Mead opens scoring inside five minutes in front of record WSL crowd
Miedema doubles Arsenal's lead before half-time after defensive mix-up
Souza and Miedema complete rout with second-half headers
If there was ever a more glowing illustration that England’s Euros success has ushered women’s football into a golden new era, this was it. On another landmark day for the female game in this country, 47,367 flocked to Arsenal’s stadium, making the north London derby the hottest ticket in town.
Arsenal defender Leah Williamson had issued a rallying cry after captaining the Lionesses to Euros glory earlier this year. “We’ve got people at games. We want them to come to the Women’s Super League - the legacy of this team will be the start of the journey,” she hoarsely shouted into the camera at Wembley.
Her own club has duly listened. The total attendance was below the 53,737 tickets sold for this encounter, but it still significantly surpassed the 8,705 fans who watched Arsenal’s curtain-raiser against Chelsea on the opening day of the WSL season a year ago – bona fide confirmation that even at domestic level, the interest in women's football has never been greater.
“It was a very special moment for all of us. This is what we work for, being on stages like this, playing in front of crowds like that,” said Jonas Eidevall, the Arsenal manager.
The magnitude of the occasion was certainly not lost on Vinai Venkatesham, the Arsenal chief executive, who expressed his hopes of one day making the Emirates the permanent home for the women's team in the club’s matchday programme.
“Meado! Meado!” chanted the home fans as Beth Mead, who scored her side’s first and set up another, exited the pitch to a cacophony of noise after being substituted in the 75th minute. With three goals in Arsenal’s two opening league games, England’s star of the summer is already an early contender for the WSL’s golden boot.
She had put her side ahead after just five minutes, curling a right-footed strike into the Spurs net – and in true derby spirit thumped her chest as she wheeled away in celebration.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 24, 2022
Rivalries in women’s football have rarely enjoyed the same hype and profile compared to the men’s game but on this evidence, such an assessment can safely be confined to the past. From Ashleigh Neville clattering into Mead and earning a second-half booking in the process, to the several renditions of ‘Stand up if you hate Tottenham’ the crowd sung after each of their side’s goals, there was certainly no love lost between the sides.
Arsenal can now lay claim to the biggest WSL attendance after smashing the previous record of 38,262 set in this same fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2019 and Eidevall was keen to pay tribute to his club’s lofty, revenue-generating ambitions for its women’s team.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I don’t think we should compare attendance figures with giveaway tickets and sold tickets,” he said, alluding to the strategy Spurs used to attract fans to their memorable north London derby three seasons ago. “I don’t think it’s fair when you do that comparison.”
Rather than being daunted by the occasion (the crowd was more than 10 times what Arsenal enjoyed at their Boreham Wood home last week) his side harnessed the home support to pin Tottenham in their own half for large periods.
Rehanne Skinner’s Spurs have been tipped as dark horses this season – and have healthy ambitions to target the top four – but they simply never got going. They looked jittery going forward, were outclassed in the midfield and were defensively all over the place at the back.
“The gulf in quality was because we didn’t apply ourselves properly, not because we’re not capable,” said Skinner. “That was the biggest message to the players. It’s one of those where we have to have a little bit more belief and be braver at the start of games and the quality of this squad will shine through, but we didn’t give the best account of ourselves today.”
They gifted Arsenal their second when keeper Becky Spencer sent a careless ball to Evelina Summanen, whose outstretched leg was ambushed by Caitlin Foord.
Vivianne Miedema, Arsenal’s goal-hungry forward after a quiet Euros for Holland, mopped up the loose ball and opened her account for the season with a classy low strike. There was no big celebration from the Dutch striker, but there was a standing ovation at half-time for the hosts.
The crowd were on their feet again not long after the break, when Brazilian centre-back Rafaelle Souza jumped high from a corner to thump home Arsenal’s third, before a glancing header from Miedema added extra gloss to the occasion.
But it was Arsenal’s influential midfield pairing of Kim Little and Katie McCabe that Eidevall singled out as the stars of the show in his side’s eighth consecutive clean sheet, and he is confident fans will return for more.
