Katie McCabe and Jonas Eidevall have both insisted that Arsenal are prepared for Tottenham’s physicality ahead of Saturday’s potentially record-breaking north London derby.
The gap between Arsenal and Tottenham has gradually closed during Spurs’ three seasons in the WSL, with Tottenham taking points off their north London rivals for the very first time last term.
Arsenal’s last two league clashes with Tottenham have been particularly physical affairs, with a melee breaking out in their last meeting after Josie Green left her mark on Lia Walti with a crunching tackle.
“I think even since I first came to the club we’ve seen Spurs over the last few years really invest in their women’s team and I think they’ve done a great job with that, and with that you get more quality in the games and that derby feeling has grown, especially last year,” said McCabe.
“They look to frustrate us and they look to be physical, and I think that’s what a derby game’s all about, but it’s up to us to control our minds and control that mentality.
“We’ll be ready for any physicality that will be thrown at us tomorrow but ultimately it’s about playing football and playing our way, which is the Arsenal way.”
Eidevall drew comparisons between Spurs and Ajax, who held Arsenal to a 2-2 draw in Champions League qualification on Tuesday evening after a real physical encounter between the sides.
“If we see some things that we can expect from Tottenham – we saw Ajax were a very physical team, and we know Tottenham are that as well,” the Gunners boss suggested.
“That’s the team that fouls the most in the WSL. They have been doing so consistently under Rehanne Skinner, it’s very much a strategy that they have to foul a lot and try to be very physical. So of course we are prepared for that.”
Over 51,000 tickets have been sold for the clash, which should comfortably break the WSL attendance record. Tickets will remain available to purchase up until kick off.
“Arsenal have done a terrific job of tapping into that momentum from the Euros and really pushing this game,” said McCabe. “North London derby at the Emirates, 51,000 tickets sold – it’s unbelievable.”