Vivianne Miedema: Shots analysis

Yesterday, I wrote an analysis on Pernille Harder’s season with Chelsea in the WSL 2020-2021. I’ve really enjoyed writing that one and analysing the number as I’m less biased when it come to Women’s football and that’s why I’m analysing a player from the WSL again. In this article I will focus on Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema.

This might not come as a shock, because I live in the Netherlands and tend to look more for these players – but Miedema has been a very prolific goalscorer in the WSL and genuinely is one of the greats in the league. My analysis will focus on one part of her attacking game and it has all to the shooting of Miedema in 2020-2021.

The Dutch striker is instrumental to Arsenal’s attacking output. The data and video footage come from Wyscout.

Data analysis

In the data that I’m using all players that have in the striker position in the Women’s Super League, 2020-2021 have been included. The reason is that Wysocut has set this as such, so that’s how I’ve taken it on. I’ve filtered them for >900 minutes played, as that’s enough, in my opinion, to make a good judgment on their data performances in the league. In the data, all players are included who have played on the striker’s position, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be their dominant position.

This leaves me with a total of 27 players to look at in data analysis. The data and video has been retrieved on May 6th, 2021.

In the scatterplot above we can see the metrics shots per 90 and shots on target % combined. It tells us how many shots are conducted per 90 and how well these shots are places – are they on target or not? The volume of shots alone does not tell us enough. If the percentage of shots on target is higher, it’s more likely to generate more xG and a higher chance of scoring a goal. Because, if you don’t have a shot on target, you are never going to score – provided that you don’t count deflections.

As we see in the scatterplot, Miedema has 4,58 shots per 90 in the WSL this season with shots on target percentage of 46,88%. As seen in the image, you can see that she has the most shots per 90 minutes in the WSL. In terms of percentages on target, she is not the best – Walker, Kaagman, Leon, Kerr, Foord, Hayles and Kirby all score higher than Miedema.

In the scatterplot above we can see the metrics expected goal per 90 and goals per 90. It tells us how big the probability of a shot being converted into a goal is and the actual goals being scored per 90. We can assess how high the quality of a shot is and how likely it is that that particular shot will end up in a goal.

Miedema has an xG of 0,77 per 90 minutes with 0,86 goals scored per 90 minutes. This means that Miedema scores more goals than would be expected on the quality of chances and shots. She overperforms her expected goals. Only Kerr has a higher xG than Miedema. In terms of actual goals scored she is up there as well, but Kirby and Kerr score more goals per 90 than Miedema.

In the graph below you can see the percentile ranks of Miedema compared to the 27 players in my database. This shows in which percentile she is for every metric that belongs to the shooting side of the game.

As you can see in the graph, Miedema is really good. She scores excellent in all the metrics against the players in his position who have played more than 900 minutes. Except for the head goals per 90 metrics, because she hasn’t scored with her head this season. Bar that, she ranks above the 70th percentile in every shooting rank looked at.

This can also be seen in the beeswarmplot below. This visual shows us the same information, but the visual is slightly different as it visually shows us where the players are in terms of the metric and shows us how far ahead Miedema actually is – or isn’t.

As last data comparison I wanted to see how well Miedema is doing in the metrics shots per 90 and xG per 90. Well, we have seen that above – but I wanted to see how well she does in comparison to the league leaders, Chelsea, and the strikers employed by Chelsea.

As we can see in the image above both Miedema and the Chelsea players score very high in these particular metrics. In terms of number of shots, Miedema has the most shots. In terms of xG generated per 90 minutes, she scores higher than Kirby, England and Harder – but Kerr scores higher in this metric.

Shot locations

The shootings stats in itself show us the amount of shots or type of shots or anything data related to the shots. Miedema does very well in those terms, but in the next part of the analysis we want to look at where the shots actually came from and what that does tell about the position Miedema attempts to score a goal. Does she generate her xG from a few big chances? Or does she accumulate her xG by shooting a lot low probable chances?

Vivianne Miedema has scored 18 goals in the WSL 2020-2021 so far and had 96 shots in total. That is a goal conversion rate of 18,75%. From those 96 shots, 46,9% went on target. In the visual above you can see the shot locations of every shot attempted in the current season. In red you see the goals. While there are 18 goals, there are 15 dots represented as some goals have come from an almost identical position.

What we can conclude from this visual is that the majority of the goals are scored from the right side and the favourite area is the six-yard box. Many shots have been taken inside the penalty area, but the conversion is not fantastic from these positions.

In the visual above we see the four most common shot clusters of Miedema in the WSL 2020-2021 season. Cluster 2 is orange and is the most frequent shot cluster with 32 shots. Cluster 0 is yellow and comes second with 24 shots. Cluster 1 is blue and comes third with 20 shots, and cluster 3 is green with 12 shots. There are 6 shots not portrayed as they have the same x-y location as others.

Video analysis

In the last part of this shot analysis I will look at five of Miedema’s goal which shows different skill in each of the goals, and therefore shows the quality she has in this WSL season.

In the video above you can Arsenal in their game against West Ham United. Miedema gets the ball from a throw in and makes a run sidewards to the penalty area to get herself in a good position to shoot. She doesn’t only focus on where the goal, but is able to fight her direct opponent off and shoot with her left foot. A powerful shot turning away from the keeper to score this decent goal.

In the video above you see the game from Arsenal against Tottenham, when Arsenal is taking a corner from the left. What I like about this particular goal is how Miedema loses her marker and volleys the ball with her left foot towards the far post. Exceptional display of technqiue.

In the video above we see Arsneal in their game against Birmingham City. This is goal is quite similar to the goal against West Ham, but this starts on the left wing. Miedema gets the ball, makes room to progress and is strong enough to hold her direct opponent off. In the end she shoots with her right foot and the ball is to powerful for the goalkeeper.

In the video above we see Arsenal in their game against Manchester City. Arsenal presses the Manchester City defence and forces them to make a mistake. Miedema can intercept the ball on the edge of the penalty area and as a result shoot on target. The shot to the far post with her right football curls towards goal and is low, which makes it difficult for the goalkeeper: goal.

In the video above you see Arsenal in another game against Tottenham. Miedema gets the ball in the middle third and dribbles past a few players before passing it too Van de Donk. She passes it forward in the open space for Miedema to run after, and in the end Miedema scores a decent goal with her left foot after a brilliant movement by both Van de Donk and Miedema.

Final thoughts

Miedema is a big player in the WSL and rightly so. It’s a bit too much to call her a killer in front of the goal, but she created many chances for herself and scores a great number of goals per season. She has been instrumental to Arsenal’s run to qualify for the Champions League and therefore still is very important.

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