“The game is the best advertisement there can be for people coming,” he said. “We really hope that as many of them come back, they bring a friend, and then it's a sell-out.”
Arsenal vs Tottenham: as it happened
A record WSL crowd of 47,367 at the Emirates this afternoon
Kim Little speaks with BBC post-match:
First of all, thank you to the fans for coming, they made an incredible atmosphere.
I think we've stared really well, especially in the league. We need to keep improving, and we need to do that to stay ahead of the other teams. Today was a good start.
Full time: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
A dominant performance from Arsenal against their north London rivals this afternoon.
Mead, a double from Miedema and a brilliant header from Rafaelle.
Two wins from two at the start of the season, and a second 4-0 victory.
90+2 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
A good ball in from Maanum on the right, it comes to Hurtig in the box, but Turner does just enough to get in the way for an Arsenal corner.
90 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
Three minutes of added time to come.
89 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
A good win of the ball from Neville, inside the final third. It comes to Karczewska who has an effort, but it blazes over.
88 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
McCabe with some space down the right flank, some options in the middle as she cuts in, but Ale slides in well to put the ball out for a corner.
Left-footed in-swinger from McCabe, but it's headed clear. Arsenal come again, this time up the left, but Hurtig is flagged for offside.
85 mins: Arsenal subs
Off: Little, Rafaelle.
On: Maanum, Wubben-Moy.
84 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
The game is starting to peter out here. Spurs are struggling to get near the ball and Arsenal are winding down the game, not playing with the same intensity as before.
77 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
A cracking ball from Neville on the right side of the box, but some miscommunication in the Spurs attack means that Petzelberger ends up clattering into her team-mate and the rare chance is squandered.
75 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
Corner played out to Zadorsky. He floats the ball in towards the far post, but it's too far. Out for a goal kick.
73 mins: One additional sub apiece for each team
Tottenham: Naz off, Ale on.
Arsenal: Mead off, Hurtig on.
A couple of Arsenal subs followed that goal
On: Nobbs, Blackstenius.
Off: Foord, Miedema.
69 mins: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
Blackstenius with brilliant distribution to play Mead through, but Spencer rushes out quickly and boots away.
67 mins: GOAL Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
Corner played short, it's chipped in to the six-yard box and Miedema gets there first, glancing her header in inches ahead of Spencer to give the home side a four goal lead.
66 mins: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0
Foord with a shot in the box, but it's blocked away again.
Corner to come.
65 mins: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0
Foord with a cross-field ball to Catley on the left. It's pulled back to Mead in the box, who goes short to Miedema, who is blocked well, unable to turn. Spurs will push out from here.
63 mins: triple subs for Spurs
On: Petzelberger, James, Karczewska.
Off: Spence, Cho, Simon.
60 mins: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0
Another really strong intervention from Neville to close down the Arsenal attack in the final third. It looks like we're going to have some subs coming on.
Announcement on attendance this afternoon.
Tickets sold: 53,737.
That's a new record in the WSL.
58 mins: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0
Turner is shown a yellow now for following through with her tackle.
56 mins: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0
Foord is carded for a cynical challenge on Summanen, taking her opponent's standing foot out.
54 mins: GOAL Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0
Rafaelle Souza shoves off her marker and heads powerfully into the back of the Spurs net from the corner.
53 mins: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
As we were before half time. Spurs are unable to string together more than a few passes together, and Arsenal are having plenty of possession in their opponents final third.
Mead slides in Wienroither who earns a corner.
52 mins: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
Arsenal with a free kick on the left. Mead delivers, headed away and Zadorsky has gone down in the box. It looks like a friendly elbow went into her face as the ball came in.
49 mins: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
Mead pops an early one in from the right, but it's too far ahead of Miedema to get onto.
46 mins: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
No changes at the break.
Arsenal get us back under way.
Half time: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
Arsenal go into the break with a comfortable lead, fitting of their dominance. A really solid performance from the home side.
