Arsenal continued their Women’s Super League title challenge with north London derby success at Tottenham.
First-half goals from Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord set the Gunners on course for victory.
Tottenham’s Bethany England pulled one back from the penalty spot as Spurs looked to mount a fightback.
But Foord, Kim Little and Frida Maanum extended Arsenal’s tally to five after the break as they strolled to an easy win at Brisbane Road.
The victory means that Arsenal are three points behind league leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.
United went top of the table after beating West Ham United 4-0 later on Saturday.
Arsenal took an early lead through Sweden striker Blackstenius, who took advantage of Tinja-Riikka Korpela’s poor positioning to beat the Spurs keeper with an effort from a tight angle.
Spurs were mainly limited to counter-attacks and had to defend deep to hold back their north London rivals, who remained mostly in control of the game.
Foord extended the Gunners’ lead in fine fashion, rolling the ball into the far corner from distance after weaving through the Spurs defence with an intricate run.
England converted from the penalty spot after Katie McCabe blocked an Ashleigh Neville shot with her arm, but Spurs were still firmly on the back foot.
Arsenal’s dominance continued after the break and they pegged Tottenham back into their own half.
McCabe atoned for conceding the earlier penalty as she drew one for Arsenal, being fouled by Amy Turner in the box. Little then rifled into the roof of the net to restore their two-goal advantage.
Foord and Maanum then added two more as Arsenal sealed an emphatic victory.
Arsenal lay down a marker
Jonas Eidevall’s side may be behind in the title race but they remain firmly in the mix for the top spot.
With matches against the rest of the top four still to play, lifting the trophy is still within their sights.
They bounced back in fine fashion from Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg defeat by Bayern Munich and appeared improved by the introduction of Victoria Pelova to the starting line-up.
The January signing was creative on the wing and assisted both of Foord’s goals.
Foord’s tenacity continually posed problems for the hosts and she could be a dangerous prospect when they take on fellow challengers Manchester City next weekend.
Arsenal host Bayern in the second leg of their quarter-final before that – and Eidevall believes his side’s performance on Saturday was good preparation.
He said: “Hopefully we go into the game on Wednesday with a good bit of self-confidence and I think we should have that from our performances.
“It is not a team who have one or two strong performances. We have built good momentum coming into these two games against Bayern Munich and City. Now it is up to us to execute it.”
City, who are fourth, face second-place Chelsea on Sunday.
Spurs’ improvement halted
Tottenham halted their nine-game WSL losing streak with victory over Leicester City on 15 March in interim boss Vicky Jepson’s first game in charge.
She took the reins after Rehanne Skinner was dismissed, and this result ensures they remain among the league’s relegation-threatened sides in ninth – five points ahead of bottom club Leicester and having played a game more.
Spurs were strong for much of the first half against Arsenal but rapidly succumbed as the Gunners’ relentless attacking became too much to handle after the break.
Fellow strugglers Reading and Brighton are among their six remaining opponents, and Jepson will need to turn things around if Spurs are to stop looking over their shoulders.
“When they go 3-1 up, it was probably the nail in the coffin,” said Jepson.
“Then they built momentum and we had to ride the storm. We didn’t ride the storm as well as we would like to and we find ourselves 5-1 down.
“It is just one of those things. The first half we showed character, we showed grit and we created opportunities to get us back in the game, but second half, as a collective, we are all disappointed.
“We feel sorry for the fans because the final whistle goes in a north London derby and it should never be that scoreline.”
- 14Bizet IldhusøySubstituted forUbogaguat 79′minutes
- 25SummanenSubstituted forGrahamat 67′minutes
- 15JamesBooked at 69mins
- 24SpenceSubstituted forChoat 88′minutes
- 16MaritzSubstituted forWienroitherat 67′minutes
- 12MaanumSubstituted forKühlat 82′minutes
- 13WältiSubstituted forCarvalho Souzaat 67′minutes
- 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forTaylorat 82′minutes
- 19FoordSubstituted forQueiroz Costaat 77′minutesSubstituted forat 87′minutes
- 2Carvalho Souza
- 20Queiroz Costa
Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur Women 1, Arsenal Women 5.
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur Women 1, Arsenal Women 5.
Foul by Jodie Taylor (Arsenal Women).
Molly Bartrip (Tottenham Hotspur Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Kathrine Kühl (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kerys Harrop (Tottenham Hotspur Women).
Attempt saved. Kathrine Kühl (Arsenal Women) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Ashleigh Neville.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur Women. Cho So-Hyun replaces Drew Spence.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Gio Queiroz went off injured after Arsenal Women had used all subs.
Delay in match because of an injury Gio Queiroz (Arsenal Women).
Attempt saved. Gio Queiroz (Arsenal Women) with an attempt from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Katie McCabe with a cross.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Jodie Taylor replaces Stina Blackstenius.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Kathrine Kühl replaces Frida Maanum.
Attempt missed. Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal Women) header from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Stina Blackstenius following a corner.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Kit Graham.
Laura Wienroither (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kerys Harrop (Tottenham Hotspur Women).
Gio Queiroz (Arsenal Women) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Katie McCabe with a cross.