I’VE PAID MY DUES, TIME AFTER TIME
Arsenal Women have won the league title for the 15th time and the first time since 2012. Goals from Vivianne Miedema, Katie McCabe, Beth Mead and Danielle van de Donk saw them beat Brighton 4-0 at the AMEX Stadium on Sunday, in front of a record crowd for a WSL match.
Amid all the madness of yesterday, it’s easy to forget we set a new @FAWSL record attendance (5,265) 😱
YOU. ARE. INCREDIBLE. 👏 pic.twitter.com/KVVdRF7qmG
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 29, 2019
The victory means the Gunners win the title with a game to spare and they don’t have to face the stomach gnawing anxiety of a title shootout with Manchester City on the final day at Boreham Wood on May 11th. In 19 league games, the girls have run up a goal difference of +56. For more on the whys and wherefores of their outstanding league season, come this way.
Arsenal Women won the #FAWSL title in front of a record crowd at Brighton & Hove Albion FC – with some of the finest goals you will see #AFC #ArsenalFC #ArsenalWFC #BHAFC #MatchHighlights
Posted by The FA Women's Super League on Monday, 29 April 2019
YOU BROUGHT ME FAME AND FORTUNE AND EVERYTHING THAT GOES WITH IT
I spoke with manager Joe Montemurro after the game and the Australian was delighted, admitting that the league title had come earlier than he expected in his Arsenal tenure.
“Building squads, foundations, attitudes usually takes 18 months to 2 years. But the belief was already there when I arrived. Everything we do, the language we use, the care and love that those players have got for each other is amazing. I am blessed to be part of a group that is really special.”
— The FA Women's Super League (@FAWSL) April 28, 2019
BUT IT’S BEEN NO BED OF ROSES
Joe also praised the character and togetherness of his side, especially given the injury crisis incurred during this season, “Winning the title means a lot because we’ve had an interesting year. They’ve come together as a group and there’s been a lot of adversity with regards to the injuries and so on. As a group, the love and the respect they have for each other really culminates in what we’ve achieved today.”
— The FA Women's Super League (@FAWSL) April 29, 2019
I’VE DONE MY SENTENCE
One of the few players that formed part of the previous title winning squad in 2012 is Danielle Carter, who recovered from injury just in time to play her part in the Gunners’ title winning season. I spoke to Dan post match and she was ecstatic to be able to feature in the run-in.
“It’s been a while, 2012 feels like a long time ago and we’re so happy to have won this trophy again. When I got injured I wasn’t so sure that I would be back this soon and I wasn’t sure if I would play at all this season. But I’m happy I have been able to make a small contribution with some sub appearances in recent weeks. But the girls have been great all season and we’re just over the moon to have won it.”
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 28, 2019
AND BAD MISTAKES, I’VE MADE A FEW
We also caught up with Gunners defender Leah Williamson about her first league title as an Arsenal player. Leah is a lifelong Arsenal fan who has been with the club since she was 9 years old and her tears on the pitch at full-time tell you a lot about what this achievement means to her.
Leah confessed that she didn’t have the best game, admitting that the emotion of the occasion informed her performance, “I think that might be the worst I’ve ever played for the club and it’s because of how much this game and this title means to me. That’s something I’ll learn from, but I won’t apologise for feeling that way about the club I love.”
All I’ve ever wanted is this, since I was 8/9 years old when I joined the club. My family have been there always and my mum and dad have sacrificed so much to make my dreams come true😢 I can’t thank them enough❤️ https://t.co/enVNofBgsb
— Leah Williamson (@leahcwilliamson) April 28, 2019
I’VE TAKEN MY BOWS AND MY CURTAIN CALLS
An amazing day was topped off at the PFA Awards dinner in London on Sunday evening, when Gunners striker Vivianne Miedema was crowned the PFA Women’s Player of the Year. The award was a formality, the 22-year old Dutch striker has scored 31 goals in all competitions this season and she opened the scoring with a blistering strike against Brighton. Congratulations to Viv.
Vivianne Miedema – PFA Women's Player of the Year! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/2LCUu6Wfr0
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 29, 2019
I’VE HAD MY SHARE OF SAND KICKED IN MY FACE AND I’VE COME THROUGH
Miedema sat down with the Telegraph’s Katie Whyatt prior to the Brighton game to talk a little about her childhood in the Netherlands, amongst other things. Viv explains how she once lost some teeth as a six year old after face planting into a goalkeeper’s fist in the quest for goals.
“They had to go out, anyway. I fell on the floor and I needed help to get up again. I just had a headache. The night we came home my mum was like, ‘Oh – you’re missing some teeth.’ That was when I realised. I was bleeding but she didn’t directly check if my teeth were still in there.” The full interview can be read below.
As a child @VivianneMiedema would "steal the ball from the garage without my parents knowing and play outside in the field with all the sheep". This may explain how the PFA Player of the Year nominee has guided Arsenal to the brink of their first title in seven years. Interview: https://t.co/9a4TSbGOQr
— Katie Whyatt (@KatieWhyatt) April 27, 2019
AND WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTING, TILL THE END
Arsenal will be presented the WSL trophy after their final league game at home to Manchester City on Saturday, 11th May. The game has now sold out, but it will be screened live on BT Sport 1 with a 12.30pm kickoff.
Kick-off 12:30pm Saturday 11 May!
Who's watching? 🙋♀️ pic.twitter.com/TN2p9jkMcq
— The FA Women's Super League (@FAWSL) April 26, 2019
NO TIME FOR LOSERS
If you haven’t already, why not check out this month’s Arsenal Women Arsecast, in which we speak to Faye White and Kelly Smith about Arsenal’s Quadruple winning 2006-07 season, in which they became the only team from the UK to win the European Cup.
In 2006-07 @ArsenalWFC won the quadruple and became the only UK team to win the European Cup. I spoke to captain @faye_white and Arsenal legend @kelly_smith10 about that historic season and some of the personal challenges faced by both players during it https://t.co/CtjnJLzHeZ
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) April 25, 2019
The girls have 12 days off until the City game now, so we’ll be back with another Weekly Round Up next Monday, as well as the usual match preview for Manchester City and exclusive player reaction. The May feature interview will go up in the wake of the City match too and, fingers crossed, we’re working on something a bit special for the May Arsenal Women Arsecast.