Arsenal gearing up for crunch Continental Cup derby showdown with Tottenham Hotspur
- Credit: PA
Arsenal will round off their Continental Cup group stage against north London rival’s Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
It’s a must win game for Joe Montemurro’s side if they are to get through into the knockout stages of the competition as one of the best placed runners up.
Arsenal lost their opening game 4-1 to Chelsea before a 4-0 win over London City Lionesses last time out.
What makes this result even more significant for Arsenal is that due to one group having three teams in it only the first and third game will be accumulated in the final group calculation.
Unless London City Lionesses shock Chelsea causing a huge upset Arsenal’s result against the Lionesses wouldn’t be factored if they finish second in the group behind Chelsea.
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To stand any real chance of qualification Arsenal need a big and comfortable win as it will most likely come down to goal difference to decide what two best second placed teams go through into the next stage.
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Arsenal will still be without Steph Catley, Noelle Maritz and Jordan Nobbs while despite being named in the Scotland squad Jennifer Beattie remains a doubt.
Kim Little and Jill Roord are back to full fitness after playing the full 90 minutes in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with current Women’s Super League champions Chelsea.
Lisa Evans also made her return to the squad as she was named on the bench but could be set to feature against the Lilywhites in the cup.
Leah Williamson could be set to make her 150th appearance for the Gunners while Lia Wälti could make her 50th appearance for Joe Montemurro’s side.
Tottenham Hotspur are coming into the game of the back of a 2-2 draw against Bristol City on Saturday evening.
Ebony Salmon scored a last gasp equaliser for the Robins to stop Spurs taking all three points in a game that saw Alex Morgan start her first game for the club.
Spurs have a clean bill of health but will be without Rianna Dean who was sent off on Saturday.
Last time they met:
Arsenal claimed the bragging rights in north London with a 6-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday October 18 in the Women’s Super League.
The Gunners started with a quick pace as Viktoria Schnaderbeck was played in on the right via a smart pass from Leah Williamson before the Austrian international was taken down by Kerys Harrop.
From the resulting free-kick Katie McCabe put the Gunners ahead on 4 minutes as her effort sailed into the net from an acute angle beyond Rebecca Spencer in the Tottenham Hotspur goal.
Joe Montemurro was delighted with his sides opening and they doubled their advantage on seven minutes when Danielle van de Donk played a defence splitting pass to Vivianne Miedema who fired her shot across goal and into the net.
With the goal Miedema became a history maker as she became a record breaker as the top Women’s Super League goalscorer in history with 50 goals.
Karen Hills and Juan Amoros side responded well when Rianna Dean found herself in space before her effort was well tipped over by the superb reactions of Manuela Zinsberger in the Gunners goal.
It was then 3-0 on 15 minutes for Arsenal as Williamson played a superb pass over the top catching out the Tottenham Hotspur defence as Caitlin Foord ran onto the loose ball before slotting in her third league goal of the season.
Tottenham really couldn’t catch a breath as Arsenal were pressing and could have made it 4-0 on 25 minutes when van de Donk played a ball out to McCabe and her low cross found Miedema who slid wide from close range when she should have hit the target.
However on 36 minutes the Gunners did make it four when McCabe played a quick free-kick into Miedema as the Netherlands international made a really quick and intelligent run across the near-post before she fired in a shot beyond Spencer and into the net.
The visitors then made a double substitution on 38 minutes in a change of their system as Lucy Quinn and Gemma Davison were replaced by Rosella Ayane and Lucia Leon.
Miedema was then claiming her first half hat-trick as she slipped Foord in on goal the Australian could have shot herself but instead layed the ball off for Miedema to slot into the empty net.
It was Tottenham who started the second half the better and they won a penalty after McCabe was adjudged to have fouled Leon but on reflection it was a harsh decison on the Gunners.
Dean took responsibility for the Lilywhites from the spot but her effort was saved by Zinsberger flying across her goal and tipping the ball away from goal.
Foord was putting in an outstanding performance for the Gunners with her movement through the middle and she was played in by Miedema on 57 minutes but she was denied by a great save from Spencer as she spread herself across goal to claw the ball away.
However the Australian did get her goal on 64 minutes to make it 6-0 as Miedema played a superb pass into the feet of Mead before she fizzed a low cross into the feet of Foord and her effort deflected into the net.
