Friday, January 27, 2023

Arsenal Women Are No One Woman Show

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Great finishing by her.

Unai are meant to be together

Great read. The Arsenal ladies have blown minds this season and the early dominance in the league is helpful now

Peter Story Teller

I am glad you mentioned Lia Walti since apart from the Arsenal faithful she has really ducked under the radar this season but her contribution to the team before the injury was immense.

Chris Humphrey

Just getting ready for the Arsenal game this afternoon….Meadow Park not the Emirates! Excellent read Tim. Glad a few more of the “unsung heroines” got mentioned. Louise Quinn for example. Thought she might struggle under the Joe “play it from the back” style but she has got better & better as the season has unfurled. Her & Leah are working so well together in the system. The goalkeepers have BOTH quietly done their bit Pauline has got the nod ahead of Sari presumably because Joe sees her more suited to the aforementioned style of play from the back., but to… Read more »


Another excellent read Tim, thanks. I’ve been really impressed with the way the whole team’s stepped up, (as you say it’s definitely not a one-woman show,) with many players making a telling contribution when needed.


Three from Man City, two from Chelsea only one from Arsenal somewhere along the line something has gone terribly wrong with the nominations, how are they arrived at?
To my mind on the performances this season Arsenal could easily have all six nominations.

Chris Humphrey

A lovely day at Meadow Park. A couple of hours in the park before the game watching the kids’ coaching sessions. The kids seemed to have a great time as did the coaches!! Atmosphere at the game was lovely if not a bit “squeaky bum” tense. Looked to be on a stroll after half an hour after Louise’s early header & then Viv’s bit of sorcery. Second half was very low-key probably because of the heat. Sari’s blip didn’t ease the SB and to be fair Everton are a pretty decent side despite their low position. Still, sign of champions… Read more »

Chris Humphrey

More good news from the females of Arsenal Football Club……Arsenal Women U21’s 5, Manchester United U21’s 0 in the FA Academy Cup final. Well done young ladies, shame it was held so far away & on the same day as the first team fixture.
So, first leg of a unique treble. Next up next Saturday the U16’s take on Chelsea in the FA Girls Cup final at Quorn F C (where??? it’s near Loughborough)……followed by the BIG ONE on Sunday in Brighton.

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