Good Evans – Arsenal See off Spurs Challenge

Arsenal 4-0 Tottenham Hotspur

By Ben Gilby

Arsenal moved into the FA Cup Semi-Final after a victory that was more hard fought than the final score line suggests.

Ultimately the game turned after two unfortunate errors from Ashleigh Neville which led to a piece of brilliance from Jordan Nobbs and a hat-trick from Lisa Evans.

Spurs had new loan signing and American superstar Alex Morgan on the bench and they started promisingly and after five minutes Kit Graham fashioned the first chance of the game with her shot from outside of the box held by Manuela Zinsberger.

The Gunners had a golden opportunity less than a minute later when an outstanding long diagonal ball from Leah Williamson was met by the head of Caitlin Foord, with the ball crashing back off of the crossbar.

Arsenal gradually became far more prominent on the front foot. Vivianne Miedema combined with Lisa Evans down the left who played the ball in for Foord whose effort went wide at the near post.

The hosts were having a lot of joy down the left. This time Jordan Nobbs played in Evans to earn a corner. Noelle Maritz’s resulting shot was lofted over the bar.

Despite the amount of chances that Arsenal were fashioning, Tottenham were exceptionally well organised in defence. Karen Hills and Juan Amoros had certainly done their homework with their team clearly a step above where they were last season.

Spurs had a flurry of opportunity towards the end of the half. Gemma Davison played a teasing ball in from the left but Rosella Ayane couldn’t quite reach it at the back post.

Shortly afterwards, Graham played free kick into the mix, but Zinsberger dealt with it well. Minutes later, Matildas international Allana Kennedy, who had an impressive afternoon both defensively and offensively, made a strong run down the left and a beautiful piece of skill to get past McCabe and Williamson and fire in a cross which Zinsberger had to tip over the bar and it remained 0-0 at the break.

Arsenal came out firing as the second half opened. Katie McCabe combined with Caitlin Foord to force a save from Rebecca Spencer.

Spurs fashioned a rare chance in the period. They almost made Viktoria Schnaderbeck pay for conceding a needless corner as Allana Kennedy’s free header went narrowly wide.

However, they would be made to rue missing this opportunity as they ended up being the architects of their own downfall. In a comfortable position in defence, Ashleigh Neville played a cross field ball which was easily jumped on by Jordan Nobbs who instantly chipped a classy effort over Spencer to give Arsenal the lead.

Above: Arsenal celebrate a goal in their Quarter-Final win last evening. Photo: @ArsenalWFC

Less than sixty seconds later, the game was over as a contest when Neville failed to get the ball and Vivianne Miedema stepped in to play in Lisa Evans who side footed the ball into the right corner.

Confidence and desire to score further goals coursed through Arsenal veins. They would get two more in the final six minutes as Evans completed her hat-trick. It was 3-0 when van der Donk laid a pass back to Little who split the Spurs defence expertly with an angled ball for the Scot to shoot across Spencer into the net.

In the final minute, a delightful cross field ball found Beth Mead down the right, her cross was dummied by Foord and Evans hit home her third and Arsenal’s fourth.

It was a harsh score line on Spurs who were ultimately taught a lesson on what happens if you let your concentration slip momentarily against the very best. They worked exceptionally hard and defended with great desire and organisation for much of the game. The next step in their evolution now is to take chances when they come – and with Alex Morgan in their squad that will undoubtedly happen.

Above: Lisa Evans celebrates her hat-trick after the game. Photo: @ArsenalWFC

For Arsenal, seventeen goals in three league and cup games this season shows they are in red hot form. A semi-final against Leicester City or Manchester City is now ahead in midweek before Joe Montemurro’s side resume their bid to wrestle back their FAWSL crown.

Teams: ARSENAL: Zinsberger, Maritz, Schnaderbeck, Williamson, McCabe, Little, Van der Donk, Nobbs, Evans, Miedema, Foord. Substitutes: Stenson, Wubben-May, Mace, Maier (not used), Gut, Mead.

Scorers: Nobbs 72. Evans 73, 84, 90.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Spencer, Zadorsky, Harrop, Davison, Peplow, Percival, Worm, Graham, Kennedy, Ayane, Neville. Substitutes: Martin (not used), Leon, Green, Filbey (not used), Dean, Morgan (not used), Addison, Quinn, Sulola (not used).

Referee: Lucy Oliver.

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