Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur
By Darrell Allen at the Emirates Stadium for Impetus (5/5/22)
Above: Caitlin Foord gets a shot in at The Emirates last night despite Spurs’ Ashleigh Neville’s attempted block. Photo: Arsenal WFC.
Arsenal comfortably beat North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night to set up a final day title decider in the FAWSL.
The Gunners moved to within a point of leaders Chelsea and have a superior goal difference meaning a win on Sunday at West Ham United will be enough to lift the title if Emma Hayes’ side lose or draw against Manchester United at Kingsmeadow.
Tottenham had the first chance of the game, Maéva Clemaron set up Kyah Simon but the shot was straight into the hands of Manuela Zinsberger in the Arsenal net.
However, the home side established its dominance shortly afterwards. With just four minutes in the clock, Leah Williamson beautifully split the Tottenham defence with a stunning through ball to find Beth Mead who finished brilliantly to open the scoring.
Spurs almost found a way back into the game, but following a goalmouth scramble that saw Vivianne Miedema block two shots, the danger was dealt with.
This roused the contingent of Tottenham supporters who had their own segregated area in the Clock End, something which pleasingly has started to appear within the women’s game.
Steph Catley was next in for Arsenal but the move was cut out by Ashleigh Neville. Next, a stunning Mead ball then split open the Tottenham defence but Stina Blackstenius’ effort could only find Tinja-Riikka Korpela’s hands.
Arsenal continued to dominate the match but Tottenham did well to contain the onslaught of set pieces during the first half period.
Caitlin Foord came alive and almost finished, but the ball hit the side netting after an in-box scramble before Miedema fired just wide of goal.
Matildas star Foord continued to be a nuisance for the Tottenham defence and particularly was giving Shelina Zadorsky a torrid time as she continually pushed and probed.
Catley also continued to cause Tottenham trouble all evening in a wide position but also cutting inside.
The Williamson and Mead link-up was a feature of the evening. Another great ball from former which the latter fired wide.
The Tottenham defence was standing firm but you sensed it was only a matter of time before the second arrived.
Foord had time for a further shot at Korpela but the lead remained singular at the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern of total Arsenal domination, and a tale of the two M’s early in the second period. Mead found Miedema who skipped inside the Tottenham defence and let fly but Korpela saved.
Foord continued to be influential in everything Arsenal were doing, carving the visitors defence open on numerous occasions.
It was the Australian who played a delightful ball across, but Mead could not finish.
Foord was everywhere as more great running found Miedema again who found the Tottenham defence napping but fired over.
Katie McCabe was introduced to a terrific reception from the Emirates crowd who were in party mood all evening.
The second goal arrived when Miedema hit a low swinging ball across and Foord was there to slide in to finish and deservedly double the Arsenal lead.
Ill temper was sparked when Lia Wälti put a horrendous challenge in on Josie Green with the Arsenal star fortunate to escape with a yellow.
The highlight of the night was to come as Foord curled in a delightful third to wrap the win up in style for Arsenal.
Lionesses captain Williamson was replaced late on to a standing ovation and Foord later forced Korpela into a further save.
There was time for Spurs to be awarded a late penalty as Angela Addison was brought down by Lotte Wubben-Moy but the spot-kick was saved by the legs of Zinsberger to round off a miserable night for the visitors.
Sweet Caroline rang out around the Emirates at Full Time as Arsenal celebrated another North London Derby win and the fact they have taken the FAWSL title race to the final day.
Player of the match: Beth Mead
Teams: ARSENAL: Zinsberger, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Catley, Mead, Little, Miedema, Wälti, Maritz, Foord, Blackstenius. Substitutes: Williams (GK), Beatty, Maanum, Parris, Mccabe, Boys, Iwabuchi, Wienroither, Cull.
Scorers: Mead 4′. Foord 71, 82′.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Korpela, Zadorsky, Green, Bartrip, Harrop, Naz, Williams, Simon, Clemaron, Ayane, Neville. Substitutes: Spencer (GK), So-Hyun, Jiali, Ale, Addison, Summanen, Lane.
Referee: Louise Saunders.