After a two-week international break, and Champions League action before that, Arsenal can turn their full attention to domestic football. Arsenal’s match at Tottenham Hotspur’s new, delayed stadium, a stadium that was not delivered on time, will be Tottenham Women’s first ever game at the new White Hart Lane, with Arsenal Women the first iteration of the club to play at the stadium.
The two teams met in pre-season, with Arsenal running out 6-0 winners at Meadow Park, a match notable for being Jordan Nobbs’ return to football after her ACL injury. Nobbs scored in the fixture, with Jill Roord adding a hat trick. Before that, Arsenal beat Spurs 10-0 in the FA Women’s Cup in 2017—Beth Mead’s debut for the club—but that was a very different Tottenham side.
Tottenham come into the fixture in decent form. Spurs, who were runners up in the FA Women’s Championship last season have been solid in the WSL, losing against Chelsea and Manchester United, beating West Ham United, Liverpool, and Bristol City. Their success so far has come from keeping things relatively tight, conceding five goals in five games, but only scoring five goals.
Against Manchester United, Spurs gave up 25 shots, but last time out, against Bristol City, Spurs only gave up 10 shots. That has been the pattern; the better sides have taken a lot of shots, as Spurs have looked to sit deep and counter, a game plan that worked perfectly at the London Stadium against West Ham, utilizing Kit Graham up front, as well as the midfield play of Rachel Furness. But Spurs strength is in part with their defence: Ashleigh Neville, who has been with the side since they were in the third division (she played in the 10-0 defeat) has been one of the better players, and New Zealand international Ria Percival is experienced at this level. For more, read our roundtable with Cartilage Free Captain.
Arsenal come into this match with some frustration. After beating Manchester City 1-0 in their last WSL match and putting eight past Slavia Praha, Arsenal drew 0-0 against Brighton in the Continental Cup, losing on penalties (The Conti Cup has a convoluted group stage, where you get 2 points for winning on penalties). They’ll be looking to put things right, and their attacking players had good international breaks: Vivianne Miedema scored four for the Netherlands over the international break, while Daniëlle van de Donk scored a hat trick in the 8-0 win against Turkey and Beth Mead scored for England.
There are some minor injury concerns: Jill Roord had an apparent groin problem while playing against Slovenia, while Katrine Veje pulled out from Denmark and Kim Little and Jen Beattie missed Scotland’s 5-0 win against Albania for precautionary reasons. Leonie Maier should be fit to start, which would allow Arsenal to push Lisa Evans further up the pitch should a midfield re-jig be necessary.
Arsenal will have an allocation of 3,000 that has sold out; Spurs have been selling tickets starting at £6.50. With men’s domestic on pause because of the international break, the FA are advertising this weekend of fixtures as the Women’s Football Weekend.
Predicted XI: Zinsberger; Evans, Williamson, Beattie, McCabe; Wälti, Nobbs, Little; Van de Donk, Miedema, Mead.
Tottenham Hotspur Women v Arsenal Women
KO: Sunday, November 17, 3 PM GMT/10 AM EST/7 AM PST
Stream: FAPlayer.tv (free; just sign up for an account)
TV: BT Sport (UK), Optus Sport (Australia), Sky Mexico (Central America), NENT (Scandinavia)