Half time: Arsenal 5-0 Tottenham
Arsenal already out of sight after a ruthless first-half display, with Vivianne Miedema getting a hat-trick and becoming the WSL’s all-time top scorer in the process. If they continue in this vein in the second half, it could be a bleak afternoon for their rivals, who have been outclassed so far.
45 mins: Spurs end a dispiriting half trying to get themselves on the scoresheet, Ayane trying to find the isolated Dean with a cutback that’s cleared away. Two minutes of added time.
GOAL! Arsenal 5-0 Tottenham (Miedema gets her hat-trick!)
No, in a word. Spurs haven’t been able to reorganise after those two changes, and Foord is able to advance unchallenged into the area. As Spencer steps forward she rolls the ball left to Miedema, who has an open goal to complete a first-half hat-trick.
39 mins: Arsenal keep coming, Foord drilling a shot a few inches wide of Spencer’s near post. Can Spurs hang on at least until half time?
37 mins: Karen Hills has seen enough and makes two first-half changes. Defender Lucia Leon and forward Rosella Ayane come on, replacing Gemma Davison and Lucy Quinn.
From a free-kick, Spurs pack the box with defenders, only for McCabe to slip a pass down the right channel for Miedema. Her first-time shot, which looked to be on target, deflects off the unfortunate Kennedy and beats Spencer at the near post.
GOAL! Arsenal 4-0 Tottenham (Miedema 36′)
I was about to commend Spurs for digging in defensively in the last 10 minutes, but they switch off here and Miedema punishes them in ruthless fashion.
31 mins: An Arsenal corner is headed away by Neville, before Kennedy almost picks out Dean with a quick through ball. At the other end, Mead latches onto a diagonal ball but skews her shot wide. Turns out she’s offside, regardless.
29 mins: For Spurs, Alanna Kennedy tries to kickstart an attack from midfield but as soon as Arsenal win the ball back they launch a quick break, Mead racing clear down the right. Her cross towards Miedema is cut out by Zadorsky.
25 mins: A rare foray upfield for Spurs leads to a free kick and a chance to put the ball in the mixer, but Harrop’s delivery floats all the way through to Arsenal keeper Zinsberger.
22 mins: Foord mishits a far-post volley, before Beth Mead tests Spencer with a low shot from distance. Spurs right-back Ashleigh Neville then gets caught ball-watching by Mead, but Spurs scramble it away.
20 mins: We cut to Alex Morgan in the stands, trying her best not to look too perturbed. I’m not sure even her presence would help Spurs here; their defence looks in trouble every time Arsenal surge forward.
18 mins: Spurs have to try and stop this becoming an embarrassment, if it isn’t already. It should have been four here, Van de Donk playing a nice diagonal to McCabe, whose low cross is turned wide by Miedema.
GOAL! Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham (Foord 15′)
They find said opening through a long ball from Leah Williamson, which Caitlin Foord latches onto. The Australian shrugs off a weak defensive challenge and rolls the ball beyond Spencer, who might have done better.
13 mins: The game has settled down a touch after Arsenal’s ferocious start, and Spurs’ response. The hosts are knocking the ball around midfield, waiting for an opening …
10 mins: Spurs look to respond, with a cross causing some confusion in the Arsenal defence before Rianna Dean tries a hopeful chip from 25 yards. Zinsberger acrobatically turns it over the bar. The corner, disappointingly, floats onto the roof of the net.
GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham (Miedema 7′)
A second Arsenal goal, and a significant one for Vivianne Miedema, who plays a neat one-two with Van de Donk and slides the ball past Spencer from a tight angle. That’s her 50th WSL goal, taking her above Nikita Parris and top of the all-time WSL standings.
6 mins: This is an ominous start, as far as Spurs are concerned. They simply can’t get hold of the ball, suffocated by Arsenal’s midfield pressing…
GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham (McCabe 4)
And from it, Arsenal lead! Katie McCabe takes the free kick from out wide but rather than cross, she curls a shot that pings in off the far post with Spencer caught out completely.
3 mins: Viktoria Schnaderbeck, filling in at right-back today, plays Beth Mead in but her cross is cleared as far as Lia Walti, whose shot is blocked. Schnaderbeck breaks down the wing again, and wins a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the area…
Here we go
The players take a collective knee before Spurs get the game under way.
The players are heading out onto the pitch at Meadow Park. Elsewhere, Manchester United have sealed a 4-2 away win at West Ham, while Manchester City have fallen behind at Reading – Amalie Eikeland with the opening goal.
Spurs joint-manager Karen Hills says of Alex Morgan: “It’s not really a major setback, you’ve got to remember it’s only five months since she gave birth. She’s doing really well in training, looking fitter and sharper every day. Her tweet said it all, she’s really excited to get started.”
Joe Montemurro has said the number of injuries in his squad is a concern. “We need to have a look at practices and our scheduling,” says the Arsenal manager, who is keen to maintain the team’s early-season momentum despite the lengthy list of absentees. “We know what this game means to our fans,” he concludes.
In Sunday’s early WSL games, Manchester United are 3-1 up at West Ham with Alessia Russo on the scoresheet twice for the visitors. Everton have made a 100% start to the season but fell behind at home to Brighton; Izzy Christiansen has got the hosts level at half-time.
Bristol City v Birmingham and Reading v Man City kick off at 2pm; Aston Villa’s game against Chelsea, due to be played this afternoon, was postponed after a Villa player tested positive for Covid-19.
The Arsenal bench shows the extent of their injury problems, with Joe Montemurro naming just four substitutes – two of whom, Ruby Mace and Anouk Denton, are just 17 years old. Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little, Steph Catley, Jill Roord, Noelle Maritz, Leonie Maier and Lisa Evans are all unavailable.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Zinsberger; Schnaderbeck, Williamson, Beattie, McCabe; Gut, Wälti, Van de Donk; Mead, Miedema, Foord.
Subs: Williams, Wubben-Moy, Mace, Denton.
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Spencer; Percival, Harrop, Zadorsky, Neville; Kennedy, Quinn; Davison, Filbey, Addison; Dean.
Subs: Whitehouse, Leon, Green, Williams, Worm, Ayane, Sulola.
Hello and welcome to a north London derby that may have come at the wrong time for Tottenham. Spurs have picked up one point from their first four games while their local rivals have started with four wins, scoring 23 goals and already looking like serious title contenders.
Today’s game also comes too soon for Alex Morgan. Spurs’ summer signing has reported a “small setback” in her preparations for a first competitive outing in a year. Morgan has said she “can’t wait to get on the field with this team,” and you sense the feeling is mutual. She will be watching from the stands; her team must try to make it bearable viewing.
Spurs may be the underdogs today, but have been competitive in tough recent fixtures, losing by the odd goal to Everton and Manchester United. Jordan Nobbs heads an extensive Arsenal injury list, and the visitors have reason to hope this will be closer than last month’s FA Cup quarter-final, which the Gunners won 4-0. Kick-off is at 2.30pm, BST.