Thursday, December 2, 2021

Sp*rs Women v Arsenal Preview

THE LOWDOWN
Arsenal kick off Women’s Football Weekend with a North London derby away at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday lunchtime in the WSL. During each men’s international weekend, the WSL select big ticket fixtures to drum up greater interest in the league while internationals are played in the men’s game. This time, however, the match will be played at Tottenham Women’s usual home ground at The Hive.

The last three times this fixture has been played it’s been held at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, on this occasion, the focus will be on trying to pack The Hive out. Spurs have, of course, never beaten Arsenal’s Women’s team and the most recent match between the teams saw the Gunners canter to a 5-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over them at Meadow Park in September.

However, this game will be held in more familiar territory for Rehanne Skinner’s Tottenham side, who are enjoying a bit of a surprise season and currently sit in 3rd place. The caveat, of course, is that they are yet to play either Arsenal or Chelsea in the league and that will give us a better impression of how far this Tottenham team have come in a short space of time.

Arsenal flew straight back from Denmark on Wednesday evening after their 5-1 win Champions League win against Koge. It’s a short turnaround time for them with Jonas Eidevall sure to shuffle his pack again. Beth Mead, Kim Little and Katie McCabe were all substitutes in Denmark, while Mana Iwabuchi was an unused sub. Arsenal are looking to continue their perfect record in the WSL so far this season.

TEAM NEWS
Jen Beattie will return to the squad having missed the last two games through illness, while Tobin Heath will undergo a late check on a calf strain before it is decided whether she can form part of the squad. Malin Gut (ACL) is out while Viki Schnaderbeck will undergo a late check on a calf strain.

Available squad
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 18.Williams, 24.Stenson
DEFENDERS: 3.Wubben-Moy, 4.Patten, 5.Beattie, 6.Williamson, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 20.Boye, 22.Schnaderbeck, 29.Goldie
MIDFIELDERS: 8.Nobbs, 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 13.Wälti, 23.Iwabuchi
FORWARDS: 9.Mead, 11.Miedema, 14.Parris, 15.McCabe, 19.Foord, 77.Heath

A WORD FROM THE BOSS
“They are a well-organised team who are consistent in how they perform and what they do, which means their execution is very good as well. You can see from their draw against United last week, they keep believing and doing the same things over and over again. That’s usually a very good way of taking points. They have a clear idea and players who believe in it and that’s always a great starting point.”

LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal were 5-1 winners against Spurs in the FA Cup quarter-final when the teams met at Meadow Park five weeks ago. Rachel Williams gave Tottenham a shock early lead before Mana Iwabuchi, a Jiali own goal, a brace from Caitlin Foord and a goal from Nikita Parris made for a comfortable victory for the Gunners. In this fixture last season, Arsenal were 3-0 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium thanks to strikes from Caitlin Foord, Vivianne Miedema and Katie McCabe.

THE OPPOSITION
Tottenham parted company with long standing managerial duo Karen Hills and Juan Amoros last winter and appointed highly rated coach Rehanne Skinner in their stead. The Skinner revolution took some time to get into full swing, it’s fair to say, though Tottenham comfortably avoided relegation which would have been their target at the beginning of the season.

This year, Tottenham have improved. They have retained their defensive solidity, only conceding four goals in their six WSL outings so far. Spurs have become much more threatening on the counter attack under Skinner, as illustrated in their 2-1 win away at Manchester City in September. Angela Addison and Rachel Williams are beginning to add goals from midfield while former Gunner Chiomu Ubogagu really adds some threat from the wide positions.

Tottenham have emerged with Brighton as a surprise contender for the third Champions League qualification spot with Manchester City and Everton floundering and Manchester United still finding their feet under Marc Skinner. Spurs are unbeaten at The Hive this season and have only conceded once in four games there. However, they haven’t scored more than once at home game either in this campaign.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Noelle Maritz has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers so far this season. The Swiss international has been a mainstay at right-back and it’s difficult to remember anything that she has done particularly wrong. Spurs have moved to a back three system this season with Ashleigh Neville playing in a slightly unfamiliar left wing-back position.

Maritz tends not to be quite as adventurous as either Catley or McCabe at left-back but Noelle will want to pin Neville back and make Tottenham’s wing-back system less aggressive. Spurs usually unleash the more attack minded Ubogagu from the bench to play from the left during the second half and will likely repeat that pattern again on Saturday. Maritz will have a couple of different challenges during this match but she has passed every challenge so far this season with flying colours.

PREDICTED LINE-UP

Subs: 4.Patten, 5.Beattie, 8.Nobbs, 12.Maanum, 14.Parris, 18.Williams, 19.Foord, 20.Boye, 77.Heath.

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match takes place at The Hive on Saturday at 1.30pm, tickets are available on the gate at £6.50 adults and £3 concessions, or else you can buy them here (the match will not be segregated, there isn’t a designated away section). In the UK the game will be shown live on BBC One, check with your local WSL rights provider who will carry this game wherever you are.

COMING UP
We will have match reaction from Jonas Eidevall on the site shortly after full-time as well as our usual post-match reaction video. Hopefully, you have also seen the latest episode of the Arsenal Women Arsecast, in which Alex Ibaceta and I talk to senior figures from Sky Sports about landing the WSL broadcast rights this season. We also have an Arseblog exclusive interview with midfielder Frida Maanum that went up on Friday morning.

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C.B.

Come on you Reds. Beat the old enemy, please.

Henkamp

Nice to see Maritz’s performances are recognized. Compared her to Sagna at the beginning of the season — in terms of consistency — and she’s been rock solid so far.

Hope we win this one and City manage to take points off Chelsea.

Chrishgooner

Looking forward to a visit to the Hive although another reason to celebrate more goals and another “clean sheet” at the Toilet Bowl preferred
As there are normally a couple of differences to your predicted line up Tim, I’m hoping one will be the inclusion of Jordan from the off.
Although perhaps management of her “minutes” must be on going since she was back from her ankle injury almost a month ahead of the original estimates.

Boff

It seemed to me that Viv was particularly ineffective last week. Perhaps she wasn’t up to speed after her long break – but she appeared almost uninterested.

Cliff Bastin

Do another thrashing so when people ask us whether we saw the spurs thrashing we have to say which one do you mean there have been so many.

Onenil

Live football on terrestrial TV excellent. Time to mash the spuds again.
A job it should be pointed out that can be done equally well by men or women… as long as they wear an Arsenal shirt!

Onenil

Damn! That did not age well.😞

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