Montemurro then made his first change of the game as the star of the show Miedema was replaced by Lotte Wubben-Moy for the final 25 minutes.
Karen Hills and Juan Amoros did see their side pull a goal back with Leon as she met a Siri Worm corner at the back-post before heading into the back of the Arsenal net after some poor marking from the home side.
Montemurro then made another change as he brought on Ruby Mace for Van de Donk after the Dutch international put in another really good display playing higher up the pitch.
Spurs didn’t give up and kept fighting as Alanna Kennedy met a cross from Ashleigh Neville at the back-post but she headed wide of goal when she should have hit the target.
Arsenal then brought on 17-year-old Anouk Denton for her debut as she replaced Foord who put in a sensational performance as she scored twice and claimed two assists in the final talking point of a thrilling game.
This will be the third meeting of the sides this season as they met in the FA Cup as Arsenal reached the semi-final of the FA Women’s Cup after a 4-0 victory.
Lisa Evans netted a second half hat-trick after Jordan Nobbs had set Joe Montemurro’s side on their way after a stunning strike.
Tottenham had the first shot on goal as Kit Graham tried her luck inside five minutes but the shot was easily dealt with by Manuela Zinsberger getting down to claim the loose ball.
Arsenal then hit the crossbar a minute later when Leah Williamson played in an inch perfect cross onto the head of Caitlin Foord who struck the crossbar before Spurs cleared the danger.
Evans then drove forward on 12 minutes before her low cross from the left was flicked behind by Foord who went in for a challenge with Shelina Zadorsky at the near-post.
Tottenham were well set-up and kept Arsenal at bay packing the midfield and not allowing the Gunners to play through them something that Karen Hills and Juan Amoros would have been pleased with.
Montemurro’s side than created a half chance when Danielle van de Donk played a clever pass into the back-post to Foord only to see her effort cleared by Kerys Harrop at the heart of the Spurs defence.
Noelle Maritz then had a strike over the bar on 29 minutes as Katie McCabe pulled the ball back for the Swiss International but she fired her effort over the crossbar from just outside the box.
Harrop then came to Spurs rescue a minute later when Jordan Nobbs was teed up in the box by Foord but her strike from close range was well blocked by the former Birmingham City defender who moved to the north London side during the summer.
Zinsberger was then forced into action as Graham whipped a free-kick into the box searching for Alanna Kennedy but the Austrian keeper was out off her line quickly to punch the ball away from danger.
Tottenham then wanted a penalty as Katie McCabe and Rosella Ayane battled for the ball at the back-post before Ayane went down but the referee waved away her the protests.
Zinsberger was then forced into a save as Kennedy saw her cross into the near-post tipped away by the keeper resulting in a corner that came to nothing.
Montemurro’s troops had the final chance of the half when Miedema pulled Chloe Peplow out of position before cutting inside and her pull-back couldn’t find a red shirt allowing the visitors to clear.
It was the Lilywhites who had the first shot of the second half when Gemma Davison drove forward but her effort from range sailed wide of the target.
Arsenal then started to press high and won several corners but Tottenham didn’t clear the danger fully as the ball fell to Miedema but her piece of intricate play was well dealt with by Harrop winning the ball from the Netherlands international.
On 50 minutes Nobbs then had her effort saved by Spencer as Little threaded the ball into her path but her effort was well held by the keeper.
Katie McCabe had the ball in the net two minutes later as Foord was played in by the Republic of Ireland International the ball falling back to the path of McCabe as she lashed her effort into the net however the goal was ruled out for a foul on Zadorsky.
Spencer was then called into action again to keep out Little as a Nobbs ball picked the Scottish International out but her volley was tame and plucked out of the air by the Spurs stopper.
On 56 minutes Tottenham then had a fine opportunity to take the lead with Kennedy as Viktoria Schnaderbeck and goalkeeper Zinsberger miscommunicated with one another as the defender mistimed her back-pass to see the ball go behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner the Australian international got up highest before heading the ball inches wide of the upright.
Kim Little won a free-kick on the edge of the area as she rolled Kennedy before being taken down by the new Spurs signing, Arsenal midfielder Van de Donk then layed the ball off to McCabe and she drilled a strike just wide of the target.
The Gunners were really putting the pressure on their rival’s as Little worked her way into the box on 65 minutes however her low powerful strike was straight at Spencer from an acute angle.
Karen Hills then was forced into a change on 69 minutes when Peplow was replaced due to an injury by Welsh international Josie Green.
