Tobin Heath hasn’t done his best since joining Arsenal but the American star proved against Wolfsburg that he is still a valuable asset to this Gunners side.
The 33-year-old came on as a 76th-minute substitute for the Emirates as Jonas Eidevall’s side chased an equalizer in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
And it was Heath who found the goods in the 89th minute –– delivering a sublime ball into the box for Lotte Wubben-Moy to drive home from close range.
Heath, who is considered one of the greatest American players of all time, signed for Arsenal at the start of this season on a free transfer, having previously played in the WSL with Man United.
Yet despite his worldwide fame, the winger has only made 14 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions.
However, that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. Heath’s impact off the bench wasn’t the first time she made a decisive impression and it may not be the last either.
GiveMeSport Woman look at the impact she’s had at Arenal so far:
Heath’s signing came as a shock to football fans, especially given his earlier exit from United earlier this summer.
It was Anita Asante who accidentally slipped the news live on Sky Sports, leaving reporters scrambling for details of Arsenal’s latest marquee capture.
The arrival of the American star came as even more of a surprise, given the plethora of options Eidevall already had at his disposal. Indeed, Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Mana Iwabuchi and Caitlin Foord are all on the books with the Gunners and all would end up in the majority of teams around the world.
But, of course, Arsenal couldn’t turn down the opportunity to sign such a big name. With 181 appearances for the United States, two World Cup winners’ medals and two Olympic gold medals, Heath would not only be a valuable addition, she would also attract fans.
The super sub effect
The majority of Heath’s appearances have come off the bench this season, but nonetheless, her sporadic cameos have seen her develop a super-sub reputation.
Against Man City, in a crucial clash with the WSL, Heath scored in the 92nd minute to salvage a point for Arsenal.
And against Wolfsburg last night, there was no other player the fans would have liked to stand on that free kick.
In total, Heath has five goals since joining the club, but almost all of them have been important in some capacity.
— WNT American Football (@USWNT) March 23, 2022
More playing time?
All of this begs the question: does Heath deserve more playing time? Based on last night’s performance, the answer is yes, but there are still members of Arsenal’s attacking contingent who cannot be let go.
The supreme Miedema is arguably the best striker in the world and just has to play, while Mead is having the best season of her career to date.
The arrival of Stina Blackstenius in January also threw another name into the equation, and it’s clear that Eidveall is a keen admirer of the Sweden international.
Still, with a crucial North London coming up on Sunday and the second leg against Wolfsburg coming less than a week later, Eidevall may well have to use the majority of his squad.
And if Heath gets a chance in one of those games and turns out to be a match winner, then Arsenal’s decision to sign her in the first place will be more justified.
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