Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Arsenal: Martha Thomas goal earns historic WSL derby win

Martha Thomas moved back level at the top of the WSL scorer standings with her seventh league goal of the season

Arsenal squandered the chance to move top of the Women’s Super League with defeat at local rivals Tottenham.

Martha Thomas scored the only goal of the game in the second half to earn Spurs a first-ever WSL win over the Gunners.

It leaves Arsenal in second, behind champions Chelsea on goal difference, having missed the majority of chances at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs remain sixth after their first win in six league games.

Arsenal, knowing a win would take them top for at least 24 hours before Chelsea visit Bristol City on Sunday, came closest in the first half when Caitlin Foord struck the post.

They continued to dominate after the break, Alessia Russo sending a header off target from just six yards out while Frida Maanum whistled another effort only just over the bar from wide on the left.

But Spurs held steady and took a shock lead on 58 minutes, a clever passing move from the back culminating in Thomas sliding in from Celin Bizet’s low cross.

Arsenal fail to build on Chelsea performance

After dismantling Chelsea 4-1 so impressively at Emirates Stadium last week, Arsenal appeared to have an opportunity to showcase themselves in this game – with a chance to beat their rivals at one of English football’s most impressive arenas, and potentially lead the WSL at Christmas.

Things did not work out that way. Arsenal did not have a shot on target until the 42nd minute, Maanum stinging the gloves of Barbora Votikova, in a sluggish first-half display.

They struggled to play with pace and get the ball wide. When they did, they found Foord in space to create their best first-half openings.

The Gunners clearly faced strong words from manager Jonas Eidevall and started the second half at a much higher tempo – but failed to take their chances.

Eidevall had to smash the emergency glass to send on Vivianne Miedema, still returning to full fitness after an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury, midway through the second half. It was her 100th WSL appearance, and the first time she, Russo and Beth Mead have been on the pitch for the Gunners at the same time.

Having such a quality attacking trio gives hope they can keep pace with Chelsea in the new year – but this was far from the perfection Arsenal need for a first WSL title since 2018-19.

Spurs adapt to earn sensational win

Spurs manager Robert Vilahamn took the hint to adjust his side to the test of facing a WSL top-four side, following the chastening experience of conceding 11 goals in their past two matches, against Manchester clubs City and United.

He may also have had in mind a dreadful WSL record against Arsenal – Spurs had not beaten their rivals in seven previous league meetings, losing six, while never keeping a clean sheet.

Spurs’ 4-4-2 was much more compact and deeper lying, and it helped them ride out a stormy opening to the second half where Arsenal had eight shots in 13 minutes.

And they took their chance when it came through Thomas – her first goal in six league matches, having scored six in her opening four WSL games.

They should have scored a second in the final seconds as they broke forward following an Arsenal corner, with keeper Manuela Zinsberger stranded after coming up. Only a spectacular last gasp tackle denied Rosella Ayane a tap-in.


Tottenham Women

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1VotíkováBooked at 70mins
  • 15James
  • 21BühlerSubstituted forTurnerat 19′minutes
  • 5Bartrip
  • 29Neville
  • 14Bizet IldhusøySubstituted forAyaneat 90+5′minutes
  • 11Petzelberger
  • 16Graham
  • 8Clinton
  • 17ThomasSubstituted forPercivalat 85′minutes
  • 9EnglandSubstituted forNazat 45′minutes


  • 3Zadorsky
  • 4Turner
  • 7Naz
  • 10Brazil
  • 12Percival
  • 13Ale
  • 22Spencer
  • 23Ayane
  • 26Pearse

Arsenal Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 15McCabeSubstituted forLacasseat 89′minutes
  • 28Ilestedt
  • 3Wubben-MoyBooked at 63mins
  • 7Catley
  • 21PelovaSubstituted forCooney-Crossat 65′minutes
  • 13WältiSubstituted forBlacksteniusat 80′minutes
  • 9Mead
  • 12MaanumSubstituted forMiedemaat 66′minutes
  • 19Foord
  • 23Russo


  • 5Beattie
  • 11Miedema
  • 14D’Angelo
  • 16Maritz
  • 22Kühl
  • 24Lacasse
  • 25Blackstenius
  • 27Codina
  • 32Cooney-Cross

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