Arsenal: Katie McCabe says North London Derby has 'evolved' since record breaking crowd

Katie McCabe

The North London Derby — one of the biggest rivalries in football — is now a staple on the calendar of any fan of the women's game.

Since Tottenham Hotspur were promoted to the Women's Super League in 2019, supporters in red and in white have enjoyed thrilling spectacles as derby day unfolds.

This afternoon, another fight for bragging rights of the city will take place as Spurs prepare to host league leaders Arsenal in the opening match of Women's Football Weekend. 

A North London Derby in the making

Katie McCabe, who has been a vital part of Arsenal's team this season, spoke ahead of this afternoon's derby as Arsenal look to take on their rivals.

"Since Spurs have come up I think they’ve improved every single year and they’ve had a really good start to [this] season," she said. "But I think for us, we always go in and focus on ourselves.

"I think every year it has more of that derby feel to it, especially when we played them at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and we had that record breaking crowd two years ago. I think it’s evolved ever since.

"You’re getting more of that competitive edge that a derby always holds."

Katie McCabe Cho So-hyun

In November 2019, just six months after Spurs earned promotion into the WSL, the two North London outfits met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Although it would end in a disappointing scoreline for the Lilywhites — a 2-0 victory for the Gunners — it would be a superb result overall as they set a new record attendance.

More than 38,000 supporters watched the first ever WSL North London Derby — a moment that would prove to be game-changing for the two sides, and the sport as a whole.

McCabe admitted while she enjoyed playing at The Hive, Tottenham's usual ground, she would much prefer to be stepping out onto the turf at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium more often.

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Arsenal's form

After Arsenal fell away from what what usually be a close-knit title race last season, they managed to secure Champions League football, but ultimately finished nine points behind eventual champions Chelsea.

There was a feeling of disheartenment about the team after enduring what would be described as a tough season in their books.

However, Arsenal made swift moves to rectify any mistakes made in 2020/21. Manager Joe Montemurro stepped down and was replaced by Jonas Eidevall — who is yet to drop a single point in the WSL with the Gunners.

Jonas Eidevall

They also made some statement signings in Nikita Parris, Mana Iwabuchi, and Frida Maanum. 

Under new management and with new personnel around her, McCabe is enjoying a blistering season already. With six goalscoring contributions in as many games, plus a 100 percent win record, she is the most clinical defender in the league right now.

Katie McCabe

"I think I’m in a really good place, I’ve really tried to take what Jonas is trying to implement and bring it into every game," the Republic of Ireland captain explained. "Since he’s come in, he’s implemented his style really well and I obviously enjoyed picking up Player of the Month last month, but ultimately it’s about our team performances and picking up three points."

Spurs are off to a seriously impressive start this season and currently sit third in the WSL table on 13 points, just five behind their neighbours in the top spot. There's a great amount at stake for both sides when they lock horns in another derby clash.

Spurs will host Arsenal at The Hive for the North London Derby this afternoon at 13.30 GMT. UK viewers can watch the fixture live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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