As if there wasn’t enough of a reason for me to hate international football as it already is, yesterday we were all dealt news that further compounds my detestation of the pointlessness of the international game during the domestic and European season, with the confirmation that Kieran Tierney has been told to self isolate for 14 days. It means he will miss the game at Man City and now we can categorically say that pointless international friendlies and matches are actively hampering Arsenal and our ambitions for the season.
He was sharing a room with fellow Scottish teammate Stuart Armstrong and with the news that he has contracted COVID-19, Tierney now has to self isolate for 14 days from Tuesday this week. That means he can get back to playing and training from Tuesday 20th October, a few days after we have played Man City. It means we have one of our important players taken away from us, and for what, exactly? So he can play in a mid season qualifiers against Israel, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Why on earth, when we are in a period where countries are locking down to avoid the spread of this virus, are these international matches being played? What possible benefit in a season in which everything has been condensed, does this nonsensical round of friendlies and UEFA effin’ Nations League stupidity, have? It is just more needless games and now as opposed to the very real worry of injury to contend with, we also now need to pray that players don’t accidentally contract the virus from somebody they share a hotel with.
This is ludicrous. If the international teams, FIFA and UEFA want to play these tournaments, then leave all of the qualifying until the end of the season. Use the condensed season to bring forward the end of season and then have less games and do a series of matches that lead to the Euro’s or World Cup at the end. Like a proper league that has qualification. Like we do domestically. The international teams probably wouldn’t like that because the players are tired and fatigued after a long league season but do you know what? Tough sh*t. You don’t pay the wages of players. All you do is give us back broken remains for clubs like Arsenal to continue to pay for a player with whom we then cannot use.
I’ve been sick of international windows for a long time, but this just gives me even more reason to hate them. England have three games (one of which is a friendly against Wales tonight!), then they play a month later in another useless friendly just a month later. What is this nonsense? Couldn’t the football authorities get together and realise that international football just has to take a back seat at this pressing time?
It is so frustrating and I bet Mikel was proper p*ssed off when the call came in. “Err, hello? Mr Arteta? Yes, sorry, Kieran has to self isolate. No, no, he hasn’t tested positive, but he’s been in close contact with somebody who has, so here you go, you can have the player back now, because we can’t use him”.
The other frustration I have is that Tierney has tested negative but because he was in close proximity with somebody who did test positive, he has to isolate. So why aren’t the whole Liverpool team in self isolation because of Sadio Mane? I’m not saying I want that to happen, but rather that I just don’t understand the rules because it is the same scenario between Tierney and Armstrong, as it is with Mane and one of his Liverpool colleagues, for example.
This is all just a mess. It is a mess that is entirely avoidable and after the Mane thing and the Tierney situation, it feels to me only a matter of time before a team somewhere gets a mass break out. Then what happens. Orient forfeited a Carabao Cup game to the scum as a result of contractions. But are you telling me if Liverpool, United, Chelski, Tottenham, Arsenal, Leicester, etc, had a break out, the league would just award three points to the team they were playing the next week? Of course they wouldn’t because it would make a mockery of the competition. Something needs to be done and for me that solution is clear; bin off international games and in reality we should probably find a way of putting off the European ties. Or at least condensing them into a window of time.
Anyway, back to more positive stuff, which is that Eddie Nketiah bagged himself another goal for the under-21s last night, taking him to the joint top of the charts of all time scorers along with Francis Jeffers and Alan Shearer. I have to say I am liking the frequency with which Nketiah is bagging goals this season. One against West Ham, one against Leicester, plus these goals in the under-21s. Whilst I care less about the under-21s because you know, internationals and that, I am pleased that he will be keeping his confidence topped up because we are going to need him this season. But also if he can chip in between10 – 15 goals for Arsenal in all competitions, that could be massive for us. He’s got two and if he gets another eight this season, coupled with Lacazette and Aubameyang all sharing the goals, it makes us a little less reliant on one man and that can only be a good thing. It was mental how reliant we were last season and so to get people like Edie popping up and bagging himself goals will only help our chances of hitting our aspirations.
That’s pretty much all i’ve got for today. I don’t think I can be bothered to talk about Ozil’s omission from the Europa League squad. It’s been done to death. Have a good one and I’ll catch you tomorrow.