Arsenal Ladies opened their 2017 season with a huge 10-0 win over Tottenham in the FA Women’s Cup Round 5.
Pedro Losa faced an injury crisis in defence and could only select two senior defenders in his starting eleven with Alex Scott, Jemma Rose, Emma Mitchell, Vyan Sampson and Lotte-Wubben-Moy all unavailable.
The team was: Van Veenendaal; Williamson, Williams, Janssen; O’Reilly, Little, Nobbs, McCabe; Carter, Taylor, Van De Donk. And the five substitutes were Moorhouse, Patten, Humphrey, Kelly and Mead.
Kim Little was named as a nominal defensive midfielder, but with Spurs defending very deep and offering practically no threat at all during the first half, it looked like a 3-0-7 system with all the Arsenal players piling forward.
There were indeed some moments in the game when 21 players were in the Spurs half of the pitch, with only Van Veenendaal in Arsenal’s.
There is no doubt that such an unbalanced team and tactics can only work against a very defensive team, like Spurs, who were unable to do anything with the ball when they won it back, despite having acres of space in front of them at times.
You would expect Arsenal to have a more defensive set-up next week when we are away to Birmingham in the FA women’s Cup Round 6.
We also have to remember that Spurs Ladies play in the FA WPL Southern Division and, therefore, the gap between the two sides is as big as the difference between pro and semi-pro.
Of course, it was a pleasing result as it was a North London debry. Throw in thethe men’s current form and it’s even better, but there is nothing else to take from the game except that the team was professional, serious, and did the job superbly with no complacency.
Van De Donk got a hat-trick, Carter got a brace, with Janssen, Little, Kelly, McCabe and Mead also on the scoresheet.
The Development Team won 4-1 away at Bristol in a rehearsal of the FA WSL Development League Cup final to be played on 21 May at a ground still to be chosen by the FA.
The goals were scored by Dean, Hinds, Hooper, and, Cooke.
Following their setback at home with a 5-3 defeat to Chelsea, they are currently in fifth place in the table, trailing Chelsea by six points with three games in hand.
They have eleven games to play, as well as one or two cup games, before the end of the season.
It is a shame because some of those players could have been given a chance with the first team during the Spring Series, but they won’t be available for the first team games.
A player like Dean, who has improved a lot in the last six months, could have been given a chance. Patten got a few minutes against Spurs, but this was mainly due to the injury crisis in defence despite her own excellent form.
The next game is Birmingham away in the FA Women’s Cup Round 6 for the first team.
The Development Team will be away to London Bees.
The u16 team will play the FA Girls Youth Cup semi-final at home to Liverpool on Saturday morning.