Morning Gooners and welcome to Friday – hope we’re all feeling grand? In the UK it has somewhat unexpectantly become a bank holiday this weekend because of the Queen’s funeral, which means I’m up north visiting the in-laws, looking out on to a crystal clear Northumbrian morning as I type today. It’s quite peaceful.
I hope that plenty of Arsenal players get a peaceful time after this weekend too, because the international squads have been announced over the last couple of days and there are some Arsenal players who will not be travelling with their respective nations. The Brazilian Gabby’s aren’t going, as is Ben White, with the likes of Maguire, Coady and Dier preferred to our versatile defender. There’s a few people on social media that can’t believe that, but personally I say “happy days”, because with situations like this it is only upside for Arsenal fans. I have no love for internationals unless it is a major tournament and so in this instance the thought that he is going to be able to rest up ahead of the North London Derby is a-ok with me. Likewise the Brazilians too, with none of them needing to travel to South America or anywhere on the planet for Brazil meaning that they will hopefully be fully primed and ready to ‘bang’ on that North London Derby in a few weeks time.
I think a lot of other players are going with their national squads, although I did read something from Mikel Arteta from before the Zurich game where he talked about how it will be important to protect Saka, in terms of not over using him. He’s in line to play in this latest round of international matches along with Ramsdale and I suspect our ‘keeper might get the nod given that Henderson and Pope are the other options. I’m clearly biased but Ramsdale is a better ‘keeper than those two so I suspect he’ll play and whilst I’m not fussed about him getting a cap, if it gives him confidence and more belief than he already has, then I’m all for it. As a ‘keeper it’s not like he will suffer from any fatigue from playing anyway. It’s not the same for Saka and I hope he’s wrapped up in cotton wool over the international break, but I’d be surprised if Southgate does that.
I think some of the other players who will be on duty will be Tomiyasu – who thankfully only travels to Germany as Japan play the USA and Ecuador in Dusseldorf – as well as Saliba for France, Tierney for Scotland and I suspect Zinchenko for Ukraine, who play each other in Scotland over the period. It means less travelling I guess so that’s good news. Partey will be off to Ghana and Odegaard off to Norway, but I think I’m right in saying it is the African who will be travelling the furthest. I just hope Ghana are sensible with him; if he plays this weekend it’ll be the first time in just under a month and I suspect he’ll be a little rusty. Hopefully the Ghanaian manager recognises his lack of time and uses him sparingly.
There’s a nice little read from Ben White on the official site – here – that I quite enjoyed reading. The All or Nothing documentary gave us much more from a ‘learning about the humans’ perspective I thought, rather than re-living the season and if I’m completely honest I kind of fast forwarded on the game based stuff, but learning about these young guys and their personalities was interesting. That’s why this article is interesting because it also underlines that as a person these guys change. White talking in the article about how he hasn’t changed from a football perspective, but a personal perspective is fascinating and you start to realise how settling in takes time for people. Some adapt to life at a club instantly; just look at Gabriel Jesus and how he has bedded in. But for some people it takes time. Even if you don’t see it as much on the pitch, it is still happening off it, so to hear him talk about that adaptation in a way is quite heartening. That’s because it is another bit of information for us to hear that there are a lot of things different from last season. Yes, we’ve changed personnel, but what I found interesting about this article is that he’s also talking about how the attitude has changed in the players. We can all see that something has been different about this Arsenal team and how the mentality so far has felt a lot more focused, but then when you hear it from the players, it gives me as a fan a little more confidence that hopefully we can sustain the current good form.
Of course it could all come crashing down and as we saw a couple of season’s ago when you’re in a negative spiral of defeats it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when confidence spirals. Likewise that confidence can drain away after a couple of defeats, but at this moment in time, having play the way we’ve played so far this season, I think we as Arsenal fans are entitled to be happy with where we are at. What the players have been doing on the pitch feels repeatable, it feels like we can apply it for the whole season, it feels sustainable. It is just up to those Arsenal players to keep it going by putting in those performances every single week and proving that the start to the season wasn’t just a nice little mini series for us Arsenal fans to enjoy.
There will be a press conference for Mikel later today I suspect and we’ll get an update on team news. I guess the biggest news is Partey’s availability, but also to make sure we haven’t got any unexpected knocks just yet, so we’ll have to wait in eager anticipation to see what Mikel says about the team ahead of the trip to Brentford on Sunday afternoon.
That’s it from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with the usual Saturday ramblings following the press conference. Catch you all then.