Arsenal Women are into the semi-final of the 2019/20 Women’s FA Cup after a resounding 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. The scoreline, though, paints a more comfortable picture, after Tottenham made things difficult for Arsenal for over an hour, before Arsenal’s superior quality came through.
The match is the first of five in a fifteen day period for Arsenal, and coming off of an international break where only six of the Arsenal squad remained with the club, manager Joe Montemurro made four changes to the team that had scored fifteen goals in their first two games. One of the changes was enforced, with Jill Roord picking up an injury on international duty, while Lia Wälti and Steph Catley were left out entirely, and Beth Mead dropped to the bench. In their place, Katie McCabe, Danïelle van de Donk, Lisa Evans, and Caitlin Foord all came into the side.
Arsenal found it tough going against a well-organized Tottenham side that looked to disrupt Arsenal’s passing rhythm through pressing and fouling. Caitlin Foord hit the crossbar with a header, and a neat one-two between Vivianne Miedema and Jordan Nobbs set the former up, whose cross slash shot flashed across the six yard box, but that was very much that from Arsenal in a disappointing first half.
Arsenal stepped things up in the second half, increasing the quality and crispness of their passing. Sharp play between Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs set the latter up for a shot, that Becky Spencer saved, and Katie McCabe went close with a free kick. On the other end, Tottenham had a great chance: Alanna Kennedy had a free header from a free kick that she sent wide of Manuela Zinsberger in goal.
Arsenal finally made the breakthrough after 72 minutes, with Jordan Nobbs intercepting Ashleigh Neville’s pass, and, seeing Spencer off her line, lobbed the goalkeeper from twenty-five yards.
Before Tottenham could regroup, it was two in two minutes, with Tottenham again masters of their own downfall. Miedema picked up a loose ball, and her pass nutmegged Karys Harrop, leaving Lisa Evans to slot past Spencer.
With Tottenham needing to chase the game, Arsenal all of a sudden had space in the Tottenham half. Kim Little found Evans on the left for the third goal on 84 minutes, and in the 90th minute, with the game won, Van de Donk played the ball into open space for Beth Mead, whose cross along the six yard box was met by Evans for the hat trick—the third straight game featuring an Arsenal hat trick.