Miedema breaks WSL record with hat-trick as Arsenal hammer Tottenham

Suzanne Wrack at Meadow Park on 18 October 2020

Arsenal’s manager, Joe Montemurro, said Vivianne Miedema’s contract is “top of the list” and that the club will do “everything we can to make sure Viv remains a part of the group” after the 24-year-old Dutch striker scored a first-half hat-trick to become the Women’s Super League record goalscorer.

Her 52-goal tally has been achieved in only 50 games, fewer than half the number needed by the previous record holder, the former Manchester City forward Nikita Parris, who scored 49 in 110 games. Parris’s City teammate Ellen White has 48 in 104.

Miedema, whose contract is believed to expire in the summer of 2022, drew level with Parris’s record last weekend against Brighton, leaving her primed and ready to pounce in the more glamorous north London derby. “I’m happy I could help the team today and I hope there are a lot more goals to follow,” she said. “This season is still long and obviously I’ve got a contract here next season as well, so hopefully I can keep going. I’m happy that we won today and that was the main focus.”

Where it took 70 minutes for Arsenal to undo a resilient Spurs defence in the FA Cup three weeks ago, eventually scoring four, by half-time Montemurro’s side were 5-0 up, a stunning free-kick from the Republic of Ireland winger Katie McCabe giving them the lead in the fourth minute.

Three minutes later Miedema had the record. Sweeping down the left wing she slipped a pass to Daniëlle van de Donk. The latter, sensing the run of her compatriot, flicked the ball with the side of a foot into the path of the advancing Miedema, who collected and fired across goal and into the far corner.

A loud cheer went up from the Arsenal staff and injured players and there were even a couple of high-fives and a small smile from the stalking forward who rarely celebrates.

Manchester City's difficult start to the season continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Reading. Norwegian forward Amalie Eikeland put the Royals in front after just three minutes at the Madejski Stadium, heading home a corner at the near post. 

The hosts held their lead until half-time, with Grace Moloney denying Georgia Stanway from a City corner, but Samantha Mewis got City level on 56 minutes. The US international picked the ball up on the left and cut infield past two defenders before firing the ball into the far corner.

Mewis's international teammate Rose Lavelle sent a late effort narrowly wide, but Gareth Taylor's side had to settle for a point. After just five games, City are seven points behind leaders Arsenal and five behind local rivals Manchester United, who won 4-2 at West Ham.

Alessia Russo put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes, then set up Tobin Heath to power home a second three minutes later. Emily van Egmond pulled one back for the Hammers, only for Russo to restore the two-goal cushion before half-time for Casey Stoney's side.

Rachel Daly scored her first West Ham goal with seven minutes to play, lobbing Mary Earps from the edge of the area. Substitute Christen Press (pictured) made sure of victory with her first Manchester United goal, sweeping home at the far post four minutes later.

United move up to third, behind Everton only on goal difference after their perfect start came to an end with a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton.

The visitors took a surprise lead, but Izzy Christiansen levelled and Valérie Gauvin's second-half header put Everton ahead. Aileen Whelan grabbed a point for Hope Powell's side, turning Fiss Gibbons' low cross into the roof of the net with 12 minutes to play.

Bottom club Bristol City's miserable start continued as they lost 4-0 at home to Birmingham. Claudia Walker's long-range effort was the pick of the Blues' goals with Rachel Corsie, Mollie Green and Christie Murray also on target. Niall McVeigh

Montemurro said: “We see from a football perspective week by week the contribution Viv makes as a footballer and I’m blessed and lucky to be a part of her everyday scenario.”

Arsenal played with serious swagger despite severely depleted forces (seven first-team players remain sidelined, with the manager having said before the game that they were undergoing a “massive internal review” as a result of their third injury crisis in as many seasons) and a lofted long ball from the centre-back Leah Williamson found the Australian forward Caitlin Foord, who rolled the ball past Becky Spencer.

Then it was Miedema’s turn again. A McCabe free-kick was this time slipped to the Netherlands forward on the right and her on-target shot deflected off Alanna Kennedy and in. Five minutes later Miedema had her third, picking up Foord’s pass on the left and smacking a shot past Spencer.

This was a masterful performance from Miedema who, as Arsenal stretched their legs, began to play with the Spurs players as a cat would with a barely alive mouse, diving back to force a throw deep in her own half one minute and coolly dancing around three midfielders before slipping the ball backwards, then pulling players away and out of position the next.

Caitlin Foord scores Arsenal’s sixth goal.
Caitlin Foord scores Arsenal’s sixth goal. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Montemurro said: “She can get better. She’s a person who wants to get better, she wants to challenge herself because there’s still a lot of learning and development to go. I’m enjoying working with her and having her as part of the group, and as long as Viv’s smiling we’ll keep seeing a better Viv.”

Soon it was six, Beth Mead whipping a low cross in from the right and Foord’s shot deflecting off Ashleigh Neville and in to inflict further pain on a side who have not been able to add to the single point they picked up in an opening-day draw with West Ham.

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There was a glimmer of positivity for Spurs when the substitute Lucía León went down under pressure from McCabe and was awarded a penalty but Manuela Zinsberger dived the right way to block Rianna Dean’s resulting spot-kick and Neville put the rebound over.

Shortly afterwards Spurs did have a consolation – a first goal against the Gunners in their last three attempts– that will likely do little to lift spirits after such a bruising defeat, as León headed past Zinsberger from a corner.

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