at all as they sit pretty on top of the table (though Manchester United are currently beating West Ham and will go top before this match ends) and coming into the match on the back of an impressive 5-0 hammering of Brighton.
Spurs could do with some good news. They have one point from their four matches and were hoping for Morgan’s stardust to help propel them up the table. There were signs of improvement during their 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United last week and the hope will be that that upward trend continues today.
Stay here for all the team news and pre-match analysis…