The roar that echoed around the Emirates Stadium said it all as Arsenal and rivals Tottenham Hotspur took to the pitch for this historic North London derby in the Women’s Super League.
This season will be a seismic moment for women’s football in the UK, which is only going one way after the Lionesses of England captured the hearts of a nation this summer by winning the European Championships on home soil.
More than 47,000 fans packed the Emirates for the North London derby – a record for a WSL game – and fans were certainly not disappointed as a brace from Vivianne Miedema as well as goals from Beth Mead and Raffaele Souza sealed a 4-0 win for the Gunners.
For anyone attending their first-ever women’s football game, it will undoubtedly have been an experience that left them wanting more.
The cheers that greeted Lionesses heroes Mead and Leah Williamson before the game were deafening and just underscored how much their stock has grown as well as the newfound admiration they now have from the fans.
It was a dominating display from the Gunners and Spurs who simply couldn’t live with their intensity on the ball as well as their wide options.
Jonas Eidevall’s side top the table after two routine wins in their first two games and with more performances like this they will undoubtedly be the team to beat as the season progresses. They are currently looking a class above their opponents.
Arsenal should be applauded for the marketing campaign that has helped attract so many supporters and for also exploiting the increased interest in the WSL by scheduling a game at the Emirates in the first weeks of the new season.
Most Read Football
Keane booed and Berbatov scores a fine goal, but Liverpool legends beat Man United
YouTuber Speed takes revenge on KSI with brutal tackle in charity match
Murray wants to release McCoist for his 60th birthday – but Brazil aren’t invited
How to spend £1,841 at Norwich store as PM Truss quizzed over bizarre bill
Dyche says Burnley could have signed Kane for £7m but ended up with Boyd and relegated
England ‘sleepwalking into disastrous World Cup’ as fans call on Southgate to leave
The Gunners are set to play five more games at the Emirates in the new campaign and if similar attendances follow in their remaining fixtures, it may only be a matter of time before Jonas Eidevall’s side have passed their mark. usual home stadium at Bois de Boreham.
There was a real party atmosphere around the Emirates and you felt it was going to be a special day from the start. Crossing Kings Cross St Pancras and onto the Piccadilly line early on Saturday morning, there were plenty of young families making the trip to the Emirates, with young girls dressed in Arsenal shirts or Lionesses kits.
On top of that, however, looking around the Emirates before kick-off, there were fathers watching with their sons, couples watching perhaps their very first live football match together and a real mix of age groups. All in all it felt like a really inclusive day.
However, it cannot be unique. WSL clubs as well as the FA should exploit every opportunity to play matches in larger stadiums. We cannot let this moment pass for the sake of the next generation who dream of following in the footsteps of Williamson and co.
As Chelsea boss Emma Hayes suggested during her press conference ahead of the Blues’ game against Manchester City, every international break should be a celebration of women’s football with all clubs playing in the stadiums of their men’s teams. .
Can games also be better programmed? WSL fixtures have clashed too often with men’s first-team games over the past two seasons.
Away from the pitch, the government simply needs to follow up on the Lionesses’ open letter after their Euro success calling on girls to have more access to football within the PE. If girls can’t play football or play sports in school, how on earth are they supposed to inspire the next generation?
In recent years a new breed of players have started to emerge, like Man City’s Mead and Lauren Hemp, who are so technically gifted on the ball and can dominate teams on their own.
With more investment in the game at grassroots level and more access to football within the PE, can you imagine the kind of footballers England could produce? It is no exaggeration to say that with this investment, England could still dominate at international level for a long time to come, especially with the inspiring Sarina Wiegman at the helm.
In short, it really feels like the tip of the iceberg for women’s football and it just needs to be taken advantage of.