Vivianne Miedema (right) and Beth Mead both continued their comebacks from ACL injuries as Arsenal won at Bristol City in the WSL
Arsenal matchwinner Katie McCabe called Vivianne Miedema’s return “special” after the striker returned from 11 months out injured as a late substitute in the Gunners’ Women’s Super League win at Bristol City.
Netherlands international Miedema, 27, had surgery after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament against Lyon in the Champions League in December 2022, missing the rest of the WSL season and the Women’s World Cup in July and August.
“She’s worked so hard over the last few months,” McCabe told Sky Sports after scoring both of Arsenal’s goals in their 2-1 win, with Miedema making an emotional comeback during second-half added time.
“It was a really special moment for Viv.”
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England forward Beth Mead, who suffered the same injury less than a month before Miedema, made her second successive appearance following her return to full training as a substitute at Ashton Gate.
“To have them both back within a week of each other is so special for the team,” said Republic of Ireland captain McCabe.
“I said to her at the end that I thought it was going to be a trademark Viv special, because she slotted Beth in.
“I thought Beth was going to finish it off and it was going to be written in the stars.
“I’m sure we’ll see that combination coming up in the next few weeks.”
Arsenal struggled for attacking inspiration as the team considered title contenders before the start of the campaign took one point from their opening two games.
Jonas Eidevall’s side also fell behind to Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium in their second home game before scoring in the 92nd and 94th minutes to rescue victory, with Mead setting up Lionesses team-mate Alessia Russo’s dramatic winner.
“It’s such a joyful moment,” said Eidevall. “I am very happy for players that have been out for a long time, working so hard and now being able to come back to us on the pitch.
“When we can combine that with winning football matches, we are even happier.”
‘Miedema could be catalyst’
Former Tottenham captain Jenna Schillaci described Miedema – the all-time WSL top scorer with 74 goals – as “a massive player”.
“Last week Beth Mead came back, this week Vivianne Miedema,” said Schillaci.
“It is really positive and exciting in terms of the attacking threats that Arsenal have. They just keep dripping back into the team.”
Ex-England regular Izzy Christiansen said forward Miedema would provide “creativity, craft and class”.
“That could be the difference and the catalyst for Arsenal now,” Christiansen said of Miedema and Mead’s understanding.
“It’s finding those relationships on the pitch which seem to be somewhat lacking for Arsenal so far – so it’s a big, big plus for them.”
Arsenal’s first game after the international break is at home to leaders Manchester City, who they trail by three points, on 5 November.
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