Nacho Monreal leaving us to go back to Spain was greeted with a lot more respect and acceptance than the poor way in which Laurent Koscielny left the club earlier in the transfer window. It was seen that he’d been professional right up until the last and whilst that certainly appears to be the case, I have to admit to being a little sad at the fact that Monreal could have been an option on Sunday, but decided that he didn’t want to play or even be a part of the squad.
It’s just a small frustration, but why not, is what I want to know? What would have happened if Kolasinac had gone down with an injury? How would that have impacted us on our left hand side?
I get that he doesn’t want to risk injury before a move but if everything was done and dusted – which it sounds like it – then it wouldn’t have jeopardised the move anyway. So for me that’s a slightly sour note on a player with whom I’m sure we’ll always look on with fondness.
He’s had an interesting Arsenal career because he signed to compete with Kieran Gibbs, looked like he was nowhere near good enough at the start of his Arsenal career, but then became so silently good that before most of us realised it, he was one of the first names on the team sheet every week. He’s been a good servant and hopefully he can give Sociedad a good few years in Spain before he decides to hang up his boots.
As for other Arsenal-related news, it’s thin on the ground other than the international call ups, in which Matteo Guendouzi is one of the biggest talking point this week. Apparently he flew out to be with the Under-21s and prep for their game, only to find out that he’d been called up to the Senior team for potentially his first cap at that level. It is reward for his season last season but also the way he has started this season. There’s no doubt he was one of the best players on the pitch on Sunday and in doing it in a high-pressure game as he did, it clearly rubber-stamped a decision by Deschamps to get him in to the first team.
Of course there are plenty of older and more experienced players in the French international team set up, but this is recognition for Guendouzi that can only be a good thing for us, providing he doesn’t suffer injury over the next week and a half.
The other side of the French coin is the persist omission of Alexandre Lacazette. Player of the season for us last year, another very impressive performance against The Tiny Totts, then an overlooking at international level. From his perspective it must be frustrating but he also must be wondering what he has to do to get back in to Les Bleus set up. He’s scoring goals and putting in performances and he’s certainly better than some of the options they have right now. It’s all a bit bizarre.
Perhaps it’s because he came off on Sunday but, as we’ve subsequently heard, that was precautionary and ended up just being a bit of cramp, so surely it can’t be fitness related?
Don’t get me wrong though, as somebody who can’t really stand international football and most certainly international breaks, this is welcome news. It gives Lacazette the chance to train, regain fitness, be prepared for Watford away and be sharp without any distractions of his national team getting in the way. From an Arsenal fans perspective the fewer players we have away on international duty, the better chances we have of winning our next League game, as Emery can prepare with his troops with plenty more time than he would if they were all away.
If you gave me the choice I’d have all of our players avoiding international breaks, but I guess it can be a double-edged sword, because potentially it could affect some players confidence. Especially if they’ve been in the team before but aren’t getting call ups any more. I don’t think that will be the case with Lacazette but I guess you never know.
There’s also the confidence side of playing for your country. Guendouzi should come back brimming with it and the hope from an Arsenal fans perspective is that it rubs off on his performances for us in a red and white (or yellow and navy) shirt.
We shall just have to wait and see on that one.
And with that still knocking around in my mind – and perhaps yours too now – I’ll take my leave and see thee in the morrow.