Arsenal’s perfect start to the WSL season is over, though the Gunners remain unbeaten after Vivianne Miedema salvaged a draw away at Tottenham. It marks the first time Arsenal haven’t beaten Spurs in the WSL, who went ahead shortly after the hour mark. The result leaves Arsenal in first, four points ahead of Chelsea, who play Manchester City tomorrow.
In truth, Arsenal dominated the first hour, and should’ve been multiple goals ahead. Beth Mead had a sitter saved in both halves, a heavy touch allowing Tinja-Riikka Korpela to come out and smother in the first half, and then her shot went straight at Korpela in the second. Mead hit the crossbar from a free kick, and Katie McCabe also hit the crossbar. Vivianne Miedema had several chances that you would normally expect her to put away, after creating space by using her dribbling ability to check past defenders. One of Miedema’s shots was saved, the other was skied over.
Yet Tottenham were able to hold Arsenal at bay, and the teams went in scoreless at half time. This has been a feature of many Arsenal games as of late: against Brighton and Aston Villa, Arsenal were held scoreless for 50 minutes. Indeed, there does seem to be an emerging patten under Jonas Eidevall, which is that Arsenal don’t really build up through central areas, especially in midfield. Arsenal have been more direct this season, but teams are starting to catch on. And when Arsenal’s off ball pressure drops off, their control becomes somewhat sterile.
It’s an issue both of tactics but there are also personnel solutions that can give Arsenal greater presence in central areas. For example, Mana Iwabuchi or Tobin Heath could play on the left hand side of Arsenal’s attack, or Jordan Nobbs could start in midfield.
A defensive miscue gave Tottenham the lead: Rachel Williams shot was spilled by Zinsberger, and Wubben-Moy’s attempted clearance was blocked and bundled over the line by Williams. From that point, Spurs were the more dangerous side: Ashleigh Neville missed a sitter to put Spurs 2-0 up, and despite Arsenal throwing on Nikita Parris, Nobbs, Iwabuchi, and Caitlin Foord, the Gunners couldn’t create much. In injury time, though, Kim Little won a corner, and Miedema powered home McCabe’s delivery to rescue a point from a match that Arsenal will be deeply disappointed not to take all three.
Arsenal: Zinsberger; Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley (Parris 68’); Wälti (Iwabuchi 84’), Maanum (Nobbs 68’); Mead (Foord 84’), Little, McCabe; Miedema
Substitutes not used: Williams, Patten, Boye, Goldie, Heath
Goal: Miedema 90+2’