Tottenham vice-captain Molly Bartrip believes a genuine rivalry with Arsenal has now developed in the Women’s Super League.
Spurs host Jonas Eidevall’s team at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday fresh from a 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Wednesday in a Continental Tyres League Cup group fixture which ended with a penalty shoot-out that the hosts won 4-3.
The midweek clash was the 11th meeting between the clubs during the last four years and, while Tottenham remain winless, they have come a long way since a 10-0 FA Cup loss to Arsenal in 2017.
Match Report: Arsenal 3-3 Spurs
A point is gained despite shootout loss in dramatic #ContiCup derby.
— Tottenham Hotspur Women (@SpursWomen) December 13, 2023
“I think sometimes we forgot Tottenham haven’t been a women’s team in the top league for a long time,” former Arsenal trainee Bartrip told the PA news agency.
“I actually started off at Tottenham in the Under-10s but they weren’t the biggest team and Arsenal were, so I went there and learned a lot from a young age.
“I am obviously thankful for that, but at the same time I am a Tottenham player now and I want to beat them.
“I will not shy away from saying that. It would be amazing to beat them and the derby is a big game. It is a battle, it is a rivalry and why can’t we make it ours and really give a fight to them.”
Spurs took the lead three times on Wednesday and the result represented the third time they have held Arsenal to a draw at the end of 90 minutes.
The only occasion in the WSL was during the 2021-22 campaign, when Vivianne Miedema struck in the 92nd minute to deny Tottenham a 1-0 win.
Bartrip added: “I remember that game specifically and I actually thought we had it.
“Unfortunately we conceded at the end but the ones that were there for that game can take a lot from it.
“Actually to be fair every game you play against Arsenal you learn a bit more about yourself and what Robert (Vilahamn) is developing within this group is confidence, so hopefully we can take that into this game.”
New boss Vilahamn was hired from Hacken this summer to help Tottenham improve after a difficult last season that saw them battle against relegation.
The Swedish coach immediately produced an upturn in results, with Spurs embarking on an eight-match unbeaten run before recent heavy WSL defeats to Manchester City and Manchester United, but they have been boosted by the midweek draw at Arsenal, where Bartrip again captained the side with Bethany England only on the bench after her recent return from a hip injury.
“Of course it has been an honour but I am just (one of) a squad of 26 players and I am the lucky one to have worn it,” centre-back Bartrip insisted.
“At the same time, I just want to give everything I can for the team and every game I want to be the best version of myself.
“More than anything, it is what I can do for the team. I don’t really think too intensely about the armband.
“Beth is an amazing captain, Olga (Ahtinen) is also an amazing vice-captain and the three of us work together to try to create a good team environment, a good place for the girls to be and on the pitch.
“We want to try and lead the team as best we can so hopefully we’re doing that.”