Since the World Cup last summer, the marketing of women’s football in England has been excellent.
Last Sunday’s WSL fixture – the first north London derby to be held at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – is a testament to this, with 38,262 fans filling the ground and breaking the record attendance for a women’s first division game.
However, as wonderful as new attendance records are, they should not distract from the most important matter: the football.
It was almost as if Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema was trying to prove this point during the match.
Moments after the stadium PA announced the record-breaking crowd, a poor back pass from Spurs’ defender Anna Filbey allowed the Arsenal forward to pounce.
Miedema rounded the keeper to score Arsenal’s second goal in their 2-0 victory.
It wasn’t a moment of pure individual brilliance. But it was a display of just how clinical the Dutch forward is.
Even if it wasn’t quite her day, getting her name on the scoresheet was inevitable. This was her 53rd goal at Arsenal in her 51st start.
Miedema was always going to make a statement in a game of such magnitude.
— Sports Gazette (@SportsGazette) November 17, 2019
To try and describe her style of play would be almost redundant. Just go and watch her play! Why would anyone want to hear about the genius of Nick Cave’s music, when you could just go and listen to Into my Arms?
In Miedema, Arsenal and the WSL have a talent worth the ticket admission alone.
The Dutch forward may only be 23-years-old, but she is already her country’s all-time leading scorer with 69 goals in 87 matches.
A record that takes her ahead of Robin Van Persie – who sits way behind in second place with 50 goals from 102 matches – as well as the likes of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, and Dennis Bergkamp.
And yet, for the last season’s WSL top scorer, it’s not all about the goals. Indeed, Miedema considers herself more a creator, instead of your traditional goal-scoring number nine.
She is not even Arsenal’s first choice penalty taker, proving her desperation to score is not a particularly pressing concern come game day.
Speaking on The Women Football Arsecast about her style of play, the 23-year-old said: “If a coach asked me, ‘what’s your favourite position?’ I would always say I’m a ten.
“I’d still rather probably set up other people, than be set up. I always try to look for the ball through.”
Before adding: “I think that’s just the player I am.
“I’m not bothered about not scoring for one or two games, if I know I’ve assisted other people or if I play a good game.”
There are few strikers who can boast such prolific goal scoring numbers, whilst retaining such a blasé attitude to having that clinical touch.
If you are unfamiliar with the women’s game but sense it’s growing stature in England, you are likely not alone.
If you want a reason to get into the game, there are many.
But there are perhaps none better than Vivianne Miedema.