So by the sounds of it, this international break is already starting to claim Arsenal players for its own, after Hector Bellerin was rumoured to be out for at least the next month with an ankle injury.

To be fair to the Spanish under-21 team, it does appear as though the knock was sustained during the North London Derby, but that doesn’t fit my narrative that all international breaks are concentrated moments of pure evil. So I’m still going to blame international football. 

Hector will be a massive blow to us. He’s become an absolute star in the side over the last season and a half and it says much about his stock that the multiple Arsenal WhatsApp groups were all a-whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ when news broke that he as on the verge of signing a new deal. 

There’s no doubt his absence will be sorely felt. Because of his pace, he’s become master of the ‘last ditch’ tackle, but not just on his side of the pitch, in the centre of the park too. There was one at the weekend, plus there’s the one against Chelski when Pedro was set through, as well as countless other times that my early morning hazy brain can’t quite recall. 

In Jenkinson we have a capable right back, who impressed for West Ham previously, but he isn’t a real comparison for Bellerin. He doesn’t have the pace, which is so vital for us in recovering from those situations when it looks like we’ve got a one-on-one with the ‘keeper, and he’ll have to sort out his relationship with Theo too. Hector and Theo were combining brilliantly at the start of the season and were a key factor in our success after the initial blip of Liverpool. With a new player coming in, Theo is going to have to reassess where Jenks’ strength lie and help him counteract his flaws.

Still, when he does get forward, he’s got a wicked cross on him. Maybe that’s something to take positives from. There’s also the fact that when he was given a run of games a few seasons back for us, he looked decent, I thought. If he can’t put a game or two together in the Arsenal first team, perhaps he could at least show he’s a very able deputy, until Hector returns to full fitness.

After all, it’s a squad game, etc, etc, blah, blah…

The Alexis situation, however, proves to be more vexing and potentially more harmful to us. He’s found his form as a central striker and with talk of him playing in Chile’s next game on Tuesday, I think Arsène was right to suggest the ‘suicidal‘ implications of the national team, when it comes to Alexis. 

He’s absolutely right. If you sat all parties down and said ‘would you rather he plays now and is out until January, or is spared now and can be back in two weeks?’, then the answer is obvious. But sadly the national teams don’t care. They think nothing of draining the player of every inch and then tossing him back to his club side to deal with the husk. Of course it’s the club team that then form up for medical bills, wages when not playing, plus any other associated costs. 

Of course for Chile they give even less of a sh*t because their next qualifier isn’t until March. So they could effectively break Alexis, toss him back, then by the time their next game comes along he will have recovered and played enough for them to get the best from him. Forget the welfare of the player…

I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that he won’t play against United, which means we’ll be missing at least four members of the first team squad, if you include Welbeck and Lucas Perez. That mobile front three would have been a dream for us to go up against an ailing United defensive line. But then again, we always lose at United anyway, even when their team has about 12 players missing. So I suppose I’m already managing my own disappointment. 

But let’s not end today’s blog on a wholly negative note; so here’s an article about Mesut Özil. I love that guy.

See you tomorrow.