Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners crumble in shock WSL derby result

  • Martha Thomas' strike was decisive at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
  • Arsenal failed to convert over 30 chances in the north London derby
  • Spurs had not won a WSL game since October prior to kick-off
Martha Thomas scored to secure Tottenham's victory over Arsenal
Martha Thomas scored to secure Tottenham's victory over Arsenal / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM - Martha Thomas' heroics secured local bragging rights as Spurs handed Arsenal a shock defeat in the first north London derby of the WSL season.

The clinical Thomas strike in the second half was enough to secure Tottenham all three points and victory over the Gunners for the first time. Robert Vilahamn's team had failed to secure a league win since their 4-2 win over Aston Villa on 21 October and conceded 11 across their last two games after recent thrashings against Manchester City and Manchester United.

Despite 31 shots and eight on target, Arsenal were unable to breakdown Tottenham's resistant defence, being handed their second WSL defeat of this season already.

The Gunners secured an emphatic 4-1 win over Chelsea last weekend with a statement performance, yet lacked impetus against their north London rivals and failing to conjure the same magic.

The hosts have rebounded to end 2023 on a high.

How the game unfolded

The hosts were dealt and early blow, being forced into an early change before the 20 minute mark when Luana Buhler made way for Amy Turner in the backline. It was also a very stop-start for both sides as neither were able to fully get going as referee Cheryl Foster was vigilant on calling all possible fouls.

Frustrations were building in the first half as Arsenal, retaining much of the ball, were squandering clear chances, with Caitlin Foord dispatching wide on numerous occasions before a strike rattled the woodwork. Frida Maanum also had early chances but was unable to beat a controlled home defence.

Tottenham were playing on the break and using the combination of Thomas and Bethany England to exploit the spaces in behind Arsenal's defence. Celine Bizet's strike notched over the goal before, at the other end, Foord and Maanum both sent opportunities begging.

Victoria Pelova, who had been directing much of the engine room for the first half forced Spurs 'keeper Barbora Votikova into an acrobatic save on the stroke of half-time.

Arsenal's poor decision making was creating problems in front of goal as the visitors attempted to break the stalemate. Alessia Russo, Foord and Maanum all had wasted chances before Spurs defender Molly Bartrip pulled off an impressive block to deny Beth Mead.

Against the run of play, in the 58th minute, Thomas broke the deadlock with a superb sliding effort after doing most of the legwork herself to set up the opener.

After a lengthy stoppage in play due to a medical emergency in the crowd, Arsenal had a flurry of chances as substitute Vivianne Miedema was unable to guide her volley down.

With Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger failing behind trying to race back from Arsenal's last ditch set piece, substitute Rosella Ayane had an open goal to aim but failed to release the ball before Foster called full time.

Tottenham player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Cheryl Foster, Barbora Votikova
Barbora Votikova won't mind the yellow card she was shown / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

GK: Barbora Votikova - 9/10 - Anticipated moves well and had a stellar performance. Forced into action consistently and her calibre remained high throughout.

RB: Angharad James - 6/10 - Did well against Foord but failed to apply extensive pressure.

CB: Molly Bartrip - 8/10 - Solid at the back and lead the line incredibly well.

CB: Luana Buhler - N/A - Subbed off 18 minutes in.

LB: Ashleigh Neville - 7/10 - Controlled and dominant on the left and provided a clear option to develop counter attacks.

CM: Ramona Petzelberger - 6/10 - Got slightly overran in the middle but did well to provide a further defensive option.

CM: Kit Graham - 6/10 - Dispossessed a few times but did well to hold off against a stong Arsenal midfield.

RW: Celine Bizet - 8/10 - Clinical and controlled. Was Tottenham's main attacking threat throughout the afternoon.

CAM: Martha Thomas - 8/10 - Forced Arsenal into mistakes and had a brilliant afternoon.

LW: Grace Clinton - 7/10 - Strong and clinical but struggled to move forward as she was being required to play more defensively.

ST: Bethany England - 7/10 - Positive runs into the final third but fitness lacking after returning from injury.


SUB: Amy Turner (19' for Buhler) - 6/10

SUB: Jess Naz (46' for England) - 6/10

SUB: Ria Percival (84' for Thomas) - N/A

SUB: Rosella Ayane (90+4' for Bizet )- N/A

Subs not used: Spencer (GK), Zadorsky, Brazil, Ale, Ayane, Pearse.


Robert Vilahamn - 8/10 - Made the right calls in his XI and attack and set up a strong defensive line that foiled all of Arsenal's plans.

Arsenal player ratings (4-3-3)

Alessia Russo
Arsenal couldn't find the breakthrough / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

GK: Manuela Zinsberger - 4/10 - Far too statuesque to prevent Thomas' goal.

RB: Katie McCabe - 7/10 - Used physicality and pace well to battle against Clinton.

CB: Lotte Wubben-Moy - 6/10 - Dominant and controlled throughout the afternoon.

CB: Amanda Ilestedt - 5/10 - Did well out of possession and block counter attacks. Could have provided a better threat from set pieces.

LB: Steph Catley - 6/10 - Beaten on pace and failed to carry out the intended overlap.

CM: Lia Walti - 8/10 - Another standout performance from the defensive midfielder who glued the middle together.

CM: Victoria Pelova - 7/10 - Did well to dictate pace in the middle and managed to worm around players effortlessly.

CM: Frida Maanum - 5/10 - Was unable to capitalise on clear chances but did well to pile pressure on Tottenham.

RW: Beth Mead - 6/10 - Played well but was unable to convert her chances.

ST: Alessia Russo - 6/10 - Positive but lacked clinical finishing. Tottenham suffocated the striker to remove her threat.

LW: Caitlin Foord - 4/10 - Squandered too many chances rather than playing in her teammates.


SUB: Vivianne Miedema (65' for Maanum)- 6/10

SUB: Kyra Cooney-Cross (65' for Pelova)- 8/10

SUB: Stina Blackstenius (79' for Walti )- 7/10

SUB: Cloe Lacasse (89' for McCabe)- 7/10

Subs not used: D'Angelo (GK), Beattie, Maritz, Kuhl, Codina.


Jonas Eidevall - 3/10 - Failed to make chances when his game plan was failing to have the desired effect.

Player of the match: Barbora Votikova (Tottenham)