Morning folks. Holy moly it’s colder than an emperor penguin gathering point in London today. Well, it’s actually only about four degrees but when you add a biting bit of wind to it and the fact I’m on the tube at 6.30am in the morning, it all adds up to a general feeling of discomfort.
Discomfort. That’s how I’d describe my feelings towards international breaks and despite the fact I was feeling rather chipper yesterday, today just feels like the weekend’s action against Bournemouth is a lifetime away. We’ve still got some games going on in various tournaments and yesterday Germany played The Netherlands in a game in which five years ago we’d probably have seen the German team populated with mostly Arsenal players, so to see just one guy who used to have an association with us (Gnabry) is a little weird for me. Especially given that I have German heritage that enabled me to adopt them as my second country. Fat lot of good it did me during the World Cup though…
Guendouzi does play for us and yesterday he got some minutes for the under-21s, which would have been nice for him, but I do wonder how close he is to the French senior side for a call up. He’s got a fair few players in front of him in the shape of the likes of Kante, Matuidi, Rabiot, Tolisso and Payet to say the least, so France are quite stocked at the moment. It means our mop haired cultured midfielder might just have to bide his time before he gets his chance but that is no major problem when you think about it.
Guendouzi has had a fantastic start to his Arsenal career so far but he and we need to all keep our feet on the ground over the fella. His passing range is delicious, his quick movement of the ball helps to set the tempo of our game and he’s also got a bit of a temper on him, all of which is positive. But he still gets bundled off the ball occasionally and he has the odd lapse of judgement still, all of which you’d expect from a 19-year-old, so it’s not a stick to beat him with but more an understanding that he is just at the beginning of his football career. Everything is out in front of him and his progression and elevation to be one of the best in the business at what he does is there for all to see.
But giving footballers everything on a plate early on can be dangerous. Just look at the praise heaped on Ravel Morrison. A star at youth level at United and tipped to do great things. West Ham snapped up on a free transfer thinking they’d found themselves a gem but the player had attitude issues and believed his own hype. He’s now at a club called Atlas in Mexico, a far cry from Manchester United and an example that if you are too invested in the talk about you at an early age, you could find yourself out of the limelight in no time at all.
I think Guendouzi could be at the heart of our midfield for many years and if we manage to keep hold of Torreira for a decent length of time then I’d expect the two of them to forge one heck of a partnership. The Uruguayan is in action tonight against France and I suspect he’ll be starting, with an interesting comparison to be made between him and Kante. Both are engines that can cover ground, are tenacious footballers who snap in to tackles and break up play, both look to be key parts of our midfield. If Torreira can have the same impact Kante has had for both Leicester and Chelski though, then we’ll all be quids in from an Arsenal perspective, that’s for sure.
We just have to hope that he doesn’t end up broken as a result of one of these friendlies. He seemed to navigate Brazil ok, so it’s just France that we have to hope he can come through unscathed, because we’re going to need him on Sunday against Bournemouth.
It’s quite amazing just how quickly he’s become a vital part of our team. Especially when you think that he wasn’t starting the season in the team and had to be gradually bought in to the starting line up.
He’s just bought so much more comfort from an fans perspective. Last season when the ball turned over and we were caught higher up the pitch, you just knew we were done for. You knew we didn’t have the midfielders with the pace or wherewithal to get back and then even win the ball back. Xhaka and Ramsey just didn’t do it like Torreira does now. But with him in the side there is at least that hope when we’re caught with too many players beyond the ball that we have somebody who can scramble back and win us possession with which to start another attack.
It’s what we’ve been crying out for years about and now that we’ve found him I hope the club can agree a nice ten year extension to his contract! If that could get that sorted by the summer that would be great…
Anyhoo, that’s it from me to you, so have yourself a good Tuesday, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.