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Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal: Spurs seal first WSL victory over Gunners

Tottenham Hotspur claimed the North London bragging rights with a shock 1-0 victory against Arsenal.

In the Women’s Super League, Tottenham Hotspur defeated Arsenal 1-0, led by a magnificent team goal that Martha Thomas finished off.

On a historic day at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it sealed their first-ever victory against their bitterest rivals in WSL history. Thomas’ goal, which involved six consecutive passes from back to front, perfectly encapsulated the job that Robert Vilahamn has done since the Swedish manager joined.

The N17 pregame show was not up to par with the first half. The renowned Spurs trumpet raised the excitement, but the actual football on the field fell short of the expectations. In the last third, Arsenal lacked the cutting edge, particularly when facing Spurs’ tenacious defense.

Their inability to finish paid off quickly, as Tottenham took the lead thanks to Martha Thomas. Following a free-flowing play from back to front, the Scotwoman grabbed hold of a well timed ball from Clinin Bizet in front of the renowned South Stand at Spurs.

Arsenal exerted constant pressure on Spurs until the very end, but Barbara Votŭková consistently stopped them. They maintain their position in second place, tied with Chelsea on points, although Chelsea now has a game in hand. Spurs maintain their fifth place but get closer to Liverpool.

Next, because of the league’s winter break, neither team plays in the FA Cup until January 14th, giving the players much-needed respite.

The match’s narrative

Tottenham made one change from the squad that played Wednesday in the Continental Cup and drew 3-3 with Arsenal. Amanda Naz was replaced by Captain Bethany England.

But Arsenal was a whole different story. With the exception of Katie McCabe and Frida Maanum, who remained in the starting eleven, the visitors made nine changes.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw a surprising amount of possession dominance by Arsenal, although Spurs had the game’s first opportunity.Together with Kit Graham, Martha Thomas played a deft through-ball in behind England. Even though it came from a tight angle, England’s shot went center down the goal.

In rapid succession, Caitlin Foord and Alexandra Russo both had tight calls for Arsenal. The Australian’s attempt veered just wide of the post, and Russo’s header from close range went over the bar from the next corner.

The Australian’s potent shot, which came in at minute 17, typified her early-morning form as Arsenal’s most dangerous player. She attacked from the left side, outwitted the defender, and sent her shot crashing off the far post.

Spurs provided absolutely little optimism in the first half as the game devolved into an attack versus defense cycle. Grace Clinton led her team brilliantly when they did break into Arsenal’s half, constantly going at defenders on her own. Even if it did not usually end with a clear-cut chance, the 20-year-old showcased her talent consistently.

Foord continued to be Arsenal’s brightest spark, firing another shot past Votíková’s post, yet the Gunners failed to register a shot on target in the first 40 minutes. Maanum quickly ended that record as she forced the Czech Republican goalkeeper into a fine save to her left.

In her second game back from injury, England, dubbed the North London Derby poster girl, played just 45 minutes before being substituted by Jessica Naz.

Like in the first half, Arsenal put pressure on Spurs right away. The hosts were cautioned by rapid shots from Maanum and McCabe before Russo misdirected a promising header from close range. The knocks on the door came from Jonas Eidevall’s side all the time.

Beth Mead kept up Arsenal’s pressure, but 55 minutes in, Molly Bartrip made a last-ditch block to keep her low, looping shot out of the goal. However, Tottenham’s top scorer Thomas gave them the lead against the flow of play.

From goalkeeper to the goal, Spurs swept through Arsenal with six consecutive passes. Thomas played Bizet in behind on the counter-attack; the Norweigian continued the free-flowing move, eventually slowing down to allow Thomas to catch up.

The former Manchester United striker was given an exquisite ball across goal by Bizet, and she put it past Manuela Zinsberger with an outstretched leg.The goal was breathtaking and perfectly embodied Robert Vilahamn’s style of play, delighting the home crowd.

Despite trailing 1-0, Arsenal persisted in applying pressure; Russo, the focal point of the Gunners’ assaults, sent a strong volley towards goal, but Votíková was once again composed in the goal, easily saving the attempt.

Arsenal had hope of mounting a comeback when 11 minutes were added in stoppage time, following a brief stoppage for a medical emergency in the away end. Nevertheless, they were never successful, even though Kyra Cooney-Cross made a last-ditch effort that Ashley Neville stopped.

As the hosts secured their first victory over their bitter rivals, excitement erupted inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the sound of the full-time whistle.

Giving this honor to goal scorer Thomas or to Celin Bizet for a brilliant assist would have been simple, but Votŭková was crucial to Spurs and always maintained her composure in goal.

Throughout the game, she made eight saves and assisted Spurs in launching attacks with their audacious but successful play-out-of-the-back tactic.

It seems unlikely that the former PSG goalkeeper, who was making her debut start in the WSL, will be replaced by Becky Spencer following an impressive showing.

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