Gooners’ 3-0 derby win over Spurs keeps alive their hope of snatching WSL title off Chelsea
By Football Reporter
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham
Arsenal ensured the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title race will go down to the final day after an efficient 3-0 win over Tottenham in the North London derby.
Beth Mead’s early strike and a double from Caitlin Foord proved enough to down the visitors at the Emirates Stadium and keep pace with Chelsea.
A tough night for Spurs was capped off when substitute Angela Addison missed an injury-time penalty, preserving Arsenal’s clean sheet in the process.
Tottenham could have ended their neighbours’ league challenge with a win, but the hosts were in control for long periods and could have won by a greater margin in front of a noisy home crowd.
Jonas Eidevall’s side moved just one point behind Chelsea ahead of Sunday’s final day, when the Gunners visit West Ham and the Blues host Manchester United.
In a frantic opening with chances for both sides, it was Mead’s composure in front of goal that calmed Arsenal nerves.
The England star collected a pinpoint Leah Williamson ball before driving at the visitors’ backline and producing a precise finish to beat Tinja-Riikka Korpela after just four minutes.
Spurs were nearly level only minutes later, when a corner caused an almighty scramble in the six-yard box with Vivianne Miedema needed to clear it off the line.
In an open start, Foord went close to making it two but her warning sign deflected just over.
Arsenal ramped up the pressure after the break and finally got breathing space when Foord slid home at the back post after good work from Miedema.
And the impressive Australian added another inside the final ten minutes with a superb curling finish to cap off a fine night for her team that set up a thrilling finale to the Barclays FA WSL season.
To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Manuela Zinsberger, Noelle Martiz, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Leah Williamson, Stephanie-Elise Catley, Lia Walti, Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema, Caitlin Foord, Stina Blackstenius, Beth Mead.
Substitutes used: Katie McCabe for Blackstenius; Laura Wienroither for Williamson; Jen Beattie for; Nikita Parris for Mead; Frida Mannum for Foord.
Substitutes not used: Lydia Williams; Simone Boye; Mana Iwabuchi; Hermoine Cull.
Goals: Mead 4; Foord 70; 82
Bookings: McCabe 73.
Coach: Jonas Eidevall
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-3): Tinja-Riikka Korpela; Shelina Zadorsky; Josie Green; Molly Bartrip; Kerys Harrop; Jessica Naz; Rachel Williams,; Kyah Simon; Maeva Clemaron; Rosella Ayane; Ashleigh Neville.
Substitutes used: Eveliina Summanen for Simon; Isabella Lane for Naz; Cho So-Hyun for Rachel Williams; Angela Addison for Ayane.
Substitutes not used: Rebecca Spencer, Tang Jiali, Asmita Ale.
Bookings: Simon 24; Summanen 56, Green 73; Clemaron 73.
Coach: Rehanne Skinner
Referee: Louise Saunders
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall said: “I’m happy with the performance. It was a strong performance from us.
“We were good in possession and pulled a strong defensive side like Tottenham apart.
“I knew it would be feisty.
“There were over 22 fouls last time, there were over 12 today, it’s their way in terms of trying to get into our heads.
“It’s an ideological battle between the teams, but also very different styles between us, but I’m happy that today football won.
“(On Sunday’s title decider) We want to play games that excite us the most, we need to believe that everything is possible.”
On goalscorer Caitlin Foord
“I want Caitlin (Foord) to stay, she has been great for us.
“She is a great talent and has been a really important part of our form in the spring.”
On the original fixture being cancelled
“We didn’t cancel that game. They did.
“No one has played a tougher schedule than us. So I’m not going to be sorry for another team.”
Tottenham manager Rehanne Skinner said: “You don’t play a North London derby to lose so it was disappointing in that respect.
“Over the course of the game we had moments where we showed real quality. We created some great opportunities.
“The timing of when we conceded wasn’t necessarily the issue. The response was good off the back of that. But the fine margins cost us. It shifted momentum and made life a bit difficult.
“The way we set up to defend didn’t work in the first 15 minutes. We went a little off-piste which created us a lot of problems.
“Once we corrected that we were right in the game until half time.”
“This is our fourth game in a really short space of time. I’m proud of how the players are fighting for points in every single one of those games.
“When you are mentally and physically working so hard, decision making can go astray.
“We’ve still got a game left to play and we want to finish on a high in the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
“We want to make sure we finish this season strongly, because it has been a positive season.”