The Gunners then took the lead via a stunning goal from Nobbs as she lobbed the ball over Spencer from range on 72 minutes as Spurs defender Ashleigh Neville gave the ball away and the midfielder spotted Spencer off her line before dinking the ball over the keeper.
A minute later it was two when Miedema slotted the ball onto Evans with a fabulous pass before the Scottish International remained calm slotting the ball across Spencer in the Spurs goal.
On 77 minutes the Gunners made a double change as Miedema and Nobbs were replaced by Malin Gut and Beth Mead.
Lotte Wubben-Moy was then to make her Arsenal return after resigning in the summer from the USA as she came on in the 82nd minute as she replaced Schnaderbeck and Leonie Maier came on for Noelle Maritz.
Montemurro’s side then made it 3-0 when Evans again popped up to grab her second when Little played the ball into her path and once again she remained calm to fire the ball into the back of the net.
17-year-old Ruby Mace was then to make her Gunners debut when she came on in midfield for Little in the 88th minute.
Evans then went on to complete her hat-trick as Mead crossed the ball low into the box finding Foord who dummied the ball allowing the Scottish International to run onto it and lash her strike into the roof of the net.
Lucy Quinn then had a fine opportunity to pull a goal back as she was teed up inside the box but she thumped her effort straight at Zinsberger in what turned out to be the final opportunity of the game.
The clubs only met once in the Women’s Super League in 2019-20 due to the Coronavirus pandemic ending the season infront of 38,262 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Scotland star Kim Little and Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema’s second-half goals won the division’s first derby between the two sides.
They also met in March 2017 in the FA Cup with Spurs not fully professional at the time with Arsenal winning 10-0 as Danielle van de Donk netted a hat-trick, Danielle Carter hit a brace with goals from Chloe Kelly, Kim Little, Katie McCabe and Dominique Janssen adding to the score.
Potential match winners:
Lotte Wubben-Moy - Wubben-Moy is expected to start alongside Leah Williamson at the heart of the defence just like the Chelsea game. The young English defender had a superb game against the Blues and with Alex Morgan leading the line for Spurs will have to be on top of her game once again.
Arsenal build from the back and Wubben-Moy has a good passing range so her passes over the top of the Tottenham defence could cause plenty of problems for the Lilywhites with Vivianne Miedema and Caitlin Foord racing onto them.
Beth Mead- Fresh from her goal against Chelsea on Sunday Mead will be coming into this fixture full of confidence. She scored after Miedema’s low cross picked her out perfectly before sliding behind Ann-Katrin Berger.
Arsenal are expected to have more chances in this game than they did against Chelsea so Mead could be the difference once again after scoring two goals and registering five assists in the Women’s Super League in seven games so far this season.
Alex Morgan - Probably the most talked about Women’s Super League signing of the summer,Morgan started her first game for the club on Saturday evening and is expected to start her first north London derby for Spurs.
Morgan’s movement on and off the ball could cause problems for Arsenal and her hold up play is a key point of her play so with that Tottenham’s midfield could get higher and trouble Arsenal in attack.
Siri Worm - Netherlands international Worm is coming into his game after a goal and assist against the Robins. Her set-pieces could once again be a danger for Arsenal as she scored from a direct free-kick over Sophie Baggaley in the Bristol City goal.
Worm also has a good passing range so her passing range could exploit Arsenal defensively. Tottenham are struggling for form but Worm is a key player to watch out for.
What’s been said:
After the Chelsea game Montemurro said: “We can take heart and belief, there’s a lot of words that describe what we can take from the game and what we should be on a regular basis.”
“I’ve always believed in this team, I’ve always believed in the personalities of this team. It’s the intent. If the intention is right, we’ll defend well, we’ll attack well.
He also commented on Miedema moving onto the left for the last 30 minutes: “Chelsea obviously changed their system in the second half. They went with a flat front three up top, with Pernille Harder just behind and Ji and England as pivots, if you want to say that, so we had to make sure we could expose them a little bit further up.”
Lotte Wubben-Moy and Leah Williamson were also praised as he said: “I’ve got to commend Lotte, under a lot of pressure, under the situation, she looked like a seasoned professional.
“Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy, two centre-backs and it’s amazing and maybe something exciting for England going forward.”
How to watch:
The game won’t be streamed live but will be on the FA player after the final whistle.