UEFA Women’s Champions League…HERE WE COME!
Last night’s four-nil win in Prague, combined with the three-nil win at Meadow Park in the first leg, sealed our return to the elite European competition. It was “never in doubt” as a wise man once (allegedly) said but it is not over until it is over, so we can all rejoice now.
We cruised through both legs comfortably and showed focus, composure and maturity to get to the group stages of the UWCL and earn our shot at winning the big trophy. It is going to be extremely difficult and unlikely but we are here now and we will surely give it a go. We have a strong squad, lots of quality upfront and a coach that has made it very clear that the Arsenal will go fo every available piece of silverware.
This team seems well-equipped to embrace the different challenges ahead and cope with the busy schedule, especially as we will soon add Jordan Nobbs, Tobin Heath and Viktoria Schnaderback to the group and, later on, Malin Gut, so there is a reason for optimism. There are many reasons, actually.
This morning every headline will be about her, though. Not about the team or the coach or the tactics. Who? Anna Margaretha Marina Astrid Miedema, of course!
The Dutch sensation scored a hat-trick in Prague to reach a 100-goals and became the fastest players in the Club’s history to reach this incredible milestone. It only took her 110 games (97 starts) to get there, without penalties, which is simply mind-blowing.
Her third, history-making, goal of the night was especially impressive as she sat down three opponents with one dummy shot, before clipping the ball into the net, in what looked like a effortless piece of art.
She can score any kind of goal, she can drop deep and link-up with the midfielder, she can move wide and create spaces for her teammates, she can assist or pre-assist and she can press. There isn’t much she can do, actually. She is the ultimate player.
To be able to see here every week is such a privilege and we should really cherish every single memory she’s been creating since she joined.
There’s a fair point in her being among the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or but I’m worried that ending the season empty-handed will cost her, in that regard.
What worries me more, though, is that she will be out of contract at the end of the season.
The idea of her leaving is frightening, not simply because she’s the greatest of all time but for what it would mean in terms of ambitions, as a Club, and would bring me back to the days when the men’s team was confronted to some major issues about talent retention: it’s not the same team, it’s not the same world but Vivianne Miedema leaving to chase trophies and titles would take me straight back to Robin van Persie leaving to Manchester United.
We all know how much of an inspiration he was for Vivianne Miedema but if there is one thing I hope she doesn’t do, is to follow in Robin van Persie’s footsteps and jump ships.
I would hope that the ambition shown by the Club throughout the summer, whether it is on the pitch, in the transfers market or behind the scenes, would eventually convince her (and Leah Williamson) to stay beyond her current deal and truly become Arsenal’s greatest player of all time. I guess that much will depend on how we perform this season, how much of a fight we will be able to mount against Chelsea, Manchester City and the best European teams and how close we will be to compete for the top prizes.
I want to feel optimistic because the Club built on an already strong squad, adding quality and diversity in Mana Iwabuchi, Nikita Parris, Frida Maanum, Simone Boye and Tobin Heath, and we already got the big-match voodoo out of the system with an empathic win against the reigning champions.
If we can build on that, our short-term and long-term future might be very bright.
With Vivianne Anna Margaretha Marina Astrid Miedema leading the line, of course
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.