Vivianne Miedema exclusive: Arsenal let standards slip – now we are moving in the right direction

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Miedema, 25, is more confident than ever in that regard – both on and off the pitch. Eidevall’s arrival has ushered in a new era at Arsenal where they are finally the team being chased again after a couple of years languishing in third place. Currently leading the WSL, thanks in part to five goals from Miedema, on Sunday they will be vying for their first silverware since they won the league title in 2018, during Miedema’s second season in north London.

The new high standards, Miedema explains, comes in part from the increased support the women’s team is getting behind the scenes. “Arsenal has always been *the* club in England, I think the club has kind of let that slip over the last decade,” she says bluntly. “I’m happy to say that they definitely are moving into the right direction again.”

The women’s team are training more consistently at the club’s Colney ground where the men are based, and there was a recent internal review which saw increased investment in the women’s backroom staffing. It is a good start, Miedema says, but she is not shy about voicing her opinion on how the previously looser standards troubled her. “Out of the blue we won the league [in 2018] and I don’t think the club was ready. The last two years, we held on to us winning the title, but we should have made the next step.”

She says the club ambitions have improved, for now, after being convinced by conversations with “the big bosses” like Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham. “That’s one of the great shifts we’ve had over the last six to 12 months, that the connection with people higher up in the club has been really good. They’ve been able to connect with us, listen to us and improve things directly. If people want to have a strong opinion, they know they need to come to me.”

She laughs then, and says her outspokenness – and matter-of-fact honesty – is something she has developed over time. “Being Dutch, growing up in the north of Holland where nobody agrees with anything, you develop your own opinion. Sometimes I get in s—, and say stupid things and think after ‘Viv, you didn’t think that through, what the f— are you doing, but you learn along the way. I won’t stop doing that. It won’t make me the most popular player out there but it’s very needed.”

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