Hello again, fellow Gooners, welcome to Friday! Normally I’d be talking about how I’m excited for the football this weekend, but as we both know that is not the case, with us instead crossing everything that we get our players returning in one piece and not just the shattered remains of players handed back to us in a jiffy bag where their national team manager has ragged them in some meaningless friendly in the arse end of nowhere.

Of course Erling Haaland was an unused substitute as Norway played Jordan, whereas Martin Odegaard played 62 minutes last night because, you know, why wouldn’t you give the Man City player a full rest and select the Arsenal play to play two thirds of a game, eh? Just come back to us in one piece after the Georgia game on Tuesday night, will ya, Martin?

Saliba played just the last 20 or so minutes for France and seems ok,  Kiwior played left back for Poland and got the full 90,

Tomorrow it’ll be Kai and Takehiro who will be subject to the hand wringing and worry and although I am less concerned about Kai (not because of his form but just that he’s a bit more robust), I can’t say the same for Tomi. We’ve seen him pick up far too many injuries in his short time at the club and so going away on international duty always makes me feel a little worried. However, at least he isn’t travelling across the globe to Japan; the match is played in Germany tomorrow and so it’ll be a shorter plane journey than he is used to, which is a little bonus I guess. David Raya is in the Spain squad for tonight too, although that again is less of a concern when you are talking about a ‘keeper. We’ve got the Gabby’s who will play tomorrow, as well as Trossard for Belgium and Zinchenko for Ukraine against England, who will no doubt play Saka for the whole time, before then playing him again on Tuesday when England play Scotland. My hope is that we see Eddie though; it will be a great reward for him given his form and a recognition of how well he’s played this season. Let’s hope he gets some minutes and then comes back with even more of a spring in his step.

It looks like all of the games are done by Tuesday, so we all have to collectively hold our breaths until then.

In other news though, the accolades keep on coming, eh? Now we have Saka nominated for the goal of the month competition for August against Forest on the opening weekend, as well as Arteta being up for manager of the month. I always find this first one a little weird because the month really only starts halfway through so it feels like a bit of a hollow one, but in terms of keeping the good vibes for the club, we should just roll with it. Saka’s goal was an absolute peach though. I’ve watched all of the goals and I’m putting Saka’s as one of the top three; maybe the Mitoma one, but Diaz, Sterling and Bowen aren’t as good I don’t think. Maybe that Brentford goal is worthy. But hopefully if it’s down to a public vote…well…we all know the clout the Arsenal online world has. We’ll all enter any competition online to make sure our boys are recognised.

Whether or Arteta pips Pep to the manager gong I’d be surprised. Had we have sneaked past Fulham then he might be in with a shout, but City have a flawless record and a bunch of goals to go with it, so I suspect it’ll go to the Manc-based Spaniard.

There’s not really a lot else on, but I did find this interview with Trossard quite heartening to read, I have to say. He recognises that to be at a team at the top of the league fighting for honours you need to be prepared to bide your time and take your chances. He himself talks about there being a game every three days and I think there are a few players who just have to be patient at the moment. Arteta referenced it recently too, because it’s been difficult to fit in everybody when there has just been one game a week. But post this international break we go in to football all the time territory and so I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more rotation happen. The one thing I will say has been good about Arteta is that it feels like every season he has learned something. Last season he played pretty much his first team at every opportunity and by the end we had fallen short. This season it feels like he’s trying to mix it up a bit and the hope is that it results in us being more ready for when it gets to that dreaded ‘squeaky bum time’ of the season. Fingers crossed we’re still in the running and fingers crossed the experimenting that has been happening now bears fruit in April and May. That’s when having players like Trossard who have contributed throughout the season, will become clear. When you also factor in that games are going to extra long added time now, it also feels like there are more minutes that every player is going to get. So it’s a real positive to hear players like Trossard show that they acknowledge that they will get their chance. There are a few in the squad right now that you could say will also feel similar (ESR, Vieira, etc).

The fact that the atmosphere around the club and the players has this mentality is good to hear too. We have been hearing it from multiple sources now and that competitive nature, whilst also keeping so many players happy, is a real challenge but, as of this moment, it feels like Arteta is getting it right. Long may this continue.

Right, I’m done for the day. It’s a scorcher in London today and I might see if I can sit outside and do some work today.

You have a good one peeps.