A brace by Caitlin Foord helped Arsenal warm up for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final with a 5-1 thrashing of rivals Tottenham in the Women’s Super League.
Jonas Eidevall’s side entered the derby after a frustrating 1-0 loss in the first leg at Bayern Munich on Tuesday but were back to their clinical best in a scintillating display at Brisbane Road.
Stina Blackstenius got the rout started early before Foord, captain Kim Little and Frida Maanum all got in on the act to hand Vicky Jepson’s struggling Spurs a heavy loss despite Bethany England’s first-half penalty.
Victory for title hopefuls Arsenal moved them within two points of leaders Chelsea, who visit Manchester City on Sunday, with a treble still a possibility for the Continental Cup-winning Gunners ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last-eight second leg tie at the Emirates.
This was a Tottenham home match and a memorable occasion for Kerys Harrop, who was included in the starting line-up and levelled Gilly Flaherty’s record of 177 WSL appearances, but the visiting faithful travelled in numbers from across north London.
Arsenal’s large away support made it feel like a home fixture and it took only five minutes for them to begin the process of again taking bragging rights in this fixture.
England captain Leah Williamson sent the ball forward for Blackstenius to run in behind Molly Bartrip and the visiting forward caught Tinja-Riikka Korpela off guard with an early powerful effort that found the roof of the net.
It was the perfect tonic for Eidevall’s side after a wasteful night in Munich on Tuesday, but Spurs went close to a leveller when Drew Spence fired wide in the 11th minute.
A stoppage for Korpela to receive treatment provided Tottenham with some much-needed respite, but normal service quickly resumed and a second goal for Arsenal arrived.
Foord collected the ball on the left and dribbled at Ashleigh Neville before she curled home from 25 yards via the post to make it 2-0 after 29 minutes.
A superb save by Korpela thwarted Victoria Pelova moments later and it helped the hosts regroup to finish the half strongly.
The deficit was reduced with six minutes of the opening 45 left when Neville had a shot blocked by the hand of Katie McCabe and England drilled into the bottom left corner from 12 yards against WSL debutant Sabrina D’Angelo.
Arsenal started strongly after the break with Neville’s tackle denying Foord a second before Maanum’s deflected shot was saved by Korpela.
The Spurs goalkeeper saved Little’s deflected low strike soon after but the visitors grabbed a third in the 66th minute.
Amy Turner caught McCabe inside the area and referee Louise Saunders pointed to the spot for a second time, with Arsenal captain Little doing the honours with a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
Eidevall’s side scored again four minutes later when Foord controlled at the back post and fired home with a little help from the woodwork again.
More misery was to come Tottenham’s way when Williamson, now in midfield, won back possession from Spence and Maanum saw her lobbed shot take a deflection off Bartrip to loop over Korpela to make it 5-1.
Substitute Gio Queiroz almost added a sixth but her poked effort hit the crossbar and she later limped off for the only sour note of a five-star display by treble-chasing Arsenal.