I watched about 15 minutes of the England game yesterday – enough to see Shaw score for England – before flicking over and watching something else whilst I was cooking. I’m sorry but I just cannot get in to international football until there are the big international competitions and even then I probably only watch about 25 – 30% of them. I cannot bring myself to fully get behind a team led by Harry Kane. I just can’t.

What I’m interested in is how many of our players survived the first round of these annoying internationals. It looks as though Emile Smith Rowe has picked up a knock and whilst Southgate described it as ‘nothing too serious’, you have to worry about whether he’ll be back for next weekend. We need him to be back. He’s found quite a few niggly injuries this side of Christmas and in 2022 and it does feel as though it’s hampered him a bit. The weird thing about ESR is that when he does come back in to the team after injury or illness, he tends to do quite well, like he did against Villa, so my hope is that he at least is back training with England and if he doesn’t play in midweek against the Ivory Coast, but is back for Palace, then it’s a ‘win-win’ for us – providing he is fully fit.

The other news I was looking for from that particular game was the performances of White and Xhaka. For White he looked like he got caught underneath the flight of the ball for Switzerland’s goal and he’ll probably be a little disappointed with that, but I am tempering any judgement by the fact that he is playing with a very different calibre of teammate and style in the England set up. No Gabriel, no Ramsdale, no Arteta barking precise instructions to every play; it’s no wonder he didn’t manage to have the best of games! On the opposition side it sounds as though Xhaka had a good game and pleasingly he played the full 90 minutes, which means no injury for him. To be fair to him he’s quite a robust player (don’t worry, I’m touching the wood surface of the desk in my office as I type this!) and so rather than get irritated that he hasn’t come off and been rested, with somebody like Xhaka 90 minutes is fine and hopefully he can get through their midweek friendly and return to London Colney unscathed.

Elsewhere Cedric was an unused sub on Thursday evening and Odegaard played the full 90 on Friday, scoring in the 80th minute. I have to say I’m liking the fact he’s getting in the goals for club and country; it only bodes well for us in terms of his form and as long as he avoids a knock in the home friendly against Armenia on Tuesday, then that can only be good for us as he continues to grow in confidence. Martinelli too will be delighted to make his Brazilian debut against Chile as they won 4-0. He played the last 15 minutes and whilst he apparently didn’t shine, the upside is that he’ll take confidence from getting that first cap and hopefully he can come back to Arsenal with a big smile on his face and even more drive in his play.

The rest of the players remain resting at home and that hopefully means returns for Tomiyasu – who appears to be fit and training now by some of the rumours I’ve seen online – as well as Gabriel, who is with his wife for the birth of their daughter. I suspect that will mean one or two sleepless nights with a new born, but with Gabriel staying in the UK it means less flying time, less travelling time, he’ll be able to train with those back at London Colney and hopefully be up and ready to go at Palace on Monday.

So all in all, barring some kind of mega injury crisis that happens in the next few days, we have a fair few players who hopefully will get a bit of rest ahead of the Palace clash next Monday. My hope is that it serves the team well because I’m focused on that Palace game and if we can somehow get a win there, it will set us up amazingly for the subsequent run of games before we get to ‘DeathWeek 2’ in which we play three times in six days – AGAIN – against some really tough opposition.

I think i’ll keep it short and sweet today. I don’t really want to talk about those links to that Benfica forward just yet – we’ll have all summer to get irate over signings happening/not happening – so I’ll bid you all a happy Sunday and hope you enjoy yours. It’s MOthering Sunday today so I have the in laws over for roast goose. Yum.

Catch you all tomorrow.