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Arsenal Women: How Beth Mead has become integral to the Gunners this season

Beth Mead, Arsenal Women
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On both a club and international level, it is fair to say that Beth Mead’s season last year did not exactly go to plan.

Arsenal were pretty much out of the title race by December and had to fight hard to even secure the third-placed finish to offer them Champions League football. Meanwhile, Mead was dropped from the England squad by interim coach Hege Riise and was not picked for the Team GB Olympics squad either. Her attacking output at Arsenal was in decline and Riise explained that her “player report hadn’t been great”.

With Arsenal bringing in Nikita Parris, one of Mead’s direct rivals for an England spot, and World Cup winner Tobin Heath, it was hard to see where Mead might fit into new manager Jonas Eidevall’s attacking plans.

Yet it seems as if the competition has only fired her up. Mead has scored six goals and registered nine assists in only 14 games for Arsenal this season. She is currently averaging 1.6 goals and assists per 90 minutes played in the Barclays FA Women's Super League, her highest ever average. 

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And her form has not stopped there. Recalled to the England squad by new coach Sarina Wiegman, who will surely have watched her many times as a result of the Dutch contingent at Arsenal, Mead has stood out during World Cup qualification, with five goals and four assists.

No one was caught out more by Beth Mead’s rejuvenation than Chelsea on the opening day of the season. With the Barclays FA Women's Super League champions visiting the Emirates, expectations were high, and Chelsea were blown away by Mead’s movement and striking ability. Mead scored twice to give the Gunners a 3-2 win, with Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger telling Mead after the game that she didn’t know she had a left foot, in reference to Magda Eriksson’s failed attempt to stop Mead from scoring by showing her on to her left. 

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It's clear that under Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal will look to rotate more their squad than they did under Joe Montemurro, but forwards Miedema and Mead are still racking up the minutes.

Mead has been the hero for England as well this season, becoming the first English woman to score a hat-trick in a competitive fixture at Wembley. Even more astoundingly she did it only 14 minutes, coming off the bench to break the deadlock against a stubborn Northern Ireland side. 

Mead has spoken openly about how being left out of the Olympics side has given her the motivation to push on this season. Given an opportunity to have a summer rest and longer pre-season, it might also have been a blessing in disguise, seeing how quickly she has been able to start. If her good form continues, there is no way she will be missing out on the England Euro's squad. At the moment, it feels like there is no one enjoying playing football as much as Beth Mead.

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