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Arsenal’s winning start goes on as Miedema hits derby hat-trick

Netherlands striker continues to set the standard in the WSL, as Spurs aim to ‘reset’ following 6-1 defeat

22 October, 2020 — By Catherine Etoe

Arsenal players celebrate with their record-breaking teammate Viv Miedema in the 6-1 win over Spurs. Photo: Kunjan Malde for the FA

NETHERLANDS star Vivianne Miedema stole the show for Arsenal against Spurs on Sunday with a hat-trick, but the 24-year-old didn’t just go home with the match ball.

The striker also left Meadow Park knowing she had just become the first player to hit a half-century of goals in the FA Women’s Super League.

Already her country’s all-time leading scorer with 69 in 89 appearances, Miedema brought her tally up to 52 goals in 50 WSL games.

“She’s an amazing person, she’s there for the team, she’s a team player,” purred manager Joe Montemurro after Miedema had turned on the style in a 6-1 north London derby victory.

Five of those goals came in the first half, with Katie McCabe and Caitlin Foord also on target.

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger saved Rianna Dean’s second-half penalty before Foord grabbed her second. Lucia Leon scored a late consolation for Spurs.

With nearest rivals Everton held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton, Arsenal are now the only WSL side with a 100 per cent record – but don’t expect Montemurro to crow.

“It shows the standard of the league,” he said in his post-match press conference. “Every game is a challenge, every game is a big game.”

Montemurro was equally gracious when I asked him for his verdict on Spurs, who are in their second WSL season and have only picked up one point so far this term.

“They have a team with a lot of energy, [and] have possibilities going forward to really hurt you on the break,” he said.

“They’re probably finding their feet, finding the right combinations.

“They’ve brought in a lot of players this year so it’s just going to be a matter of time for things to settle for them and I’m sure that they’ll start picking up points soon.”

With the international break now upon us, Spurs will at least have a chance to catch their breath ahead of the resumption of fixtures in early November.

“It comes at the right time,” Spurs’ joint head coach Juan Amoros told me on Sunday. “It’s a good time for us to reset, look at ourselves and try to pick up positives.

“We’ve got Chelsea first, away from home, not an easy game to play in the Continental Cup, and as well is a very important game for us at home against Reading in the league. We’ll need to make sure we are 100 per cent focused, 100 per cent knowing what we are going to do in order to win that game.”

• Ex-Arsenal head coach Shelley Kerr and the Gunners’ UEFA Cup-winning captain Jayne Ludlow each have two momentous matches coming up this week as the battle to qualify for Euro 2022 intensifies.

Scotland boss Kerr, who twice led Arsenal to FA Cup glory as manager, sees her side face Albania in Edinburgh tomorrow (Friday) before facing Finland away on Tuesday.

They will do it without Arsenal’s Jen Beattie and Kim Little, however, after they dropped out of the squad through injury. Tottenham’s Hannah Godfrey is fit to play.

Ludlow’s Wales will entertain the Faroe Islands today (Thursday) and Norway on October 27, with Tottenham’s Josie Green in the squad.

As tournament hosts, England have no competitive fixtures, but will face Germany in a friendly on October 27.

Arsenal’s Beth Mead and Leah Williamson are in boss Phil Neville’s squad for that tie which will be screened on BBC 2 at 3pm.

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