Arsenal 4 Tottenham 0
A World Cup winner newly arrived to Tottenham Hotspur’s ranks dominated the discussion in the build-up to this quarter-final, but a Scotland international emerged as the headline act.
In a ruthless display of finishing, Lisa Evans scored a superb hat-trick within the final quarter hour of this match to turn what had been a closely fought contest into an Arsenal rout.
Despite talk of Alex Morgan making a potentially exciting debut for Tottenham, the American World Cup winner stayed on the bench in Borehamwood, having not a played a competitive match since giving birth in May.
Arsenal were missing Jill Roord, scorer of consecutive hat-tricks in their first two league games. The Dutch midfielder was injured on international duty, having taken a leading role in their league thrashings of Reading and West Ham.
Arsenal ran out 10-0 winners the last time these sides met in the Cup three years ago, but Tottenham have made much progress since then, winning promotion twice, and did well to prevent their opponents from settling into their possession-based game in the first half.
The hosts went close to scoring with only five minutes played when Caitlin Foord rose superbly from 12 yards out and powered a head against the crossbar, but otherwise struggled to get past Spurs’ disciplined, high press.
Looking to attack on the counter, Spurs could even have had the chance to go ahead when Katie McCabe appeared to tug on Rosella Ayane’s shirt in the area, but the penalty appeal was turned down.
With Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs showing deft touch and movement for Arsenal, however, they moved up a gear after the break, and a fluid move created a good chance for Nobbs, who shot straight at Tottenham keeper Becky Spencer from an acute angle. A moment later, Arsenal had a goal disallowed after Katie McCabe’s strike was ruled because of a foul in the penalty area.
Soon afterwards, an excellent piece of skill from Nobbs broke the deadlock. With 73 minutes played, the England international picked up possession 25 yards out and lifted a shot over Tottenham keeper Becky Spencer, who had wandered off her line.
A few moments later, Vivianne Miedema slipped a superb pass through to Evans, who finished into the bottom corner. She grabbed her second after clever play from Kim Little set up Danielle van de Donk, who squared for her team-mate. Evans completed her hat-trick with 90 minutes played, hitting the roof of the net after Beth Mead had surged down the right flank and sent in a pinpoint cross. “We didn’t want to go to extra-time and penalties so we had to get it done in the 90,” said Evans, with Arsenal due to play either Leicester City or Manchester City in their semi-final. “I don’t mind who we face. Bring it on.”
Arsenal will be hoping to add to their record haul of 14 FA Cup victories, Spurs must wait at least another year before they can dream of lifting the cup for the first time. “We obviously want trophies this year and the FA Cup is the big one,” Nobbs said.