Vivianne Miedema feeling refreshed by recent break

Vivianne Miedema in action for Arsenal (John Walton/PA). (PA Wire)
Vivianne Miedema in action for Arsenal (John Walton/PA). (PA Wire)

Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema has spoken of the benefit she is feeling on the pitch after her recent break.

It emerged early last month that the Netherlands international was being granted some time off to recharge.

Returning to action just over two weeks later, she has played in Arsenal’s last three games and started and scored in the last two, a 1-1 Champions League draw at Juventus and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Everton in the Women’s Super League.

The Gunners play Juventus again on Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium and the 26-year-old told a press conference ahead of the contest regarding the break: “[It was] both [a mental and physical thing] to be honest.

“I had Covid during the Euros [in July], which I’ve not really fully recovered from. I think some people go through it with a cold, but I’ve actually been in my bed for 10 days, I had a high fever, I’ve been really sick from it, so I needed some time to recover.

“Then in the beginning of the season you kind of get through it because it’s like an auto-pilot almost in your head. Then I missed the second national period through illness again, and since then I spoke with Jonas [Eidevall, the Arsenal manager] about getting a rest against Lyon, managing my minutes.

“But I just didn’t feel mentally and physically ready to play, I think you could see that in the way I was playing. I didn’t enjoy my football at that moment and I think the moment you start not enjoying it and start waking up in the morning not wanting to go in, that’s the moment you need to make a switch.

“After speaking about it with Jonas and my national team coach Andries [Jonker] I was just really happy that they both granted me the time off and I could actually get away for two weeks.”

Miedema says she was “still training every day”, adding: “I’ve not had a pre-season after I had Covid this summer, so I used that period to actually get myself fit and I think that’s the biggest difference I feel on the pitch right now.

“I feel physically a lot fitter, I think you can see that in the games, and I think by being physically fit, then the game becomes easy again for me. I think you’ve seen that over the last two games and I hope I can at least hold that in the next four games, until Christmas.”

Miedema also said she thinks a break is something “a lot of younger players, and even also the older ones, would probably not ask for” and that “coaches from national teams and club football kind of need to be a bit more aware of it as well and sometimes probably instigate it themselves.”

Arsenal go into Wednesday’s contest with the likes of Beth Mead and Kim Little still on their injury list but having welcomed Leah Williamson and Rafaelle Souza, who had both been sidelined by foot problems, back to their matchday squad when they played Everton – with Williamson getting on as a substitute.

They top Group C with seven points, with Juventus – managed by former Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro – second on five.

Arsenal will secure quarter-final qualification on Wednesday if they beat Juventus and Lyon do not win against Zurich.