Vivianne Miedema is done being overlooked

Vivianne Miedema scored a league-leading 22 goals in FA WSL last season. She was the best player in the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup final. And yet, she’s been overlooked for the world’s big individual awards. Miedema finished behind Alex Morgan and Ada Hegerberg in both FIFA Best and Ballon d’Or voting, despite Morgan scoring zero goals for her club in 2019 and Hegerberg skipping the World Cup.

“I think we all know it’s all about popularity and I don’t post much on Instagram or Twitter, so that’s probably what went wrong,” Miedema told Arseblog’s Tim Stillman about getting snubbed. “I don’t really care about individual awards to be honest, but I think it’s a joke.”

She might sound excessively salty to you, but Miedema has looked determined to prove she’s the best striker in the world since uttering those words. She has 20 goals over just 834 minutes of play in FA WSL and Champions League this season, and turned in a truly outrageous six goal, four assist performance over the weekend.

Yes, seriously: six (6) goals, four (4) assists. Here’s all of Miedema’s entries in the box score in Arsenal’s 11-1 victory over Bristol City.

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Miedema is a lethal finisher, but so are Hegerberg, Morgan and Sam Kerr, with the latter soon to be her direct rival at Chelsea FC. Where Miedema has an argument to be the best of the bunch is with her passing. Even though she’s a striker, she’s the best playmaker in England too.

According to StatsBomb, Miedema is not just leading FA WSL in Expected Goals and shots, but also in Expected Assists and xG Chain, defined as the Expected Goals of all chances a player had any involvement in. That’s a category usually led by central midfielders. Her xG + xA per 90 minutes of 1.43 is more than double that of the second-best player, Reading’s Fara Williams.

Miedema spent a significant chunk of her youth as a central attacking midfielder before she was eventually converted to striker full time as she became an established professional. The Netherlands moved her to that position to get her on the ball more in the World Cup final, and Arsenal regularly allows her to drop deep and pick on the ball to create for teammates.

Her assist for Lisa Evans was comfortably more impressive than any of the six goals Miedema scored against Bristol City.

It’s difficult to compare the four players who have been in the conversation for best striker in the world recently. Morgan has the best scoring record against top teams at international level, but hasn’t done much for her club. Miedema, Kerr and Hegerberg have all racked up outrageous goal totals for clubs in different leagues. But there’s an argument to be made that Miedema is the most complete player of the bunch, and if she keeps up this rate of assisting, there won’t be an argument necessary anymore.

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