Vivianne Miedema: What makes her so prolific in front of goal?

Vivianne Miedema: What makes her so prolific in front of goal?

Five times FIFA Women's World Player of the Year and England record breaker Kelly Smith joins FA Women's National Coach Developers Mark Swales and Kelsey Byrne to discuss just what makes Vivivanne Miedema so prolific in front of goal. 

With the Women’s World Cup now underway we will see many of the top WSL talents in action including Sam Kerr for Australia, Stina Blackstenius for Sweden, and of course our very own Lionesses.  Due to an ACL rupture back in December however, one key player we won’t have the privilege of watching is Arsenal and the Netherland’s Vivianne Miedema.  Being the first player to reach over 100 goal involvements in the WSL (78 goals and 34 assists) her goal scoring prowess will be sorely missed by the Orange Lionesses.

So, what makes Miedema so prolific?

In this clip Kelly highlights the different types of movements Miedema makes and how the freedom of her role at Arsenal allows her to not just be a number nine, but to also drop into space to receive as a ten or move out to wide areas.  This makes it difficult for defenders to mark and gives her the opportunity to receive in various ways to be skillful, either through staying on the ball, or combining with team-mates.  Both skills are demonstrated in the same video when Kelly analyses her goal against Tottenham Hotspur.

How does she use her body to manipulate defenders and create space for a shot?

In this video example against West Ham we explore Miedema’s ability to scan and feel where the defender is, and where there might be space to exploit.  Recognising the defender is on her left shoulder provides her with the space to turn and create space for the shot.  A skill we have seen Kelly skilfully perform herself many times.

What advice does Kelly have for coaches working with younger players?

The FIFA Women’s World Cup gives us a great opportunity to watch players performing at the top level of the game.  Besides spending as much time on the ball as much as possible Kelly recommends coaches encourage their players to become students of the game by watching games and players to better develop their understanding of how to make better decisions on the pitch.  And most importantly “having fun is key!”

Considerations for coaches

  • With technical development key for producing skilful players, how do you encourage your players to stay on the ball?
  • Think about how you can use the FIFA Women's World Cup as inspiration for your players
  • Ensure your sessions are challenging, but most importantly fun for your players