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Match Report

Russo brings Derby Delight to Arsenal as they sink Spurs

Alessia Russo's effort lights up another sold out Emirates

Gareth Taylor Man City_edited.jpg

Ryan Asman

3 March 2024

Another 60,000 plus crowd descended on the Emirates Stadium as the only goal of the game was scored three minutes after half time, with Alessia Russo’s sixth in the league this term giving The Gunners derby delight in N5. 

The hosts made two changes to their team from the win over Man United, with Alessia Russo coming in to the lineup to replace Stina Blackstenius and Manu Zinsberger replaced the absent Sabrina D’Angelo in goal. 

Spurs boss, Robert Vilahamn made three changes to his side. Jess Naz replaced Bethany England, Kit Graham was dropped to the bench in place of Olga Ahitnen and there was also a change in goal, with Becky Spencer coming in for Barbora Votikova. 

A sun soaked Emirates Stadium on a crisp March morning as Spurs got us underway. The visitors were forced back early on as Molly Bartrip, Spurs’ captain for the day had to be well placed to block an early effort from Beth Mead.

The Gunners clearly weren’t messing around and had a golden chance to lead after just four minutes. A corner from the right missed everybody and floated all the way o the back post and the awaiting Alessia Russo, who could only prod her effort over the bar with the back post area gaping. Lotte Wubben Moy was then expertly well placed to cut out a threatening through pass, aimed for Martha Thomas. 

Steph Catley took a flurry of early corner for the hosts, with every single one being right in the danger area and forcing drastic Spurs action at the back, with Evelina Summanen clearing the latest one from the waiting Laia Codina. 

Spurts’ game plan, much like the victory in December was clear, to sit in and frustrate. They worked some tidy passing out to Celin Bizet who’s pullback evaded all in Lillywhite and Arsenal were able to clear. 

Spurs had their first real chance just after quarter of an hour, Martha Thomas breaking in down the left, cutting inside Wubben Moy and firing a left footed effort into the gloves of Manuela Zinsberger. 

Spurs captain, Bartrip was superbly placed again to thwart a Beth Mead effort after the Arsenal Number 9 cut back inside onto her left.

The visitors displayed their counter attacking prowess hey again as this time Jess Naz cut inside and sent a dipping effort goanward which Manu Zinsberger superbly tipped onto the crossbar, with the resulting corner coming to nothing and Arsenal able to clear. 

Spurs were once again defending resolutely and Jamaican international, Becky Spencer was commanding her defence well on set pieces and coming out to claim balls into her area on a frequent basis. 

The visitors were somehow able to get another body in the way again, this time when Catley stood up a cross to the back post, with the ball eventually worked back out towards Victoria Pelova who’s curling efforts was an easy hold for Spencer. 

The referee seemed to blow the whistle for the half time break just as an Arsenal counter seemed to die down, with the visitors easily the happier side at the break.

Half Time - Arsenal 0-0 Spurs

Arsenal flew out the blocks at the start of the second half, with Katie McCabe whizzing a deflected effort offside before the resulting corner was scooped out of play by Beth Mead. 

Arsenal did get their goal only three minutes after half time, when Beth Mead superbly took down a long raking ball, despite potentially being marginally offside, before plating it across to the waiting Alessia Russo who gratefully tapped into an empty net to give Arsenal the dream second half start.


Mead whipped in another teasing cross from the right which just evaded McCabe coming in at the back stick, before Robert Vilahamn Mae a triple change, bringing on Olga Ahitnen, Ramona Petzelberger and Drew Spence, for Ashleigh Neville, Jess Naz and Kit Graham. Lotte Wubben Moy then became the first name in the referees notebook as she was shown a yellow card following a chopping challenge on Drew Spence. 

With twenty minutes to go, Bethany England was introduced in place of Martha Thomas as Spurs’ fourth change of the game. 

Three Arsenal changes soon followed, with Stina Blackstenius, Kyra Cooney Cross and the biggest cheer of all, the returning Leah Williamson replaced Alessia Russo, Laia Codina and Victoria Pelova, with the cheer for the returning Williamson, probably louder than the one that greeted Russo’s opener. 

Vilahamn’s fifth and final roll; off the dice saw Matilda Vinberg introduced for Celin Bizet as we approached the final ten minutes. 

Beth Mead sent a stinging free kick straight into the arms of Becky Spencer in goal, with Katie McCabe booked after for delaying the restart. 

Spurs get themselves into a bit of a mess trying to play the ball out, with Bartrip having to be on hand to cut out a Blackstenius cutback into the danger area. 

Evelina Summanen and Drew Spence were both booked in quick succession for Spurs.

Jonas Eidevall then introduced Frida Maanum in place of Caitlin Foord as we ticked towards added time. 

The announcement of seven added minutes was greeted with despair from the home supporters, but belief from the travelling Spurs fans who saw to as enough time to try and nick something.

Spurs wre pushing hard and Arsenal stood firm to somehow smuggle a pullback away from the onrushing Amy James Turner. 

Spurs huffed and puffed but couldn’t quite force their way through as Arsenal clung on to a precious three points, keeping them within three of leaders, Man City.

FT - Arsenal 1-0 Spurs

Arsenal - Russo 49’

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