Mead scored, her second of the season, inside five minutes. Spurs frustrated the Gunners most of that half, Neville looking very bright in snuffing out developing chances, but Miedema pounced on a lapse in Spurs' concentration to put Arsenal two-up.
43 mins: GOAL Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
Miedema opens her account for the season!
Spencer plays a short ball out from the goal kick, it looks like Summanen doesn't expect it and her first touch is heavy. Miedema is straight onto that, it's two-on-one and she slots it past Spencer.
Sloppy from Spurs, but the scoreline is now more representative of the balance of the game.
41 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Mead to Miedema in the Spurs box, a superb pass from Little down the right to pick out Mead.
But Spurs' ever-reliable Neville is there to mop up at the back and steer the ball from danger.
39 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Foord with a cracking glancing header inside the Spurs box following a poorly cleared corner. It's a well-placed cross from McCabe on the left to pick out her team-mate, but Foord's header is just wide. Another great opportunity for Arsenal. They'll be disappointednot to be more than one up at this stage.
37 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Bizet gets sight on goal again, shoots with her left foot from outside the box, this time it's on target, but it's comfortably gathered by Zinsberger.
35 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Strong defensive tackle from Spence on Walti, both running to the ball which is headed out from an Arsenal free kick from the far right.
Walti lands onto the hard turf, jolting her back and is now receiving medical treatment. It looks like she's going to be ok to continue though.
33 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Catley with a lovely ball in from the left, but Neville is there, yet again, to clear.
32 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Foord wheels away towards the Spurs box, having her shirt pulled by Cho on her way to goal, but advantage is played. She takes a shot, it's deflected, comes to Miedema who tries to tee herself up but slips at the last moment and Spurs clear.
30 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
A wonderful Arsenal move, starting from the back. Walti, from the holding midfielder position, plays the ball out wide, it's then tucked inside to Little on the left side of the Spurs box. She takes a touch and goes for it, but it just sneaks wide, rippling the side netting instead of the back of the net.
27 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Bizet's clearance from the corner is poor and it's picked up by Walti. She tries to dink one into the middle of the box, but it's a little too far and Spencer comes out to confidently claim the ball.
25 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Little tries to chip it to Miedema in the six-yard box, but it's headed behind for another corner.
Spurs are getting well overrun in midfield at the moment. Arsenal are turning the screw. Opportunities coming thick-and-fast now.
24 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Little down the right, Mead inside, overlapping, it's back to Mead in the box, but Neville recovers well and is able to boot it out for a corner before it gets too dangerous.
22 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Bizet spots Zinsberger off her line, but that's well wide. Ambitious.
20 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Arsenal come again and Turner heads the ball out for an Arsenal corner. The home team are well on top so far. Spurs have managed to reorganise their defence a little, but they're still unable to mount much in the way of an attack.
19 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
McCabe with a couple of balls swung in to the box. First across the ground, sliced away, second one she goes for the aerial route, but that's headed away and Spurs are able to clear their lines.
18 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Foord creates more space down the left and manages to get a ball across the face of goal. But nobody in a red shirt is there to pick up.
16 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Neville fouls McCabe to concede a free kick on Arsenal's right, 30 yards out.
It's played short, around the corner, looking for the pull back across the box, but it doesn't quite come off and goes out for a goal kick.
10 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Spence fouls Little to close down a period of Tottenham attack.
Arsenal go on the counter and win a corner.
8 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Turner sends an early ball into the Arsenal box from deep, well placed, but it's powerfully headed away from danger.
6 mins: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
McCabe goes close, hitting Spurs on the counter attack.
She goes for goal, and sends it just over Spencer's crossbar.
Arsenal are making the most of this weakness down Spurs' right-hand side.
4 mins: GOAL Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
Beth Mead strikes again!
She drifts out to the left side of the front three, goes for a ground cross from inside the box, it's deflected back out to her and she opens her body up and curls it into the far side of Spencer's goal.
Spurs looked pretty disorganised at the back there, they'll be wanting to fix that.
