This is the worst part of the international break. It really is – as Arseblog puts it – the ‘Interlull’. Eng-ger-land might have played yesterday, Harry Kane might have got himself another individual accolade in a team sport (well done Harry, hope you keep up your record in cup competitions too), but frankly I couldn’t give a monkey’s gonad. International football outside of the tournaments is in an inconvenience that we could all do without.
Especially at this time of the season when things are reaching crunch point. The only thing that is remotely worth looking at when it comes to international football, is whether or not your players come out of it unscathed. I have no idea through actually watching any of the games, as I went bowling with work instead, but it sounds as though Ramsdale didn’t play and so was fine, as well as Jorginho and Saka. So far so good. Then Partey apparently notched up the full 90 minutes so you’d have to assume he’s ok too. The next volley of Arsenal players putting themselves on the line for a worthless set of internationals tonight is Leandro Trossard for Belgium and Jakub Kiwior for Poland. Hopefully round two of ‘pray for Arsenal players’ is as successful as round one. Then tomorrow it’ll be Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith Rowe (under-21s), Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard we have to worry about for round three, before it all starts again on Sunday with Ramsdale, Saka and Zinchenko as England play Ukraine, as well as Jorginho for Italy.
So by the time Monday comes around we’ll know about most of our lads and what the initial damage report is. Thankfully, mercifully, none of our Brazilian lads have been called up to the Selecao which whilst certainly baffling, is definitely welcome from an Arsenal perspective. It means that if Saliba can shake off his back injury during this break, we’ll have White, Saliba, Gabriel, Martinelli and Gabby Jesus who have all been at London Colney getting themselves ready for that Leeds game and the next ten game run in that we have. That’s pretty fortunate and, dare I say it, rather good for us. Man City have had 20 players called up to international duty and of those players, every single one and more that is a regular for Pep will get game time. My hope is that it all adds to the overall fatigue and possibility that we might gain some kind of advantage in the next ten games, because my gut feel is that we have a harder run in, are not as experienced in a title race and even though we are eight points clear, City are still favourites given their run in. So I’m looking for any kind of signs of hope that we have an advantage over them and with us only in one competition between now and the end of the season and them being in three, that it will impact them somehow in the coming weeks.
So if that means I am clutching at straws looking for things that aren’t there, or won’t make a blind bit of difference like all of Man City’s starting XI playing twice in this international break, whereas we have six of our starting XI (assuming Saliba returns ok) who have sat out the break, then I’m a-ok with that.
Just hope that the players out there for their countries come back in one piece. It’s all very well looking for these small details as possible advantages for us, but if we lose Saka, Odegaard and Partey in the next five days through injury, then the point is moot.
Other than that there’s not really a lot going on in the world of The Arsenal. The news is light on the ground and I’m kind of glad to be taking a bit of a rest from the stresses of worrying about the next match. I mentioned the other day about how I go through the whole whirlwind of emotions from the start of the week to the end of the week, so to get to Friday and not have to worry about it is, well, quite nice actually. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to getting to the ground next Saturday for the Leeds game, but this little respite is good for me and my stress levels, I think! I also think I might lay off the booze this weekend; maybe have a football and alcohol detox for a bit. After all, when it all starts up again, no doubt I’ll want that anaesthetic to numb some of the worries I have ahead of each game!
Right, that’s it from me today, so I’ll take my leave. But before I do, I’ll point you in the direction of the podcast Amanda did with some global fans yesterday on the Same Old Arsenal pod. It’s great to get some global fan perspectives from people from all over the world and so this is defo worth a listen if you’ve got a bit of time.
Catch you all tomorrow.