by Andrew Crawshaw
Down the years as an Arsenal supporters we have been granted the privilege of being able to watch a number of truly great players at their very best. Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Denis Bergkamp, Tony Adams, Mesut Özil (once upon a time) are some who spring to my mind and I’m sure you will be able to add other names. They are players who seem to operate on a different level to everyone else on the pitch and can see and do things that we mere mortals can only look on with awe and open mouths.
If you read my regular posts that I am an avid fan of our Women’s team as well as the men and in that team we have the most extraordinary player of our time in Vivianne Miedema. This last Sunday she played in her 50th Women’s Super League match and scored her 50th, 51st and 52nd goals in the league becoming the only player to do so.
The previous record holder, Nikita Parris, had 49 goals in 102 matches. Viv beat that record in under half the number of games. So far this season she has 10 goals in 5 matches. In the Premier League, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Heung-Min Son each have 7 goals from 5 matches so she is clearly outperforming the best in that league. The top scorers for our Men’s team is Lacazette with 3 goals.
Vivianne is Dutch, born in Hoogeveen in July 1996. She joined the club from Bayern Munich in June 2017 at the age of 21.
She made her first appearance as a second half substitute in our 5 – 2 defeat away to Manchester City on September 30 2017. Her first start came a week later in our home game against Bristol City. Her first goal for the club came at the end of October 2017 with a solo effort against Everton in the WSL.
The 2017/18 season was a transitional one for the Women’s team, Manager Pedro Losa left after a string of disappointing results and Australian Joe Montemurro took over in mid December. I think his arrival was a major boost for Miedema as both she and the rest of the team have been on an upward trajectory since then.
In the Champions League round of last 16 last season, Viv scored 7 goals across the two legs against Slavia Prague (four in Prague and three at Borehamwood). As I noted above, the home tie marked Viv’s 50th game for the club and she marked that milestone by scoring her 50th, 51st and 52nd goals for the club.
None of Viv’s goals have come from the penalty spot – she has only taken one in her time with the club which she missed.
Here is a chart showing Viv’s record wearing Arsenal colours
|WSL||Games||9 (+2 sub)||20||14||5||50|
|FA Cup||Games||1 (+3 sub)||1||1 (+1sub)||7|
|League Cup||Games||4||5 (+2 sub)||5 (+2 sub)||18|
Viv holds the women’s record for goal involvements in a single game. On 1 December 2019 we played Bristol City in the WSL in what was to be a remarkable match. Viv scored a first half hat trick scoring in the 16th, 33rd and 35th minute. In the second half she scored another hat trick scoring in the 51st, 56th and 63rd minutes. In addition to this she provided the assists for four further goals meaning that when she was substituted (to Bristol’s great relief) in the 70th minute she had had a hand in all ten of the goals we scored. The final score was 11 – 1 a record for the WSL.
Viv’s international record for the Netherlands is as remarkable as her domestic one. She was capped at all levels from U15 upwards making her full international debut in 2013. Since then she has 89 appearances and is the leading Netherlands goalscorer with 69.
In 2014 she won the UEFA U19 Championship scoring 6 goals and getting the Golden Player award for the best player at the tournament. The same year she played a leading role in helping the Netherlands qualify for the 2015 World Cup for the first time finishing as the leading goalscorer with 16 goals.
In the 2017 European Championship she again played a leading role scoring against England in the Semi-final and twice in the final against Denmark which was enough for the Netherlands first ever Euro title.
On 15 June 2019 she became the Netherlands leading goalscorer passing the record of Manon Mellis and well ahead of the Men’s record held by Robin van Persie (remember him?).
Where does Viv rank against the leading goalscorers in Arsenal’s history? Please note that I accept it is not necessarily valid to compare the Men’s and Women’s games but here is a table showing the top 10 all time Arsenal scorers for the men with the top current players and Viv.
|Name||Playing period||Games||Goals||Goals per game|
|Robin van Persie||2004-2012||278||132||0.475|
|Pierre Emerik Aubameyang||2017 – date||115||72||0.626|
|Alexandre Lacazette||2017 – date||132||51||0.386|
Viv is the only player in this list to average more than one goal a game. Ted Drake is second on the list with 0.734, Ian Wright third with 0.642 and Aubameyang fourth with 0.626. By any standards she is in remarkably good company.
She is also still in the relatively early stages in her career and the probability is that she will only get better. Barring injury I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her get to 100 goals by the end of the season and if we can keep her at the club for another three years she could well be approaching Henry’s goal total.
Is she the best Arsenal Women’s striker of all time? Most certainly yes. She can be a frustrating player to watch as she sometimes appears to be totally disinterested for significant portions of a game but then she senses a goal scoring opportunity and comes to life like a big cat chasing prey and most of the time the outcome is predictable with the ball in the back of the net.
In interviews she is always modest about her achievements claiming to be more of a No 10 player than an outright striker. Whatever she is she is a phenomenon and all Arsenal supporters should make every effort to watch her at work. If she doesn’t score she will probably produce an assist and if she doesn’t do that her movement will drag opposition players out of position making space for her team mates to exploit.