The Emirates Stadium will break the WSL attendance record tomorrow, as Arsenal Women face Tottenham in front of at least 50,000 people on Saturday. Arsenal played Spurs at the end of last season in front of 13,000 and ran out 3-0 winners. Manchester City and Chelsea, who both lost last weekend, play each other this weekend, and thus it would suit Arsenal to take full advantage. Tottenham, though, will offer strong opposition. Spurs made significant investment this summer, bringing in a number of WSL experienced players, such as Drew Spence, Angharad James, Amy Turner, and Ellie Brazil, while also bringing in players such as Celin Bizet and Nikola Karczewska.
Spurs’ finished 5th last season, having been in the top 3 for over half the season. Spurs picked up results against Arsenal, with Arsenal needing a late equalizer at the Hive, and beat Manchester City. Rehanne Skinner, appointed by Spurs in 2020, has made Tottenham into a good, organized and very physical team, but one that needs more attacking thrust. Indeed, Tottenham had the 5th best defence last season, conceding only one more goal than Manchester City and Manchester United. The difference is Spurs scored 24 goals, significantly less than the 60 and 45 that City and United scored.
Ajax were effective on Tuesday night because of their physicality and pressing, something that Spurs might try to match. It is a recurring theme for Arsenal to deal with, as it’s been effective in making Arsenal’s play laboured. It’s an issue of structure, too: the midfield can lack connectivity with Miedema much higher up than Wälti and Little, which can isolate the midfield from the attack.
Predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): 1. Zinsberger; 26. Wienroither, 6. Williamson, 2. Rafaelle Souza, 15. McCabe; 13. Wälti, 10. Little; 9. Mead, 11. Miedema, 19. Foord; 25. Blackstenius
Substitutes: 18. Marckese (GK), 3. Wubben-Moy, 5. Beattie, 7. Catley, 8. Nobbs, 12. Maanum, 16. Maritz, 17. Hurtig, 23. Iwabuchi
Caitlin Foord set up Arsenal’s first goal last weekend, and was also hugely impressive against Ajax as a substitute. Foord scored twice against Spurs in this fixture in May, and has been excellent form since the Asia Cup. She’s a very good ball carrier, in part because she’s a physical and robust player, who is hard to knock off the ball without fouling her—she was third in fouls won per 90 last season after Nikita Parris and Beth Mead.
Because of that, and with her ability to hold play up and link with other forwards, Foord can be a good option to break deep blocks down, or be a more direct option.
WHAT: Arsenal Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women, FA WSL
WHERE: Emirates Stadium, North London
WHEN: Saturday, September 24th 5:30 AM PDT | 8:30 AM EDT | 1:30 PM BST
WATCH: CBS Sports Network (US), BBC One (UK), iPlayer (UK, streaming)