Arsenal hammer Tottenham in record-breaking WSL derby

Arsenal ran rampant against north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to secure a 4-0 victory in front of a record-breaking attendance of 47,367 in the Women's Super League (WSL) on Saturday.

Spurs, in their fourth season in the WSL, can be considered relative newcomers in the top-tier and Arsenal demonstrated the level needed to compete at the top of the table with an untroubled display.

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Signs of a difficult afternoon for Rehanne Skinner's Spurs appeared immediately when Beth Mead's deflected effort trickled just wide early on, and it was a sign of things to come as Mead opened the scoring two minutes later.

Vivianne Miedema extended Arsenal's lead shortly before half-time while Rafaelle added a third and Miedema put further daylight between the two sides with her second goal in an onslaught after the break.

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall felt his side put on a performance worthy of the occasion and made clear his appreciation for the support the club have given to the women's setup.

"It's not only the work of the Euros which was such a big success," Eidevall said. "The club has been investing a lot of time and energy and commitment into that.

"That is so important because then we don't leave things to chance, they are really trying to build the game and to increase the revenues then to increase the sporting success.

"When you give away tickets, it's something else. When you sell tickets, that's how you run a football club." 

Eidevall made three changes to the side which drew 2-2 with Ajax on Tuesday, dropping Stina Blackstenius, who had scored twice in as many games, to the bench alongside Lina Hurtig and Noelle Maritz.

The effervescent Mead nearly struck Arsenal ahead just moments into the match. Lia Walti stretched the defence before a low ball found Mead, whose deflected strike went just wide.

Mead, riding the momentum of her impressive European Championship campaign, was not to be denied, however, and within five minutes she found the opening goal.

Beth Mead was effervescent in Arsenal's 4-0 win at the Emirates.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Her probing ball in was blocked by Molly Bartrip, but the ball came back out to the Arsenal forward, who curled in a fantastic finish at the second time of asking to score her third goal of the season.

Arsenal had the measure of Spurs in the opening exchanges and forced numerous openings with crosses flashed into the box, often exposing the visitors in the wide areas through Katie McCabe and early goalscorer Mead.

Manuela Zinsberger wasn't called into action until the 38th minute, when she produced a routine stop in response to a tame strike by Celin Bizet.

And the hosts' endeavour was rewarded two minutes before the end of the first half as Miedema scored her first goal of the 2022-23 campaign.

Caitlin Foord dispossessed Evelina Summanen and the ball deflected into the path of the clinical Miedema, who raced through on goal and dispatched a cool finish past Rebecca Spencer.

The half-time interval didn't halt Arsenal's momentum and they inflicted more misery on Spurs nine minutes after the break, as Rafaelle headed a thumping effort past Spencer from Mead's pinpoint corner.

In a frantic spell of pressure, Eidevall's side reaped further rewards, with Miedema notching a brace. The Netherlands forward had been kept quiet in Arsenal's opening two matches of the season, but Spurs couldn't subdue her as she nodded in the hosts' fourth goal from a quickly-taken corner in the 68th minute.

Despite being on the end of a heavy defeat, Skinner said the record-breaking crowd was more proof of the growth of the women's game -- but said her side hadn't been themselves at the Emirates.

"We didn't do the things that we're known [to do]," she said. "I felt we were a little bit tentative in terms of our press in particular and that created a few challenges for us when we were on the ball. I don't think we did ourselves justice.

"We're all here to do the jobs in terms of football and winning games but we're also trying to improve the fanbase and get more people in to watch games. Across every game there's a responsibility we all have to keep trying to engage with the fans to make it something everyone wants to be a part of.

"It's a fantastic achievement today, the record has been broken -- it's probably stood for too long, to be honest -- but we're here now and we want to keep growing on that for the future." 

The hosts continued to push forward but Skinner's side managed to stop the flow of goals.

Arsenal had worked themselves into a comfortable position to see the game out and earn their second 4-0 win in as many WSL matches this season.

Eidevall's side sit at the top of the table going into Sunday's round of fixtures.