31 min: Tottenham attack on the break but Rosella Ayane gets the ball caught under her feet, dawdles as she tries to regain control and is dispossessed by Kim Little. Danger averted.
26 min: Arsenal corner after good defending by Ashleigh Neville. Beth Mead’s delivery is towards Lotte Wubben-Moy but is a little too high. Vivianne Miedema sends the ball into the mixer from the right but Tottenham clear.
24 min: Tottenham’s Kyah Simon gets booked for a cynical Fernandinho-esque barge on Stina Blackstenius as the Swede tried to advance through the centre-circle.
20 min: Tottenham’s Rachel Williams, wearing a Zorro mask to protect a broken nose, gets a ticking-off but no yellow card for a shoulder-charge on Lia Walti. She protests that it was a fair challenge and she has a good case, but the ref is not for turning and Arsenal get the free-kick. Nothing comes of it.
19 min: Tottenham defender Ashleigh Neville dives in to half-block a Caitlin Foord shot from the edge of the box after she’d picked up a good pass from Miedema and tried her luck. Corner for Arsenal.
16 min: Lotte Wubben-Moy dispossesses Jessica Naz with a meaty, well-timed challenge to put an end to a Tottenham attack up the right flank. Arsenal remain very much in the ascendency.
13 min: Arsenal continue to dominate as Tottenham’s players commit foul after foul. Ashleigh Neville is the latest to be penalised for a foul on Leah Williamson. Free-kick for Arsenal in a dangerous position about 30 yards from goal. Mead’s chip sails into the hands of Tottenham goalkeeper Tinja-Riika Korpela.
9 min: Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius pulls a low cross from the inside right to the near post of the Tottenham goal. There’s nobody on hand to convert.
7 min: Tottenham win a corner and the ball is swung in. Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger comes for it but misses it completely and Arsenal somehow survive the ensuing goalline scramble. Vivienne Miedema blocks consecutive shots from Kyah Simon on the line in very quick succession.
Arsenal lead! It’s terrible defending from Tottenham, who back off Beth Mead as she advances on their penalty area with the ball at her feet. On and on and on she goes, with nobody coming to challenge her, before slotting the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner from about 14 yards out.
3 min: The Emirates Stadium is far from full this evening, but it’s a decent turn-out for a school night.
1 min: Tottenham get the ball rolling in what really amounts to a must-win game for their hosts. Certainly a must-not-lose one … against a team that hasn’t won in six WSL matches.
Not long now: The teams are out on the Emirates sward going through the last of the pre-match formalities. Kick-off is just moments away.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Walti, Little, Miedema, Mead, Blackstenius, Foord.
Subs: Beattie, Maanum, Parris, McCabe, Williams, Boye Sorensen, Iwabuchi, Wienroither, Cull.
Tottenham Hotspur: Tinja-Riika Korpela, Neville, Bartrip, Zadorsky, Naz, Green, Clemaron, Harrop, Simon, Scarlett Williams, Ayane.
Subs: Cho, Tang, Ale, Addison, Spencer, Summanen, Lane.
Rehanne Skinner: “It’s going to be a tough test, that’s kind of what these games are about and it’s important to rise to the challenge,” said Tottenham’s manager. “We’re looking forward to it, that’s something that’s on the players’ minds that we want to get more points out of it for sure. They’re a tough team, but we’re going to make it as hard as we can and maybe we can cause an upset. Let’s hope that it’s the case.
“I think everyone we play is a big rival. I totally understand from a fans’ perspective, the north London aspect of it because it translates over from the men’s game a little bit more. The longer we’re in the league, the more that will become obvious as well. The last game we played in particular, it really was a more true fashioned north London derby.”
Jonas Eidevall: “I don’t look that far ahead [to Sunday],” said the Arsenal manager yesterday. “I have massive respect for Tottenham. We need to focus on winning and if we can do that everything will be on the line on Sunday. We need to do it ourselves tomorrow.
“It is a massive game for us, going to the Emirates, it’s a north London derby. Let’s focus on that, if we don’t win then it’s all over and Sunday doesn’t matter. We need to do something tomorrow.
“I always say ‘it’s a derby so it is filled with emotions’. It is two very different teams. Both have been performing well in the season.
“For me, that is unrealistic thinking about Sunday now. It is Tottenham. I am so excited to go to the Emirates and play them. First we take that and then we’ll think about West Ham.”
Midfiedler and long-term absentee Kit Graham remains sidelined with a ruptured cruciate injury, while Viktoria Schnaderbeck can’t play for Tottenham tonight as she is on loan from Arsenal and the terms of her contract forbid it.
Jordan Nobbs will not feature tonight or at the weekend, after being ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury that proimpted her to leave the field in tears of frustration following Arsenal’s most recent win over Aston Villa. Having missed out on the last World Cup through a knee injury, her place in the England squad for this summer’s Euros now appears in doubt. We wish her all the very best in her recovery.
Versatile Brazilian Rafaelle could feature tonight having been sidelined since March, while Japanese winger Mana Iwabuchi could return after sitting out her side’s weekend win over Villa with an injury.
Elsewhere tonight: Manchester City host Birmingham in tonight’s other WSL fixture, which kicks off at 7pm (BST). Birmingham have to win to give themselves any hope of overtaking Leicester on the final day of the season and avoiding relegation. We’ll keep you up to date with events as they unfold at the Etihad’s Academy Stadium.
Our free and informative weekly women’s football email is here. This week – Julia Belas Trindade speaks to the activist Shireen Ahmed and the lawyer Marion Ogier about the fight to end the ban on the hijab. Read on and subscribe …
Tottenham travel to face Arsenal in a rescheduled fixture that was originally due to be played in late March, only to be postponed due to an outbreak of Covid in the visitors’ squad.
Arsenal are the hot favourites, but things have a habit of going out the proverbial window in derbies and a win for Tottenham will guarantee Chelsea the WSL championship. Emma Hayes’s side currently sit four points ahead of Arsenal having played one game more, which means the Gunners need at least a point – but almost certainly a win – tonight to keep things interesting and take the title race to the final day this weekend.
Tottenham can end the season no higher than fifth, their best ever WSL finish, but will be hoping to make the most of their opportunity to chuck a massive spanner in the works of Arsenal’s title tilt. Kick-off at the Emirates Stadium is at 7.15pm but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.