The Arsenal Women Journal – Big Viv, Big Win [ARS 1-0 JUV]

Miedema scores
What a crucial, welcome, deserved win at the Emirates Stadium for the Arsenal Women team, against Juventus. After being held to a draw in Turin, Jonas Eidevall’s side managed to see off the Italians and make a big step towards the knock-out phase.

It is not done yet, but we are incredibly close to sealing our qualification and we have a big chance to win the group, a scenario that was unconceivable when the draw was made. Still unbeaten despite playing in Lyon and Turin already, Jonas Eidevall’s team can secure both the qualification and top spot with a home win against Olympique Lyonnais, next week. Otherwise, a win against Zurich in Switzerland the week after will be enough to get into the round of 16.

I’d rather leave the math to those who like them and concentrate on what has been a mature, assertive collective performance from back to front: the defensive line, led by Leah Williamson, was steady and alert; the midfield was secure in possession and astute tactically and the forward line created all kind of problems with their movement off the ball and quality on the ball. Laura Wienroither, Steph Catley, Leah Williamson and Lia Wälti were all very impressive but last night showed why Vivianne Miedema is still the absolute star of this team and one of the most intelligent, influent players in Europe.

She scored a brilliant goal, much more difficult that she made it look, and was at the heart of anything good that happened on the field, in both phases: she created the most chances, she gained possession seven times and completed 77% of her passes, half of which happened in the attacking third.

It was a big night for the Arsenal and Vivianne Miedema showed up, once again, to lead the team and make the difference – exactly like she did against Everton in the league. Many were surprised when the club allowed her to take a break, others implied that her relationship with Jonas Eidevall was broken after being benched or substituted early, but it seems that she needed that break, after all. That choice, as unpopular as it sounded a few weeks back, might prove to be one of the most inspired one as the season goes on and important games start to pile up.

Next stop is Villa Park, on Sunday afternoon, to take on Carla Ward’s team. The Villans are currently sitting in fifth place but suffered a heavy defeat at Old Trafford (0-5) on the previous matchday, leaving them six points behind Manchester City in fourth.

Despite that, we can expect another close contest at Villa Park and another very tight scoreline, unless some of our players manage to find their scoring boots and help the team cruising through games, instead of battling until the very last minute to preserve their lead.

We’ll talk again on Monday, up the gunners!

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