We’re still stuck here. Stuck in the midsts of an international break and this right now is the worst possible part of it. In the first week of these dreaded things, there are a few Arsenal-related bits to chew on, but also the weekend as a distraction, but by the time the Monday hits us we’re still mired in it and the Arsenal news has started to dry up. Plus we know there’s at least another three days before people start talking about the Premier League again.
Hearing that Gibbs and Monreal have been drafted in for their respective countries is just about all the Arsenal news it feels like there is at the moment. But that’s hardly news to us, representing only that their risk factor from potentially playing and getting injured has just gone up somewhat. It would be a very ‘Arsenal’ thing to hear that both left backs play for their respective national teams this week and both get injured, wouldn’t it? Thankfully Nacho played last night for the full 90 and Although I didn’t see any of the game, it seems like he’s come through it well, so there’s reason to be cheerful.
Still Chris, focus on the positives, which are that both players will be feeling rather chipper about being called up for Spain and England and hopefully that morale boost can help them when they come back home.
And whilst we’re on the topic of morale boosters – plus we still have nothing else to discuss other than international football – let’s have a hand for Alex Iwobi, who scored for Nigeria yesterday. Good on the boy. He’s a player of an age where you think that international football will be useful for him. The more games he plays, the better he’ll get, so if he’s bagging goals for his national team then that can only be good for us. He looked a little leggy against Burnley – well, more leggy than usual! – and I didn’t think he played that great, so if he’s been able to get another confidence booster with the national team, it’ll put any kind of poor performance against Burnley behind him.
I suspect we’ll need him at the weekend against Swansea, because Alexis plays on Wednesday night against Peru and he probably won’t get back in the UK until Friday, so the idea that he’ll be firing on all cylinders for a 3pm kick off on Saturday seems fanciful to me. Of course he’ll want to play and of course he’d probably run a half-marathon before the match to prove it to Arsène, but this is where the manager needs to think long and hard about his squad rotation. Neither you or I want to see Alexis burned out by November and last year he picked up an injury, possibly because of his lack of rest time, so a game at home against Swansea could be the right moment to shuffle the pack a little bit. After all, that’s why Arsène has assembled a big squad, so he can keep his players fresh. So my hope for next weekend is that we see a sensible level of rotation on those players who could be deemed as more ‘high risk’.
By tomorrow morning we’ll have found out how Koscielny, Xhaka, Özil and Hector have all faired. Let’s just hope that they all come through without any issues.
And that, my friends, is me done for the day. I shall see thee in the morrow.