Vivianne Miedema has been nominated for the PFA Women’s Player of the Year and the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year. PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year. Both nominations were inevitable and deserved for the 22 year old Dutch striker who has broken record upon record this season. She will be the strong favourite or both awards and, I am sure fans of every club in the WSL will concede, there is little arguing with that.
Viv was the only Arsenal player nominated in both categories despite the Gunners’ league form. For the uninitiated or semi-engaged, it would be easy, understandable even, to think that Miedema has been a one woman juggernaut launching her side to the top of the league. Viv is a very candid, laconic interviewee and she has spoken about her indifference to personal awards many times before.
“I think as a footballer you always want to be the best, but I don’t really care about individual prizes. Right now I’m focused on winning trophies with Arsenal. I’m more worried about winning trophies at club level and international level rather than individual prizes,” she told Joe.co.uk earlier this year.
Miedema’s goals are a significant part of Arsenal’s re-emergence as a force in the title race this season. Plenty of times in the past, the Gunners have failed to turn dominance into goals. No longer. However, as I am sure Viv herself would attest, Arsenal’s form is underpinned by a series of strong performances from a variety of individuals- many of whom the coach has been forced to rely on on an ongoing basis due to a season long injury crisis.
Danielle van de Donk has 12 goals this season, Jordan Nobbs has 9 despite her season finishing in November, Kim Little is in double figures and Beth Mead is on course to break the WSL record for assists in a season. Katie McCabe has directly contributed to 20 goals this season from the right, the left, the centre of midfield and from full-back.
Miedema is a prolific finisher of moves (though she has created 35 chances for teammates this season herself, she is not just a pure goal scorer), but the ability to get the ball to her in the final third has been an outstanding team effort. I voted for Lisa Evans as the Arsenal Supporters Club player of the year- her raids down the right hand side have been a key part of how Arsenal attack, with the inside forwards tucking in and Evans steaming down the touch line from right full-back.
👌 Easy work for @JordanNobbs8…
— The FA Women's Super League (@FAWSL) November 8, 2018
Danielle van de Donk stepped up to the plate in terms of midfield goals when Nobbs was injured in November, notching 12 goals (from a combined distance of about 20 yards, she has become an excellent poacher). Van de Donk and Miedema enjoy a fruitful relationship and DvD is very good at running into the space that Miedema’s runs leave.
Katie McCabe is another player who can count herself unfortunate not to be acknowledged more widely by her peers. Nobody has played more minutes than McCabe for the Gunners this season. She has played in a variety of positions and notched a crucial winner at Birmingham three weeks ago.
🗓 Tuesday, March 26: Signs a new long-term contract
🗓 Sunday, March 31: Scores the winner against @BCFCWomen
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 1, 2019
Arsenal build play from the back very well, a staple of Joe Montemurro’s style. Williamson to Evans is Arsenal’s most frequent passing combination (centre half to right wing-back), which tells you a lot about how progressively the defensive players move the ball. Louise Quinn has the highest pass completion statistics in the division, but the defensive players do more than provide ammunition for the forwards.
Arsenal WFC 4 : 0 Bristol City WFC
1.7 : 0.7 NPxG
xG: Miedema (ARS)
Progressions: Evans (ARS)
Defence: Kerkdijk (BSC)#xg #shotmap #passmap#FAWSL #BCLFC #AWFC@BristolCityWFC @ArsenalWFC@VivianneMiedema @LisaEvans_17 @daniquekerkdijk pic.twitter.com/jevnHZRi5n
— WomensFootyStat (@WomensFootyStat) March 20, 2019
The Gunners have the three most prolific tacklers in the WSL in Dominique Bloodworth, Daniëlle van de Donk and Lia Wälti- the latter has been injured since mid-January. Dominique Bloodworth, who has flitted between full-back, centre half and defensive midfield this season, has touched the ball more than 1,000 times this season, as has defender Leah Williamson. Montemurro’s side have the joint best defence in the league. The defenders have a duel role in this team of defending and building attack.
Despite getting injured after 1️⃣2️⃣ @FAWSL fixtures, only @DanielleDonk and @DomBloodworth have completed more tackles than @LiaWaelti this season (35) 😎#WeAreTheArsenal 🇨🇭 pic.twitter.com/rgJyPTSdPa
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 19, 2019
Miedema would make a very deserving winner of the PFA Player of the Year award and the Arsenal Supporters’ Club Player of the Year. In fact, any other result would be difficult to justify. Yet this team is very, very far from a one woman show. She is certainly the clutch player, but the engine and the wheels are in very fine working order too.