Katie McCabe’s first North London derby was played in March 2017 in the FA Cup. At the time, Spurs were in the third tier and the Gunners ran out 10-0 winners at Meadow Park. McCabe was a scoring substitute in that game.
The picture has changed since with Tottenham promoted to the top flight in 2019 and though Spurs have still yet to beat the Gunners, they came close last season in the away fixture in the WSL. A stoppage-time Vivianne Miedema equaliser was needed on that occasion.
“Since I came to the club seven years ago we’ve seen Spurs really invest in their women’s team and they have done a great job with that and that means there is more quality in these games,” Katie McCabe tells Arseblog News at London Colney on Friday afternoon.
In May, when the teams met at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners in a physical game which saw Spurs step over the line with some of their challenges.
One, on Lia Wälti in the second half, prompted the image of the season as Katie stepped in for her stricken teammate.
Current mood. pic.twitter.com/6CMJ9JaTJx
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) May 12, 2022
“That derby feeling has grown,” the Ireland captain laughs. “Especially last year when we played them away from home, that was a really tough game for us. We had to dig deep to get an equaliser.
“They will look to frustrate us and be physical and that’s what a derby game is all about. It’s up to us to stay under control, let the ball do the work and be ready for the physicality but for us, it’s about playing the Arsenal way.”
McCabe frequently plays at either left-wing or left-back and has plenty of competition in both roles this season, with Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord in strong form and the club signing Swedish attacker Lina Hurtig this summer.
“At a club like Arsenal that’s normal, there is always going to be at least one player you have to fight for a position with, sometimes two. I am quite versatile which helps, I played in four different positions last year.
“That gives Jonas something to think about too, I can do a job on the right-hand side as well as the left. It’s up to me to train hard and push Steph and Caitlin on the left and give Jonas a difficult decision.
“I want us to win every week whether I am starting or whether I am coming on as a sub, I am going in 100%. I always play with my heart on my sleeve. If you want to play for a big club, you have to face competition.”
Katie was a visible presence at plenty of games at this summer’s Euros, supporting her Arsenal teammates. McCabe is itching to be a part of a big crowd on Saturday with 51,000 tickets sold.
“I attended a lot of games at the Euros which was really enjoyable because as a player you don’t actually see or feel the atmosphere until you go out for the warm-up. Then it cranks up a notch when you walk out to begin the game.
“Arsenal have done a terrific job in terms of tapping into that momentum from the Euros and really pushing this game – a North London derby at the Emirates with 51,000 tickets sold.
“It’s unbelievable. That’s obviously off the back of a fantastic Euros for the Lionesses. Going in as a player will be a little bit different. I did enjoy supporting my team-mates from a fans’ perspective at the Euros but I’d much rather be going out and enjoying it as a player.”
Spotted at the #Euros 👀😄
Ireland’s Katie McCabe and Ruesha Littlejohn were spotted amongst the supporters as the Netherlands took on Sweden.
Any guesses for who @katie_mccabe11 was supporting? 😂
— Her Sport (@HerSportDotIE) July 11, 2022