Arsenal Women face Tottenham in the second North London Derby of the season. Arsenal beat Spurs 4-0 at the end of September in the quarter-final of last season’s FA Cup, and will look to keep up their 100% record against Spurs. With a trip to Manchester United and the visit of Chelsea after the international break, three points are very much needed as Arsenal look to enter the forthcoming international break on top of the Women’s Super League.
Arsenal beat Spurs 4-0 in their last meeting, but it was 0-0 for over an hour, as Spurs kept their shape well and inhibited Arsenal’s build-up play. After two goals in a minute, and facing elimination, Tottenham poured forward, giving Arsenal the space to run-up the score. In the league meeting last season, Arsenal had to be patient before Kim Little opened the scoring.
Spurs’ league trend so far has been to keep games tight, outside of their defeat to Manchester City. The underlying metrics reflect this; Tottenham have the 6th best expected goals against, at 6.7. Spurs issue has been scoring; they’ve scored two goals in four games, and take 7 shots per 90 minutes. There is, of course, the specter of Alex Morgan, who has not yet played for Spurs, but beyond that, Spurs are struggling to create chances. That equation could change once Morgan comes into the side, but for now, Spurs’ hopes, as they were in the FA Cup quarter-final, is to be solid defensively and sneak a goal through a counter-attack or set piece, with Alanna Kennedy a threat.
Arsenal’s injury crisis continues, with Joe Montemurro revealing during the week that Arsenal are undertaking an internal review after several muscle injuries—a consequence, Montemurro believes, of the six month down period for women’s football in the United Kingdom, before Arsenal had to get up to speed for a Champions League game.
Kim Little could be back, with Arsenal’s captain featuring in training during the week, and a number of players could be back after the international break. However, Arsenal’s injury list has lengthened, with Noëlle Maritz suffering a knee injury, and Leonie Maier having been withdrawn from the Germany squad with a thigh problem. They join Jill Roord (knee), Jordan Nobbs (hamstring), Steph Catley (calf), Lisa Evans (calf), and Fran Stenson (thumb), who will all miss Sunday’s game.
Player to watch: Danïelle van de Donk
Last weekend saw Danïelle van de Donk awarded Player of the Match after a fine display against Brighton. Scoring Arsenal’s second goal, Van de Donk was closer to her usual all-action level of performance, after a slow start to the season. In his post-match interview, Joe Montemurro admitted that Van de Donk missed most of pre-season, and had only just begun finding her rhythm. This also saw Van de Donk in her better position: higher up the pitch, where she could instigate pressing triggers, and make intelligent runs off the ball. Last week, the midfield base was provided by Malin Gut and Lia Wälti, but with Kim Little likely to come back, Van de Donk can reprise this higher role, especially with Nobbs and Roord unavailable.
1. Zinsberger; 3. Wubben-Moy, 6. Williamson, 5. Beattie, 15. McCabe; 13. Wälti, 10. Little, 7. Van de Donk; 9. Mead, 11. Miedema, 19. Foord
Substitues: 19. Williams (GK), 21. Gut, 22. Schnaderbeck, 30. Mace, 31. Denton
WHAT: Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women, Women’s Super League
WHERE: Meadow Park, Borehamwood
WHEN: Sunday, October 18th 6:30 AM PDT | 9:30 AM EDT | 2:30 PM BST
WATCH: NBC Live extra (streaming), ATAFootball.com (streaming), BT Sport (UK)