Tottenham Hotsp*r Women v Arsenal Match Preview

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Arsenal Women Match Preview

THE LOWDOWN
Arsenal play Tottenham Hotspur in a top-flight women’s fixture for the first time this Sunday as the Gunners travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. At time of writing, around 40k tickets have been sold, while Arsenal have sold out a 3,000 away allocation as the Gunners play at Tottenham’s redeveloped stadium for the first ever time.

The match takes place during the FAWSL’s designated Women’s Football Weekend. Liverpool play Everton at Anfield, Reading play Bristol City at the Madejski Stadium and Brighton play Birmingham City at the AMEX as the WSL bids to break more attendance records during an international break for the men’s Premier League.

Arsenal were held to a surprise 0-0 draw away at Brighton in the Conti Cup prior to the international break. Most of the Gunners squad have been away on international duty and only returned to London Colney on Thursday. It’s a quick turnaround for Joe Montemurro’s side before playing in front of a big crowd in N17, but the larger, more manicured pitch will be more to their tastes than Crawley’s boggy pitch where the Gunners were held a few weeks ago.

More to the point, Arsenal currently sit second and move into a run of very winnable matches. They thrashed Spurs 6-0 in a pre-season friendly in August. They ought to beat Spurs and comfortably, but the same was true when the team took on Brighton a fortnight ago. That said, Montemurro rested Vivianne Miedema and Danielle van de Donk for that match, which he is unlikely to do this time.

TEAM NEWS
Arsenal will be without Danielle Carter and Tabea Kemme, who continue their recoveries from long-term knee injuries. Jen Beattie and Kim Little were spared Scotland’s international match against Albania due to ‘niggling injuries’, but neither were sent home from their camp. Jill Roord will be checked, as she seemed to be nursing a groin strain during Netherlands’ 4-1 win over Slovenia on Tuesday, but she completed the full 90 minutes and should be fit.

LAST TIME OUT
The teams met a fortnight before the season began in a friendly at Boreham Wood, with the Gunners prevailing 6-0 thanks to goals from Vivianne Miedema, Jen Beattie, Jordan Nobbs and a hat trick from Jill Roord. The last time the teams met in a competitive match, Arsenal thumped Spurs 10-0 in the FA Cup at Meadow Park in March 2017. Spurs have invested heavily in their squad since 2017, so don’t expect double figures on this occasion!

THE OPPOSITION
Tottenham were promoted from the WSL Championship as runners-up to Manchester United last summer. They invested heavily in the team during the summer with the signings of Gemma Davison (who is now injured), Becky Spencer, Lucy Quinn and Rachel Furness. Spurs defeated Bristol City in Bristol last time out thanks to a pair of long range goals from Kit Graham.

The latter was a more disappointing result against a team in a similar area of the table. However, they did manage to beat West Ham 2-0 at the London Stadium prior to that and acquitted themselves very well away at Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the opening game of the season, where they only lost 1-0. They have experience of playing in big stadiums and will set up to stifle Arsenal.

Spurs are coached by joint managers, Karen Hills and Juan Amoros who have been with the club for over a decade. Tottenham have invested heavily in their women’s team in the last 2 years, after largely being consigned to the lower divisions for their history. Their plan involved avoiding relegation from the WSL this season and building from there.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Katie McCabe spent most of last season playing in an advanced wide forward position, either on the left or as an inverted winger on the right. McCabe played more minutes than any other player last season. With Jordan Nobbs returned to the squad and the signings of Jill Roord and Leonie Maier (meaning Lisa Evans is free to play on the wing), places at wide-forward are at a premium.

However, Montemurro values her contribution so much that he has played the Ireland skipper at left-back, where she has played plenty of football before. McCabe had an outstanding game at full-back against Manchester City three weeks ago and with the large, wide open surface available at Tottenham, McCabe’s raids down the left-hand side will be key as Arsenal seek to break Tottenham’s defence down.

PREDICTED LINE-UP
1.ZINSBERGER, 17.EVANS, 5.BEATTIE, 6.WILLIAMSON, 15.McCABE, 13.WALTI, 8.NOBBS, 10.LITTLE, 7.VAN DE DONK, 23.MEAD, 11.MIEDEMA. Subs; 2.Veje, 3.Mitchell, 14.Roord, 16.Quinn, 18.Peyraud-Magnin, 20.Maier, 22.Schnaderbeck.

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game will be screened live on BT Sport in the UK, with a 3pm kickoff on Sunday. If you are outside of the UK, you can watch it live on the FA Player app free of charge, unless you are in Scandinavia where you can watch on NENT, or if you are in Central America the game will be on Sky Mexico.

COMING UP
We’ll have exclusive player reaction on the site on Sunday evening, as well as all of the build-up and reaction for Thursday’s Conti Cup match against Bristol City at Meadow Park and next Sunday’s WSL home game against Liverpool. If you haven’t already, check out this month’s Arsenal Women Arsecast, in which Pippa and Tim talk to Dutch women’s national team journalist Annemarie Postma about the Gunners’ Dutch contingent. There are also exclusive interviews with Vivianne Miedema, Jill Roord and Leah Williamson talking about Vivianne Miedema as a teammate. Get it in your ears.

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Christopher Humphrey
Christopher Humphrey

I think Joe’s team selection for Sunday will spring a few surprises. We are blessed by a duplication of talent in nearly every position. The full/wingback slots are perhaps the most difficult to predict with Lisa or Leonie down the right. Katie, Kat or Mitch on the left. If both are fit, I would start with Leonie & Kat (moving Lisa & Katie further up to complicate the midfield selections!!). Choices,choices🤔

Razor
Razor

Going to the game as a family, albeit sitting in the home end with the ‘scum’. Is anyone else in the same boat, and if so, are you / your kids going to wear Arsenal colours? I would hope that the atmosphere would be more like a rugby game where everyone can sit together without having too many problems, but mindful there are some idiots on that side, both inside and outside of the stadium.