2 mins: Arsenal 0 Tottenham 0
Turner gifts the ball straight to Foord, a dodgy back pass on the right there.
It comes to Walti who pulls the ball back across the box to Mead, she's completely unmarked, goes for it first time, but Neville is there to deflect it away!
Tottenham get us under way.
Rebecca Welch officiates today.
The teams are on their way out at the Emirates; a reminder of the line ups
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Wienroither, Williamson, Rafaelle, Catley, Little, Walti, McCabe, Foord, Miedema, Mead.
Subs: Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Nobbs, Maanum, Maritz, Hurtig, Marckese, Iwabuchi, Blackstenius.
Tottenham Hotspur: Spencer, Turner, Bartrip, Zadorsky, Neville, Summanen, Cho, Ildhusoy, Spence, Naz, Simon.
Subs: Korpela, Karczewska, Petzelberger, Ale, James, Pearse.
Spurs manager Rehanne Skinner speaks with BBC
The biggest thing today is that we focus on us and we keep progressing in the way that we want.
I think we're just really excited about the opportunity. We want to give it a really good battle today. Make no mistake, we will be ready to go today when the first whistle goes.
Leah Williamson and co.
Warm ups are under way
This is the first of six fixtures in the WSL today
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Reading (2pm)
Leicester City vs Aston Villa (3pm)
West Ham United vs Manchester United (3pm)
Chelsea vs Manchester City (4pm)
Liverpool vs Everton (6:45pm)
Atmosphere building in north London
Spurs manager Rehanne Skinner is confident her squad will be able to rise to the big-venue occasion
It's an opportunity to play in front of a volume of fans that some of them won't have been able to do before unless they've been at major finals, FA Cups.
Certainly the excitement on the pitch today in our last training session was evident. It'll pose some challenges in terms of communication and things like that because it's difficult to hear but genuinely it's the route we all want to go down and it's something we've all got to start getting used to and that we want to be doing more frequently.
I can only see the positives in it.
Tottenham's starting XI
Tottenham: Spencer, Turner, Bartrip, Zadorsky (captain), Neville, Summanen, Cho, Bizet, Spence, Naz, Simon.
Subs: Korpela, Pearse, Ale, James, Petzelberger, Karczewska.
Arsenal's starting XI
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Wienroither, Williamson, Rafaelle, Catley, Walti, Miedema, Little (captain), Mead, Foord, McCabe.
Subs: Marckese, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Maritz, Maanum, Nobbs, Iwabuchi, Hurtig, Blackstenius.
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the Women's Super League north London derby as Arsenal look set to break the league's attendance record when they host Tottenham at the Emirates this afternoon.
The Gunners have now sold 51,000 tickets. The previous WSL record, 38,262, was set in 2019 when the same teams met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall believes that fans being prepared to invest in such unprecedented numbers sets a vital benchmark for the league's future and he is keen for it to be no one-off.
"Remember it's 50,000 sold tickets," he said. "It's not giveaways, it's not sold for a discounted price. It's sold tickets. And I think that's really, really special, because that means doing this the way the club has done it it's sustainable.
"It shows that the interest there is for real. That's the investment that we as a team, as a club have done but also past generations or past teams have done to put us onto this stage here, that's phenomenal."
Arsenal, last season's runners-up, are favourites to win this afternoon's derby, boasting England stars including Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Lotte Wubben-Moy from the Lionesses' historic summer.
They enter the clash off the back of a thumping 4-0 victory over Brighton, but Eidevall was quick to quash any seeds of complacency.
"It starts at zero," he said. "If you think that you are entitled to win, or if you're expected to win, that will stress you right away. That's not the way to go about a football game.
"You have to respect the opponent. You have to respect the game."
Rehanne Skinner's Spurs are also looking to pick up another three points after beating Leicester 2-1 on the opening weekend.
They will be without Rosella Ayane, who is out for about four weeks after fracturing her foot against Leicester. It is, admitted Skinner, "another blow" to a side with "not necessarily a full lack of availability, but certainly not 90 minutes fit for some players."