The Arsenal Women Journal – Derby Double Trouble (TOT 1-0 ARS)

Good morning, Arsenal Women aficionados!

As soon as the final whistle blew, I could see the blogs and articles being published about how Tottenham are growing, how they heroically overcame their nemesis and how they deservedly won their first North London Derby, ever.
Truth is, Spurs’ goalkeeper Votikova pulled a player of the match performance, and we did the rest by rushing some decisions, missing some golden chances, and suffering from a fair share of bad luck.

If anything, we lost the game more than Tottenham won it.

It is what it is, though, and we might regret this loss a lot when May comes – unless we move forward very quickly. The timing of this loss is especially unfortunate, as it comes on the back of a wonderful home win against Chelsea and immediately before the winter break, depriving us from the typical “we will bounce back” moment, but we cannot afford to dwell on this.

Chelsea won comfortably against Bristol and took the solitary top spot back, while Manchester City also leapfrogged us in second by thrashing Everton at Walton Park Hall, meaning that we need to start all over again in our quest to claim the crown.


In all honesty, I don’t know what to say of two North London Derbies that we thoroughly deserved to win but didn’t, mostly for our own mistakes and lack of composure. While in the Conti Cup, in midweek, we could pin the apparent lack of cohesion and the overall rustiness on the changes made by Jonas Eidevall, the same could not be said for Saturday’s defeat, as the only absentee was Kim Litte, who was injured and replaced by Frida Maanum.

We lacked the final touch, the cutting edge – perhaps the eagerness that was on display against Chelsea.

I am not saying that the players were self-complacent, but perhaps there was a hidden feeling of relax after playing arguably the best game of the season, paired up with the fact that we were playing an opponent that we are used to defeat, who was also well-beaten by Manchester United (0-4) and Manchester City (0-7) right before the Conti Cup match at Meadow Park.

I understand all the praise towards Tottenham and I have no issue admitting that their goal was a very good one, manufactured with bravery and composure, but that doesn’t cancel out the fact that it was the only threat they posed through the 113 minutes played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – which is why I refuse to make a meal out of this disappointing, hurting defeat.

If we played the same game another hundred times, we’d comfortably win 99 of those, most by a large margin, which doesn’t excuse the fact that we left behind three valuable points but echoes the words carefully chosen by Lotte Wubben-Moy after the derby: “games like this one don’t define us”, which is utterly true.

I am today as confident as I was worried when we lost to Liverpool, because the quality of our football and our intensity on and off the ball isn’t even comparable anymore: back then, we look disjointed and a bit lost, unable to keep the right distances and struggling to communicate on the field, while now – even in the defeat – we were very disciplined, aggressive, compact and organized.

The hosts punished us with their only chance, while their goalkeeper played the hero on her debut, and our forwards forgot their shooting boots in the changing room.

Let’s move on.

Spurs AWFC

The winter break, while bad for our morale, will do some good to the likes of Vivianne Miedema, Leah Williamson, Laura Wienroither and even Beth Mead, although the latter came out of the blocks like she never suffered an ACL, giving them time to recover fully and build on their match fitness and sharpness. I cannot think of a better Christmas present than having Vivianne Miedema at full strength and seeing Leah Williamson patrolling the backline, armband on, breaking the opposition’s line with one of her trademark long balls over the top.

The Arsenal team that will take on Watford in the FA Cup, on January 14th, might well be a different animal, a different team. When the Hornets visit Meadow Park, they might face the best Arsenal team of the past eighteen months – full of talent, personality, and strength.
At some point, in a future that is drawing closer and closer, Jonas Eidevall might send out a lineup that reads: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Ilestedt, McCabe, Wälti, Little, Miedema, Mead, Foord, Russo – with players like Frida Maanum, Victoria Pelova, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Stina Blackstenius and Steph Catley on the bench. That’s how good we could be. This is what our opponents will come up against, in the second half of this season.

Let me finish by wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year time, I hope you will all have a great time around your friends and families. I hope that you enjoy reading the Arsenal Women Journal as much as I enjoy writing it, our girls deserve all the support in the world and I can’t help smiling when I see how far we went, as a club and as a community, in the past few years.

Let’s hope that 2024 brings lots of fun, wins and moments we will all cheer for. We will talk again after the winter break, when things will get serious!

Speak to you soon and Happy New Year!

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