arsenal-see-off-spurs-to-send-wsl-title-race-to-final-day

Arsenal see off Spurs to send WSL title race to final day

Caitlin Foord’s double helped Arsenal to a 3-0 win against Tottenham in the north London derby at the Emirates, sending the WSL title race to a thrilling final day showdown.

Spurs have been experts at rattling the status quo this season and had they won their first north London derby, would have handed Chelsea the title with a game to spare.

However, Arsenal have taken the race to the wire, and are a point behind the Blues ahead of Sunday’s games. The Gunners travel to West Ham while Chelsea host Manchester United, live on Sky Sports Main Event, Football and Showcase from 11am.

Arsenal made sure their local rivals were on the back front from the get-go, scoring inside four minutes. Leah Williamson found Beth Mead in the middle of the park, with the Arsenal forward making an unchallenged run into the area before sending her shot past the goalkeeper.

After an indifferent start to the second half, Arsenal soon found their scoring boots thanks to Foord. Her first came from a well-worked corner, with Mead finding the feet of Vivianne Miedema. Her effort from the left was pushed away by goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela, but Foord was lurking at the far post to slot home.

Beth Mead puts Arsenal ahead against Spurs in WSL

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Beth Mead put Arsenal ahead early on against Tottenham

But it was her second goal that was the pick of the evening’s strikes. Mead again was involved, flicking the ball into Foord’s feet. She took a touch to steady herself before curling a sensational effort past a helpless Korpela and securing a vital three points.

Tottenham had the chance to score a late consolation when they were awarded a last-minute penalty – Lotte Wubben-Moy fouling Angela Addison – but the latter’s effort cannoned off the post.

Arsenal dominated possession for much of the first half, but Spurs’ best attacking moment came shortly after the goal as the hosts struggled to deal with a corner. Ashleigh Neville was waiting to pounce, but Miedema was there to clear off the line.

Team news

  • There were minimal changes for the hosts, as they retained much of the side that thrashed Aston Villa last time out. Manuela Zinsberger returned in goal, while Stina Blackstenius was preferred to Katie McCabe. Both are named among the substitutes.
  • There was rotation between the sticks for the visitors, as Tinja-Riikka Korpela returned in place of Becky Spencer. Asmita Ale and Jiali Tang both drop down to the bench alongside Evelinna Summanen, with Jessica Naz, Kyah Simon and Josie Green named in the first XI.

It was a similar story at the other end shortly after, but Foord could not connect with the loose ball. Stina Blackstenius and Miedema both fired efforts wide before Korpela was forced into a save as Foord struck after an impressive Arsenal break.

Both sides struggled to find any rhythm after the break, although once again, Arsenal saw the better of proceedings. Miedema sent a snapshot effort goalwards, but it was an easy hold for Korpela. Foord and Little also sent crosses in from the wings, but to little effect.

Caitlin Foord (centre) celebrates scoring Arsenal's second against Spurs

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Caitlin Foord (centre) celebrates scoring Arsenal’s second against Spurs

Once Foord had found the net, it galvanised Arsenal as they finished the game strongly. Korpela was forced into a string of saves with Miedema testing her until the final minutes, but the goalkeeper denied the striker her 15th WSL goal of the season.

Final day fixtures in the WSL – all games kick-off at 12pm

  • Aston Villa v Birmingham
  • Brighton vs Everton
  • Chelsea vs Man Utd
  • Reading vs Man City
  • Tottenham vs Leicester
  • West Ham vs Arsenal

What’s next?

It all comes down to the final games of the season on Sunday May 8. Arsenal will travel to West Ham while Tottenham host Leicester at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Both games kick off at 12pm.